Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Remember When . . . The Language Changed?

My poor hero just got shot. Fell overboard. Washed up on a Cuban beach in the Pinar del Rio province, near a few tobacco plantations.

And his poor author suddenly realized that the people there he'd be interacting with would be speaking--gasp--Spanish!

See, I took French in high school. I took French in college (and Ancient Greek). The many, many times I've had characters dealing with French-speaking folk, I do okay. Sure, I'm rusty, but I have that giant, unabridged French-English dictionary sitting on my shelf. I make do. ;-)

Spanish though . . . yeah, my Spanish is limited to what I've learned from Dora and Handy Manny, and the obligatory mannerly phrases. But there's no way around it. Cuba in the 1860s was, quite simply, Spanish. So I must dig out my limited knowledge, pull up an online Spanish-English dictionary, and also call on the help of some fluent Facebook friends who have proven themselves happy to jump into a conversation on which word for "shattered" I should use. ;-)

But the hilarious thing is that, even when I want to pepper in a Spanish word that we all know, I keep messing it up. My thoughts sound something like this: "Okay, 'please.' I know the word for 'please,' obviously. It's s'il vous pl--aggggghhh! Por favor, Roseanna--Spanish. Not French, Spanish!"

So I decided to make another character share my difficulties. ;-) See, one of the primary people in these scenes is a well-educated British man. Who would be fluent in what other language? French! So he, too, gets to keep lasping into the wrong secondary language. =)

Poor Phin will be stranded on Cuba for a couple months. Poor Roseanna will be done writing those scenes in the next couple weeks. But until then, that dictionary tab will stay open in my internet window. Those Facebook friends will remain on call.

And I'll be trying my best not to make a Spanish planter say "Merci, monsieur."

~*~

And don't forget to check out the first blog review of Love Finds You in Annapolis! (Which has a few French phrases! LOL) You can leave a comment for a chance to win a copy. =)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Word of the Week - Morphine

I know, I know--what a strange, bizarre word of the week. And now y'all are probably wondering what I got into this weekend! ;-)

Actually, it comes up because I'm a cruel author who just seriously injured her hero. I need him to be out of it for a while so said, "Hmm, they had some powerful drugs by then. Was morphine one of them?"

Yep.

And the name is just too interesting not to share. Did you know that morphine is named after one of the Greek gods as brought to us by Ovid in his Metamorphosis? (Not to be confused to Kafka's book by the same name . . . and not to get into how much I despised said book-by-the-same-name each of the three times I was forced to read it . . .)

Anyway. Apparently Ovid gave the name Morpheus to the god of dreams. When the Germans named this lovely drug in 1816, they called it morphin in allusion to Morpheus, because of its sleep-inducing properties. The French, of course, changed it to Morphine. Which we borrowed in 1828 and have been using ever since.

Now to make sure my hero doesn't develop a dependency--he has enough problems to deal with, I don't wanna go there! LOL

And for those of you who are amassing those entries into the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway and/or interested in winning a free copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland all by its lonesome, hop right back over to the Colonial Quills and leave a comment on my very first full-length blog review. =)

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2011/11/review-of-love-finds-you-in-annapolis.html

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Being Thankful For . . .

Thank you, Lord, for all You do for me. For sending Jesus to save me, for knowing me from eternity, for setting me on this path, surrounding me with friends and family, and holding my hand all through it.

Thank you, Lord, for placing me in a loving family, one that encourages and cheers me on, that holds me when I cry, that dusts off my knees when I fall. For amazing parents and a sister whose smile brightens my day. For nieces and in-laws and extended family that I love so very much.

Thank you, Lord, for my husband. Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing our lives together so early, for the ten wonderful years of marriage we've already had, and for the future still stretching before us.

Thank you, Lord, for these precious children with whom you've entrusted me. Sweet little Xoe with her generous spirit and creativity, energetic Rowyn with his whole-hearted approach to life. They are blessings beyond compare.

Thank you, Lord, for the friends to whom You've led me. Those from my childhood who helped me grow, those from college who will always be so dear, those I've met through my writing that have become close as family.

Thank you for the one I've lost this year, for the time you gave us together and all the lessons she taught me. Thank you for the ones still fighting, still holding on.

Thank you, Lord, for a year of blessing after journeying through the valley last year. Thank you for a year of five contracts, which just baffles and awes me after working so hard for so long. Thank you for this new book that is even now sitting beside me, and for the ever-increasing success of the ones that came before it.

Thank you, Lord, for all You do for me. For sending Jesus to save me. For knowing me from eternity. For setting me on this path. For surrounding me with friends and family. And for holding my hand all through it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Remember When . . . Thanksgiving Came?

We all the know the story of the Mayflower and the very first Thanksgiving.
If you want to learn about how a day was set aside to give thanks in December during the Revolution, following the Battle of Saratoga, you should check out Elaine Cooper's post on the Colonial Quills today.

And if you have all my blog posts memorized going back years (ahem), you'll realize that much of what is to come is reposted from two years ago. ;-)

In the Old Testament there were commands for giving thanks to God, as well as New Testament guidelines. That we take time to give thanks is of vital importance--it not only gives the praise where it's due, it helps us refocus. To get our priorities straight. To really enjoy what we have been given rather than thinking only of what we yet need.

I really love that our country has a history of setting aside a day for this--that some of the first settlers were here to seek free worship of God, and that they honored him for his faithfulness, in spite of the hardships.

I find it even more inspiring that there were people like Sarah Hale who cared enough about this tradition to fight for it. She first succeeded in getting each state to recognize the day, then, eventually, convinced President Lincoln to have the nation honor it as one. At a time when the country was torn by war, this was a monumental moment, one that helped us heal.

In some ways, Thanksgiving is viewed as a "second-rate" holiday to modern people--it doesn't require presents, and in fact is often lost in the anticipation for Black Friday--and for Christmas. It only rates as a chance to host an elaborate meal.

But I remember my own childhood, when I sat back in my room one Thanksgiving smelling that wonderful turkey, knowing that soon my family would be coming. I remember spending some time writing a story about a girl named Felicia, which I knew meant something like "happy." I remember cutting out some construction paper turkeys for all my family members. And I remember thinking, "This is one of the happiest days in the year. Where everyone just comes over to be together."

I still love the holiday for that very reason. It's a chance to come together with those I love and just be. Be there. Be together. Be thankful for all the Lord has given me.

Thank you, Father, for putting me in a country with such a history of recognizing You.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Changes

In this lovely world I'm in, filled with deadlines (praise the Lord!) and very little free time, it has become necessary to streamline operations. ;-) So, since I haven't been reading enough to share a review every week anyway, and since my Friday features have been fizzling (oh, how I love alliteration! LOL), Tuesday and Friday posts are going to become as-needed. I will still be blogging regularly on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, but Tuesdays and Fridays will be used only when I have a special announcement about my books, a review I want to feature, or some other bit to share that doesn't fit on M-W-Th.

And in keeping with that, check it out! Amazon is reporting Love Finds You in Annapolis as in stock and 1-2 days of processing away from shipping! Woot!


Happy reading, everyone! And don't forget to visit the Colonial Quill for my interview there! =)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Word of the Week - The Backup Plan

The other day as I was writing in my work-in-progress, I hit a spot where my heroine's mother is pushing an eligible man toward the heroine (metaphorically, or course, LOL), and my heroine reminds her that she is all but engaged--to which Mama says, "It never hurts to have a backup plan."

But wait--a warning bell went of in my mind. Backup plan. Was that too modern for 1861? A quick hop over to www.etymonline.com and I knew that, yep, it was way too modern.

Back up dates from 1767, but in the sense of "stand behind and support." This is the verb use, what someone does for you or that you do to corroborate facts, perhaps. Evidence will back up a theory, that sort of thing.

The noun form meaning "standby, reserve" didn't come to us until 1954.

But this was one of those that left me staring at the computer with lips pursed and thoughts racing. How in the world could Mama phrase this, then? I ended up using "secondary." But it's obvious I need a better backup plan for when I can't use "backup plan." ;-)

On a side note, my Annapolis Blog Tour is underway! Check out the Colonial Quills for my interview there, and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy, and rack up a few more chances to win my Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway while you're at it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 6

1 Corinthians 6

Avoiding Lawsuits with Christians
 1 When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers[a]! 2 Don’t you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can’t you decide even these little things among yourselves? 3 Don’t you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life. 4 If you have legal disputes about such matters, why go to outside judges who are not respected by the church? 5 I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues? 6 But instead, one believer[b] sues another—right in front of unbelievers! 7 Even to have such lawsuits with one another is a defeat for you. Why not just accept the injustice and leave it at that? Why not let yourselves be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves are the ones who do wrong and cheat even your fellow believers.[c]
 9 Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Avoiding Sexual Sin
 12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything. 13 You say, “Food was made for the stomach, and the stomach for food.” (This is true, though someday God will do away with both of them.) But you can’t say that our bodies were made for sexual immorality. They were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares about our bodies. 14 And God will raise us from the dead by his power, just as he raised our Lord from the dead. 15 Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! 16 And don’t you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, “The two are united into one.”[d] 17 But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.
 18 Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.

~*~

I really like the perspective this chapter gives on why things are wrong. That our bodies are not our own, but rather belong to God, to Jesus. The verse about joining Jesus to a prostitute--wow. Do we really stop and think, as we're going through our day, that wherever we go, we're taking Him along with us?

We know Jesus didn't shy away from the dark or the ugly. He would go places we deem questionable--but you better bet he would stay above sin while there. And because we are joined with him, because we are His and He is ours, we can do the same.

And yes, I've heard that argument about sex--it's natural! Just like food. But I think Paul answers it perfectly. I think he does a great job drawing out that it's natural when done right, according to God's command.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Being Wanted

I'm sitting here with a little boy climbing all over me. Sitting on the arm of my chair. Hanging from my neck. Inching his finger closer and closer to my keyboard. When I send him one of those Mommy looks, he flashes those cute little dimples of his and giggles in that way only little kids can giggle--then lunges across my lap and proceeds to dangle off the chair while kicking me in the face.

Oh, yes. There's nothing like a little kid, and especially a little boy. =)

Over the weekend my church had an open house Thanksgiving dinner and music service to celebrate our new building. After the meal, when we went up to the sanctuary for the music, my daughter and her cousins decided they wanted to sit in the pew in front of us, but Rowyn climbed into his spot on my lap and wouldn't be budged.

As any mother can attest to, there are moments aplenty when you just want two minutes of peace. Two minutes of quiet. Two minutes without hearing, "I want Mommmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyy!" echoing through your house.

But as any mother can attest to, when you have a sweet little one snuggled in your lap grinning up at you, frustration can't long keep a hold on you. As I sat there in church enjoying the cuddles of my baby, I had one of those moments where I realized that this little boy would soon be a big boy, then a teenager. He will soon grow out of sitting on laps and being perfectly content in my arms. He's my youngest, so it hit me a little harder than it did with his sister.

It's as it should be, yes. Kids have to grow up. Parents' roles shift and change. There are new expectations, new things to delight us. For instance, with my 6-year-old daughter, you can't (or can, LOL) imagine the feeling it gives me when she helps someone younger or brings a smile to an elderly woman's eyes. When she draws a truly impressive picture or astounds me with a bit of insight or logic.

As the kids grow up, they want me in different ways. And frankly, it gets frustrating when they regress and want me to do what they hadn't for months. But thinking about it makes me ponder how the analogy works in faith.

God must really love a new Christian. Love the way they cling to Him with that innocence, with that fear that if they let go, the world may just come and get them. I bet He loves snuggling new believers in His arms and saying "Abba's here. Shhhh. Abba's here."

And maybe there's the heavenly equivalent of a bittersweet pang when He realizes that stage won't last forever. But then, the whole point is to teach us to go out. To grow up. To learn and develop and step out--not on our own, never on our own, but with that degree of independence.

If I'm a good mama, I'm going to equip my kiddos with what they need to move beyond my lap. But it's my prayer they never leave, not in a way that prohibits coming back, coming home, getting a hug.

It's good to be wanted. Certainly in our walk of faith, it's good to rely on God. But He wants us to grow from milk to meat, from uncertainty to trust in the way He's equipped us. Just like I want the cuddles to be punctuated with them doing for themselves, He wants us to rely on Him but also rely on His teachings to go do--do what's He's commissioned us to do.

The adorable little monkey is hanging on my arm again, alternately making me laugh and plead, "Please, Rowyn, two minutes. Just give me two minutes to finish up." Here's praying that today as God looks down on me, He's saying, "I love it when you work right there beside me, Daughter. Know I'm here, always right here . . . but don't be afraid to go do what I've taught you to do."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remember When . . . More Cultures Clashed?

One of the most intriguing parts of my current work-in-progress is without a doubt the slave culture in that part of Georgia at the time. I've already blogged on my experience discovering the rich Gullah-Geechee a few weeks ago here: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/2011/10/remember-when-cultures-collided-in-old.html



But I've discovered whole new facets since then. =)

See, one thing I've decided to do is show this rich African-American (and I use that term not in the modern sense but rather as a way of showing how the two cultures combined into something new, the Gullah-Geechee culture) by contrasts within the black characters. It's turning out to be a lot of fun.

First I have Chloe, a young slave who's a mulatto and the daughter of the master--which the mistress knows but the legitimate children don't. Chloe spent the first ten or so years of her life on a rice plantation with her mother and her mother's family.

Now, rice plantations were harsh places, where life expectancy was 5 years in the fields and the infant mortality rate among the slaves was in the nineties. This certainly played a part in the spiritual lives of the slaves and what we today would call their superstitions. In a world where death lurked right around the corner, the underworld was never far away, right?

So Chloe was raised believing spirits came up out the waterways and ghosts haunted the world. Her aunt is a conjurer. It's what she knew. But when she was moved to the city, Christianity became more real to her, and in a way that forced her to separate out some of the "superstitious" beliefs--though it was rare for them all to be abandoned. Still, compared to the other slaves she's around, she'd got a way of thinking more like what we know . . . but with a very strong connection to and respect for that other world that whites couldn't understand.

But then we have Luther, who is a free black born and raised in England. And this is where the fun comes in. =) In England, he was raised with something close to equality, given the chance to be educated and is in fact a minister. He's lived all his life in a fine (if modest) house, with fine (if modest) clothes. But he ends up in Cuba to try to purchase his wife's aging grandmother for her and gets trapped in a whole different world. One where everyone's sneering at him, black and white alike. Blacks because they see him as someone who has forgotten his roots, and whites because he "puts on airs."

A fun contrast to be sure. Chloe and Luther are my two secondary POV characters, one with her Geechee speech pattern, the other with his British accent, and I'm having a blast incorporating them into the story! Can't wait to see how they force my plot to shift and change to adapt to them . . . and how I manage to keep them from taking over, LOL. Good thing Delia and Phin are great characters in their own right!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I would like to draw your attention . . .

Upward. Have you seen the new tabs up the top here? If you glance up at my pages, you'll notice a couple additions. The first is for the Great ANNAPOLIS Giveaway. You'll want to check this out, as it's such a great giveaway pack that I'm tempted to keep one of them for myself. ;-) 



Yes, I admit it--I designed the giveaway so that there's enough stuff in it that you won't wait to see if you won before buying LFY Annapolis. ;-) You'll instead go, "Ooo, look at that journal and quill! And Lark used some just like it? Can't wait to find out where and how! I'm going to get Annapolis. If I win this totally awesome giveaway, I can always give that extra copy to my mom for Christmas . . . or better still, keep the signed one, and give my original copy to the church library!" Yes, I'm just that maniacal. Mwa ha ha ha.

And it's one of those giveaways where you can rack up the entries with each thing you do. So definitely check out the rules, and visit each stop on my blog tour--which is that second new tab up top.

Also, please keep scrolling down the page and see my post from yesterday about an amazing fundraiser for Sandi Rog, who is suffering from cancer.

(For those of you who are shaking your head and saying, "When is she going to talk about books again??" I assure you I did last week, and if you didn't see that post, it was about a truly awesome biblical you should pre-order, by Mesu Andrews: Love's Sacred Song. But at the moment I'm only two chapters into my next book, so . . .)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Special Announcement!



Hear ye, hear ye! Here's your chance to contribute to a wonderful cause this holiday season--and come away with the work of some of your favorite authors!

One year ago, author and editor Sandi Rog had a big day approaching--the release of her first novel, The Master's Wall. Set in first-century Rome, this is an epic story of faith and love. But the very day her book released, Sandi's life shattered--she learned she had a very aggressive cancer, t-cell lymphoma.

The past year has been a huge struggle for Sandi and her family as she underwent chemo, radiation, and bone marrow transfusion. Just when she thought she had this beast beat, she learned that in fact the cancer is still present. So they're trying a new treatment . . . this one not covered by insurance.

Sandi's friends, both neighbors and online, have rallied together to try to help the Rog family, and Alison Strobel Morrow has developed a marvelous plan. She's hosting a raffle fundraiser whose proceeds will go to the Rogs, with a goal of $20,000. The items to be raffled are all donated, and tickets are $5. You can purchase as many as you want and apply as many tickets per prize basket as you like.

The basket you see above has been assembled by the Colonial Quills, many of whom are dear friends of this dear woman--we have put together a complete box of goodies to be raffled off! The raffle will begin on November 25th, and the CQ items include:


* A signed copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna M. White
* A copy of Highland Crossings, signed by contributing author Gina Welborn
* A Pampered Chef knife & dual sharpener - the knife being the favorite utensil of the confectioner heroine of Gina's story, and who wants a dull one?
* A signed copy of The Chamomile by Susan F. Craft
* A packet of chamomile seeds & a packet of chamomile tea
* A mobcap
* A $15 Starbucks gift card
* Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall
*Fire Dragon's Angel by Barbara Blythe
*The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz

And that's not the only basket I have my hand in! For some great historical fiction plus an amazing gift certificate opportunity, check out this one:


This one includes:

*Jewel of Persia by yours truly - Digital AND Print
* A Stray Drop of Blood by me as well - Digital AND Print
* A Stray Drop t-shirt that reads "One little drop to soil the garment / One little drop to cleanse the soul" (S, M, L, XL available)
* Dance of the Dandelion by Dina Sleiman - Digital AND Print
* Shadowed in Silk by Christine Lindsay - Digital AND Print
* Love Amid the Ashes by Mesu Andrews
* And a $50 gift certificate to the Greek Jewelry Shop!

To get in on the fun and also have the joy of helping a family in need of our prayers and support, please visit www.FundraiserForSandiRog.blogspot.com to view these baskets and many more! Bidding will begin Thanksgiving week!!

Have items you'd like to donate to the cause? Check out the information page at the fundraiser blog. (Individual items will be gathered into "baskets" by the coordinator.)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5

Paul Condemns Spiritual Pride
 1 I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother.[a] 2 You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. 3 Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit.[b] And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church.[c] I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. 5 Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed[d] and he himself[e] will be saved on the day the Lord[f] returns.
 6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.[g] 8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread[h] of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread[i] of sincerity and truth.
 9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[j] yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
 12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

~*~

Today's chapter above is brought to us by the New Living Translation ... and ought to hit home for society today.

Do we ignore this chapter? It seems like too many Christians do. I don't know about you, but I've had friends aplenty in the church who fell prey to sexual sin. It's one of those things that can sometimes still shock us, but which in general we've become desensitized to.

That makes me so, so sad.

I understand sexual temptation. I understand passion. As anyone who has read my books can attest to, I believe that passion is a necessary and beautiful part of life. But I also believe it can be destructive if we let it rule us when we ought to keep it bridled.

Paul doesn't sugarcoat the issue here--he calls it out more strongly than I've ever noted him calling out anything else. In other parts, he invites us to admonish our brothers and sister who are sinning, to challenge them to stop and confess their sins. Then, if they don't cease their bad behavior, to cast them out. But he doesn't give them a second chance here, does he? He says, "Throw them out and hand them over to Satan."

Yikes. Though I mean, a guy with his stepmother ... and they were boasting about it??

This is a tough issue, one that's made all the more confusing to modern readers by changes in marriage customs over the centuries. Things are formal now that didn't used to be, and lax that were once formal. But one thing remains unchanged:

God calls us to something holy and beautiful. And all too often, we throw it away.

I'd really like to get a conversation going on this oh-so-important topic. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Keeping Up

I've realized something over the last two weeks: I can't do it all.

I know, right? SHOCKER. Call the local news! Roseanna White cannot do everything! ;-) But seriously, this was a big deal for me. This realization that I have finally reached my saturation point, that I have taken on all I can handle and maybe a little bit more.

That something's got to give, and it's going to have to be my stubborn determination to keep all those balls in the air.

I've had these days and weeks before, the ones where I feel totally overwhelmed and ready to snap. But usually, those have been from self-imposed deadlines (which I take just as seriously as outside-imposed ones, but still), from self-determined tasks.

Not so right now. Now I have obligations to others, people depending on me for things only I can do. I'd be happy to delegate--really, I would be. But can someone else write my books for me?

Um, no.

Can someone else do my editing?

Um, not really, no--not some parts of it.

Can someone else pack up all the books, manage all the lists? If we hire someone, but at the moment, I'm it.

Can someone else teach my kids?

Well, actually...

See, my husband and I decided back when we were in high school that we were going to homeschool. We knew that was what we were supposed to do to guarantee that our kids got the education we really want them to have. And I love knowing exactly what they're taught, exactly how they're doing. I love being able to answer their questions.

I love it--but I'm afraid that with all that's on my plate right now, I'm not giving it the attention it needs. And I've had to entertain the notion this past week that at a certain point, what's best for my kids' education might not be me.

Ouch.

It's hard for someone who has always been confident in her ability to do whatever she set her mind on to admit that maybe she's let things slip too far. Maybe she's hurting more than she's helping. Maybe the messy house has degraded into a certifiable disaster zone, maybe the good intentions aren't enough, maybe some things would be better off if she got her hand out of them.

But that's where I am. And you know, realizing that is . . . freeing. All of a sudden I know that some things are going to change. And I know that it's going to take time and work to change them. But I can hear the Lord whispering in my ear, "I ask you to do your tasks, daughter--not everyone else's. Do them, do them well. And then let go."

Sometimes trying to keep up is just a matter of pride, not a matter of doing what you actually should. I think that's where I've been lately. But it's finally to the point where I want to let some things go. Where the blessings in one realm are going to help me balance out the need in another. Thank you, Lord, for letting it work that way!

I don't think change is ever easy, but you know--sometimes staying the same is even harder. There comes a time when we can't keep up with the race we've entered. It doesn't mean we should give up . . . just that we should take a different course.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember When . . . Annapolis Came to Life?

Yikes! I looked down at my clock and realized I'd totally spaced my blog this morning, largely because I'm several other places today. So I'm going to throw together a hodge-podge for you. =)

First, if you are just dying for that taste of Wednesday history and missed my Fashion Baby post a couple months ago, hop on over to the Colonial Quills and check out my In Ye Olden Days feature about the dolls that brought us our fashion news in the 18th century at http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2011/11/in-ye-olden-days-fashion-babies.html.

And today is kind of a sneak peek of my blog tour! The first interview with me that has some focus on Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland is up today on Anne Payne's Stuff and Nonsense blog. Stop on by here: http://duhpaynes.com/2011/11/09/author-interview-roseanna-white/!

All my future tours will probably be only a few days in length with multiple stops per day, but this one is spread out through December and January, and will begin and end with what is shaping up to be an awesome giveaway package, if I do say so myself. ;-) The official tour launches on Colonial Quills and will wrap up on Seekerville, so I'm very excited!

A peek at that giveaway package . . .



A leather Bombay journal, much like the one Lark received for Christmas in Chapter Eight.
A French quill and ink set, much like the one Lark would have written with in above journal. ;-)

A Colonial-style mug with individual packages of gourmet hot chocolate ~ chocolate being a favored drink of the era, though thicker and richer than these are likely to be (I haven't ordered the mugs yet . . . am hoping to find some from our local pottery store. So this picture won't likely be exact, though the style is what I'll be seeking).

A Colonial-styled doll, not unlike the fashion babies in the post I linked to above. ;-) (Hey, gotta give something that'll interest the kids in your life!)

And of course, a copy of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland signed by yours truly. ;-)

This isn't the official prize information or anything, so some changes are likely, and I haven't yet ironed out the details of entering. But I'm looking forward to the launch of Annapolis and seeing it come to life! Hope y'all are excited too. =)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Story Time . . . Sneek Peek at LOVE'S SACRED SONG by Mesu Andrews


"Stunning in its depth and scope, Love's Sacred Song is a story of love and 
passion, faith and flaws that will haunt you forever. Mesu Andrews crafts characters that will capture your heart with prose that will stir your soul. Masterful."

~ Roseanna M. White, author of Jewel of Persia and Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland

Yes, I'm quoting myself. ;-) That's a recent endorsement I wrote for Mesu Andrews's next Biblical love story, set to release in March of 2012. When I realized she had written a book based on Song of Solomon, I was intrigued. And when I began reading it, I was awed.

Young King Solomon knows he has been chosen by God to rule Israel--but how is he to live up to his father David? He is no shepherd-king, he is sure he lacks the strength of soul needed to be a good ruler. And so when God visits him in a dream, he requests wisdom . . . but it seems the wisdom is granted only for political matters, for Solomon cannot seem to understand matters of the heart.

Arielah, a shepherdess from Shunam, has known in her heart for years that she is destined to be Solomon's wife, and already she loves the man she has never even met. When the northern tribes of Israel threaten an uprising following the shameful treatment of one of their own in the Judean palace, her wise father plans to make peace by offering her as a treaty bride to Solomon. 

But can a humble shepherdess ever find a place in the harem of the king, especially when he has put his trust in traitors who hate her? And can a king renowned for wisdom ever learn how to love in the way of a common man?

I can say in all honesty that Arielah is one of my all-time favorite heroines. It's tough to pull off a character who's righteous and strong and still make her realistic, but Mesu Andrews does a fabulous job. Her little shepherdess sometimes lacks for confidence, sometimes knows fear, sometimes clings to anger--but the Lord remains always her beacon, and her love remains always strong. I LOVE THAT!! Conflict abounds on every page for lovely Arielah, and her story will twist and squeeze your heart and bring you to tears--yet deliver hope and victory.

Solomon made me want to smack him a few times, which is just as it should be. ;-) I loved how she balanced out the very fallible man with the very wise ruler--powerfully done.

Love's Sacred Song takes its place among my favorites. If you love Biblical fiction, this book is a MUST. The love story will leave you breathless, the intrigue will have you biting your nails, and the faith of the heroine will inspire you to keep your hands always in the Lord's.

Pre-order this one now from ChristianBook or Amazon!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Word of the Week - Just Kidding

I like the word "kid." I use it with my children (do you know how hard it was for me to write that sentence without using the word "kid"? LOL), I use it for jests. It's a standard part of my vocabulary. But I'll never forget the substitute teacher in high school who said something about how his children were not young goats, so thank you not to use that word. And one of my critique partners recently caught me using it in the joking sense well before it would have been.

It seemed time to look it up. =)

"Kid" entered English with the meaning of "a young goat" round about 1200. It began being applied to children in 1590, though it was still slang at that point. It was accepted usage, however, by 1840 . . . and had in fact been a word used to describe skillful young thieves for 30 years before that. (One I didn't know!)

The meaning of "playful tease" is from 1839 (which proves that it was a well accepted slang by then) and comes from the idea of "making a kid of, treating as a child." Though those thieving youngsters used it to mean "coax, wheedle, hoax."

So there you have it--a brief explanation of why we now kid our kids. ;-)

On a side note, many of you know about the amazing author Sandi Rog and her battle with cancer this past year. If you haven't heard yet about the fundraiser put together for her, please check it out at www.FundraiserForSandiRog.blogspot.com. It's a really fun raffle with lots of prize "baskets" you can bid on with your donations, and you'll find two that I helped put together, one of which is featured on the blog now, here. (The other isn't up on the site yet, but keep tuned in for updates!) 

Please check this out and tell all your friends about it--it's not only a fun chance to win some great prizes, but most of all it's a way to help a wonderful woman who needs your prayers and support.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 4

Today I thought I'd try out the New Living Translation as we continue in our online study of I Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 4

Paul’s Relationship with the Corinthians
 1 So look at Apollos and me as mere servants of Christ who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries. 2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. 3 As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. 4 My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.

 5 So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.

 6 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures,[b] you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. 7 For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?

 8 You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. 9 Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike.

 10 Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. 11 Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. 12 We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. 13 We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment.

 14 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. 16 So I urge you to imitate me.

 17 That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go.

 18 Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. 19 But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. 20 For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. 21 Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?

~*~
 
I have young kids, so that last part really hits me. In fact, I just had a conversation like this with my daughter yesterday. After calmly urging her to listen to me for quite a while, I finally raised my voice and made her sit in a corner (old school, lol) for a few minutes. She said, at one point, "I don't like it when you yell!" To which I replied, "Then listen before it comes to that."

This is so often how we act spiritually. We choose not to listen to the loving admonitions and then can't understand why we get yelled at. We think we know best, and that makes us prideful. I really love how Paul relates this whole section to a family dynamic.

The other thing to strike me was his feeling of being put on display before both men and angels. I'd welcome your thoughts on that.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thoughtful About . . . Being Brave in the Dark

Yesterday was a fun day. After the first chunk of home school, the kids and I went to the market (not the fun part). When we pulled back in at the house, my hubby was out on the porch, inspecting three large boxes that must have been delivered while I was gone and he at work in his basement office.

Now, we get deliveries regularly. But those looked like book boxes, and I knew for a fact we hadn’t ordered any more books (though not long ago we got several similar-looking deliveries for our WhiteFire titles). So I yell to my hubby, “Is it Annapolis??!!”

He looked up at me with that crooked smile that said, “Do I have x-ray vision all of a sudden?” and replied, “If I were to guess.”

Torn between frozens and the first glimpse of my book, I did what any author-woman would do. I asked David to pretty-please carry the books into the house and made a mad dash for the second (and last) load of groceries. Then promptly abandoned the food and dug the scissors out of the drawer.

Yeah, I was a little giddy as I opened it up, pulled out a mountain of white packing paper, and lifted my book out. The cover has a matte finish, just so ya know, and is even prettier than the online image. =) My biblicals both have glossy finishes, so at once this felt different. Not to mention the joy of being surprised with it–I always knew when my WhiteFire books were coming.

Reality took all of 30 seconds to intrude as my kids said, “Yeah, great, Mommy. Can we have lunch now?” LOL. And so the day went on. More school. Writing. Dishes. Ballet. Peeling wallpaper off the walls at our new church. The glamor. ;-) But I kept one of those books on the table beside me, rest assured!

On our way back in at 7 last night, as we were coming yet again onto our porch, Rowyn (who had announced himself afraid of the dark five minutes earlier in the church parking lot) told me, “I’m brave in the dark now, Mommy. The light helps me be brave in the dark.”

I laughed and made a note to post that one on Facebook. But it also really hit home. So often when we’re going through life, we feel like we’re in the dark. No idea where our path might take us, sometimes not even sure we’re on the right one. It’s scary. It’s hard. It can be discouraging.

But it’s crucial that we realize we’re not in full dark. Even when the night surrounds us, there’s always a lamp there to make sure we don’t stumble–so long as we stay in its protective circle.

I can’t tell you how many times on this journey to publication I’ve felt like I’m standing alone in a vast, dark parking lot, with nothing but an ocean of blackness around me. But the Lord has shone that porch light on me through the years, guiding me where I needed to go. And when I followed, he then led me to a warm, bright kitchen. Filled with books with my name on their covers. =)

I know the journey’s not over. I’ll have to go back out in the night. Have to worry with sales numbers and new projects. Scary stuff! But I intend to emulate my wee one in this, and be brave in the dark.

Thanks to the Light that shines through the blackest night.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Remember When . . . Tea Came in Bricks?

Last week a friend of mine from Colonial Quills made mention of "brick tea." Now, I had no idea what in the world she was talking about. Until this arrived in the mail yesterday:


The moment I withdrew this brick from its bag, the scent of tea wafted up to me. My daughter, who runs to the kitchen the moment she senses a package being opened, rushed out just then, saw the brown-paper-wrapped block, and said, "What's that?" My answer was to hold it out and say, "Smell."

You should have seen her eyes light up with delight and disbelief as she squealed, "Tea?!"

Tea has been a staple of many societies for centuries. But loose leaf tea is hard to transport, so back in the days of the silk road in Asia, the Chinese discovered that if they use forms to press the tea into standard sized bricks, they can transport them with ease, and the tea lasts through the journey.

This became such a standard that tea bricks could be used as currency, and this was the way most tea was transported for hundreds of years, all the way into the 19th century. So the tea tossed into Boston Harbor during the Boston Tea Party? That was bricks.

Naturally, when something is used so long, for so many purposes, there comes to be a rhyme and reason to each part of it.


I don't know if you can read the label on this, but if you do, you'll find its "translation"--what each part of it means.


The front of this particular brick has details that let buyers know that this tea comes from a company managed by more than one person, and is manufactured by Enterprise Company Tea and the Chinese Lee family.


The back of the brick is separated into squares that can be used as currency. One square, for instance, might equal the price of a chicken

In addition to being brewed, the tea traditionally pressed into bricks can also be eaten. I don't intend to try that, gotta say, but I am looking forward to separating some, putting it into my tea ball, and brewing myself a nice cup of fine black tea . . . with history.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Story Time - Chapter One of LFY in Annapolis, Maryland!

There is exactly one month until the release of Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, and while I really don't mean to keep featuring my own book on Tuesdays, lol, I just received permission to share the first chapter for promotional purposes, so I thought I'd pass along the sneak peek. =)




Chapter One

Endover Plantation, outside Williamsburg, Virginia
25 November 1783

Perhaps if Lark recited the pirate’s code  it would steal his attention. She could try standing on her head. Or if those options failed—as surely they would—she could throw herself to the floor before him.

Except Emerson Fielding was as likely to mistake her for a rug as to realize he ought to help her up. Lark indulged in a long sigh and cast her gaze out the window. The plantation lay dormant and brown.
Most days saw Papa and Wiley in Williamsburg, swapping stories at R. Charlton’s Coffeehouse. Emerson usually met them there, which was why this was the first she’d seen him in a month. Heaven knew he wanted only to see them, never her.

She wished her heart hadn’t fluttered when he entered the room. Wished the disappointment hadn’t followed so quickly when he barely glanced her way. Wished she had the courage to command his
attention…and he the sense to give it without her command.

Life would be so much easier if she weren’t in love with Emerson Fielding. But what young lady wouldn’t be captivated by those dark eyes, the strong features, the height that left him towering above
other men?

Today his hair was unpowdered and gleamed sable. He was in undress, his coat the common one he wore every day, unlike what he was sure to don for her birthday dinner that evening. His smile lit up
his eyes, his laugh lit up the room.

Neither one did he direct toward her.

Lark’s gaze flicked down to the emerald on her finger. Two years. Twenty-four months. Seven hundred thirty interminable days. Not that she was keeping account.

“Hendricks ought to be at the coffeehouse about now,” her brother said, standing. He tugged his waistcoat into place and tightened the band around his hair. “We have just enough time for a cup of chocolate with him.”

She would not sigh again, it would be redundant. Why protest the usual, even if today was supposed to be distinctive?

As if reading her mind, Wiley flashed a twinkling gaze her way and grinned. “Of course, you will want to wish my dear sister happy returns before we head out, Emerson. I shall go fetch my overcoat and
hat while you do so.”

For the first time in the two hours he had been there, Emerson looked her way. And like every time he looked her way, she wished she had more to offer his gaze. Perhaps if she shared the golden-haired
beauty of her mother and sister, his eyes mightn’t go empty upon spotting her.

He smiled the practiced smile gentlemen were taught to wear in company, not the earnest one he shared with her brother. “Are you having a pleasant birthday, darling?”

An unexpected wave of anger crashed over her. “Do you never tire of using endearments you don’t mean?”

Well, that earned a spark in his eyes. Not exactly one of delight or affection, though. “I take it you are not having a pleasant day. Well, perhaps I can brighten it.” He reached into his pocket, pulled out a box
covered in a scrap of printed calico.

She could manage no enthusiasm for what was sure to be another gift of jewels. He never seemed to grasp that she wanted no more things. She wanted his love—something he was either unwilling or incapable of giving. “What is it?”

His smile was right, teasing. But no secret knowledge nested in his expression. “Open it and see.”

“You haven’t any idea, have you?” She shook her head and looked out the window again as he strode toward her chair. His mother had undoubtedly foisted it upon him as he left, otherwise he wouldn’t have remembered what the date signified.

She often wondered if his mother had also foisted that first gift of jewels upon him two years before.

His breath hissed out. “Of course I know what it is, but you shan’t cajole it out of me. You will have to open it yourself to see.”

The wrapped box appeared under her nose. She took it, careful to avoid brushing his outstretched palm with her fingers. It would only make awareness shiver up her arm, an unnecessary reminder of her
unrequited attachment. Once she held it, though, she made no move to untie the ribbon.

Emerson shifted, impatience coming off him in waves. “Open it, Lark.”

She shook herself. “But of course. I am certain you wish to hasten to your coffee and conversation. What will the topic be today? Congresses, constitutions, or crop rotations?”

Wiley would have appreciated the alliteration. Emerson greeted it with a rudely arched brow. Tempted to return the insult and roll her eyes, she tugged at the bow. Unfolded the cloth. Lifted the lid of the
small wooden box.

Lessons in propriety had never covered how to handle a surprise like this. Lark gasped.

Emerson muttered a curse that proved he not only knew not what present lay inside, he disapproved of his mother’s selection.

She leapt to her feet and shoved the glittering diamond necklace into his stomach. “Absolutely not. I cannot accept that.”

His hand caught the box, but a war to rival the Revolution charged across his face. He wanted to take the jewels back, without question. But pride would not allow him. He held out the box. “Don’t be ridiculous. I want you to have it.”

An unladylike snort nearly slipped out. “Yes, that was apparent from your reaction. I will not, Emerson. Your sisters have told me of this necklace, and I shan’t accept the most valuable possession in the
Fielding family—especially when it becomes increasingly clear I will never be a member of said family.”

Thunder darkened his complexion. “What madness is this? You are my betrothed, and you will accept the gifts I give you.”

The emerald on her left hand felt heavy. “Perhaps what I ought to do is return the ones you have already given. They are naught but mockery.”

She reached for the clasp of the bracelet that matched the ring. Her breath caught when his fingers closed around her wrist. He all but growled. “You will do no such thing.”

“Prithee, why not?” Though she struggled to pull free, he held tight to her arm. “ ’Tis obvious you’ve no desire to make me your wife. For two years you have dodged every mention of nuptials, making a fool of me in front of our families and friends. For the life of me, I know not why you ever proposed. Release me.”

He shook his head. “Calm yourself, Lark. Is that what this is about? The blasted wedding date? Deuces, I would agree to any date you want, if you would just be reasonable!”

“I have had my fill of reason. I want a morsel of your regard, and I will not marry you without it.” She gave one more vain tug against his fingers. “I tire of being alone at your side, Emerson. I cannot subject myself to a lifetime of it.”

Through the tears burning her eyes, she saw his face harden, then relax. His grip eased, but he did not release her wrist. Simply pulled it down and then held her hand. The warmth that seeped into her palm belied the cool words she had spoken.

Yet his smile was no more than it had ever been. “I have been remiss, darling, and I apologize. I assure you, you are my chosen bride. It has simply been a struggle to readjust to social life. After Yorktown…”

Anger snapped at her heels again, largely because of the compassion he called up with the mere mention of Yorktown. How could anyone—man, woman, or child—argue with one who had been at the dreadful battle? The moment a soldier uttered that word, all arguments necessarily ceased.

In this particular case she could not help but think he used it for that very purpose. “Emerson—”

“I shall make it up to you. Let us set a date this moment, and I will be the figure of devotion.” The idea seemed to pain him—his smile turned to a grimace. For a man with a reputation as a charmer, he did a remarkable job of dashing her heart to pieces.

She sucked in a long breath. “I shan’t hold you to the engagement. If you—”

“Not another word of such nonsense. Let us say the first Sunday in March, shall we? The worst of the winter weather ought to be over by then. We can announce it to our parents this evening.”

It should have brought joy instead of defeat. It should have lit hope instead of despair.

He pressed the necklace back into her hands. “Take it, my darling. Wear it on our wedding day.”

Before she could decide whether to relent or argue, he pressed a kiss to her fingers and fled the room as if the hounds of Hades nipped at his heels. Lark sank back into her chair and flipped open the box so she could stare at the large, perfect gems resting within.

Why did the thought of marrying her light such fires of panic under him? Lark rested her cheek against her palm and let her tears come.

She should have tried the pirate’s code.

* * * * *

Emerson scraped the tavern chair across the wooden floor, fell onto its hard seat, and, for the first time in his memory, wished Wiley Benton would hold his tongue for five blasted minutes. He barely saw the familiar whitewashed walls, the wainscoting, the multitude of friendly faces. His mind still reeled, wrestling with images of those blinding diamonds—and the equally blinding tears in Lark’s eyes.

What had Mother been thinking, blithely handing off the most valuable Fielding possessions? The diamonds—to Lark. It was beyond fathoming. They would overwhelm her. Eclipse rather than complement. And to have them abiding outside Fielding Hall for the next several months…

Still, he should not have lost his head. Then she wouldn’t have lost hers, and he wouldn’t have talked himself straight into a trap.

“What can I bring you gentlemen today?”

He looked up at the tavern’s owner but couldn’t dredge up a smile. No matter—Wiley would smile enough for the both of them. “Chocolate,” his friend said.

“Make mine coffee, if you please, sir.”

“That I will. And I shall direct Hendricks your way. He and the governor are chatting in the back corner.”

“In a few moments,” Emerson answered before Wiley could supply what was sure to be thankful acceptance.

As the proprietor stalked off, Wiley lifted his brows in that particular way that bespoke both humor and confusion. “What plagues you, man? You have been playing the dunderhead ever since we left Endover.”

“I played it while there too.” Indulging in a mild oath, he swept his tricorn off his head and plopped it onto the table between them. “I upset your sister.”

“Lark?”

“Well, your other sister was hardly there to be upset.”

Wiley took his hat off as well, his confusion plain on his face. “But Lark is so rarely in an ill temper. She especially shouldn’t have been, given the good news of our cousin’s delayed arrival.”

Under normal circumstances, Emerson would have been amused at his friend’s perpetual dislike of the family soon arriving from Philadelphia. At this moment he gave not a fig who was coming or when. “Apparently all it takes is overreacting when one sees one’s mother wrapped up the family diamonds for her.”

Wiley looked near to choking. “The ones your father goes ever on about? That had belonged to the countess?”

“The very ones.”

Wiley let out a muted whistle. “I cannot conceive she accepted them. Especially if you seemed opposed.”

“I had already insisted I knew what the gift was, though I did not. Then rather than returning just the diamonds, she grew angry and made to return all the Fielding jewels.”

Wiley’s eyes widened, and he leaned over the table. “What did you say to her?”

Emerson waved him off. “It hardly matters. I smoothed matters over, and we decided on a wedding date. The first Sunday of March.”

Instead of seeming satisfied, Wiley’s gaze went probing, and then accusing. “So simply? After shifting the topic away from the wedding each time my parents mentioned it the past two years? Frankly, Emerson, we have all doubted your intentions of making good on your promise.”

“Of course I intend to make good on it.” It was an advantageous match all round. The Bentons were a wealthy, respected family, perfectly equal to the Fieldings. Lark herself would make an excellent wife. She was well bred, well taught, not homely—if not as lovely as her sister, who was now Mrs. Hendricks. Sweet of temperament—today aside. He liked her well enough and expected he would come to love her in a decade or so, once they had a brood of children between them.

And she loved him, as his own sisters had pointed out two years ago.

Wiley narrowed his eyes. “Emerson, you know I would welcome you eagerly into our family, but I confess the longer this drags out, the more misgivings I have. You treat my sister no differently now than you did when she was a child, dogging your heels and sending us up a tree to escape her.”

Perhaps that was the problem. She still seemed twelve to him, as she had been when he’d returned from England to fight for freedom from it. She still looked at him with the same blind adoration, still sat silently by whenever he was near.

That would change once they were wed though, surely.

“Emerson.” Wiley’s tone had turned hard, though barely more than a murmur. “I will see my sister happy. If you still dream of Elizabeth, if you cannot love Lark, then release her from the betrothal and let her find someone who can.”

The name snapped his spine straight. Fight as he might against it, the image nonetheless surfaced of a woman as opposite Lark as one could find. Did he dream of her? Only in his worst nightmares. “Rest assured your sister is loved.”

His friend’s eyes narrowed. “If I did not know better, I would call that a cunning evasion. Loved she is. But I would have her loved by you.”

As would he. He could manage it, assuredly. He simply must put his mind to it, as he had to Newton’s Principia Mathematica back at King William’s School. “You have no reason to fear for your sister’s heart, Wiley. I will be a good husband.”

In three short months.

“You look more frightened than when we saw our first Redcoats advancing, muskets at the ready.” Amusement laced its way through the frustration in Wiley’s tone. “I would have many a laugh over this were it not my favorite sister that made you wince so.”

“I am not wincing.” Much.

“Benton, Fielding! There you are.” Hendricks’s voice came from the corner of the room, where the man had stood and waved a greeting to them. “I shall join you in a moment.”

“We await you eagerly,” Wiley replied with his usual grin. When he turned back around, it shifted and hardened into the expression few knew. But Emerson did, from the field of battle. It was the look that had always appeared on his friend’s face moments before he let out a war cry and charged into the thick of things. “If you hurt Lark,” he murmured so quietly Emerson could barely hear him, “I will kill you—or make you wish I had.”

“I know you would. ’Tis not at issue.” Twenty-five years of friendship had not been threatened by competition, an ocean’s distance, or the ravages of war. He would not allow it to be distressed by one small, unassuming woman.

And because I know you're now totally hooked (right?? right??? lol) the links for ChristianBook and Amazon again. =)