Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Don't Touch It

The Dentist by Gerard van Honthorst, 1622
I can say in complete honestly that yesterday evening was just terrible. As in, took me all night to recover. Why, you ask? Because my daughter has a loose tooth.

Now, Xoe has lost four teeth already, and they were FINE. No pain, little bleeding, no prob'm. Yesterday, this tooth twisted into a very funny position and hurt every time she touched it. And my brave little princess who withstood a broken elbow with nary a whimper had a complete meltdown over this. As in, four solid hours of crying. And what really got me was what she was crying: "Get it out, get it out--but don't touch it."

Last night, I broke out all the philosophy and truisms I could think of. Though reasoning with a panicked 7-year-old...yeah, um, didn't accomplish anything. But oh, how it got me thinking.

Because that, right there, is so often me. Not over the physical ouchies, those I can handle. But when we dig deeper--oh yeah. I can imagine God in the same agony I was in last evening, wanting so much to help me while I thrash around insisting He make it go away but not DO anything.

At one point last night, I said to my sweet girl, "Doing nothing will never accomplish anything. Ever. If you want something to change, you have to do something."

Yet how often do we complain about something in our lives, beg and plead for God to change it, but then sit on our duffs and cry "Stop!" at the first twinge of unease? And much like tooth v. elbow, I'm not talking about the Big Stuff. I'm talking about the everyday.

We want to see our enterprises, our churches, our businesses, our online presences grow...but we don't want to give up our time, resources, ideas, or prayers to achieve it. We are, in those moments, nothing but screaming children who can't see our own hypocrisy. Caught in our own inertia, paralyzed by our own fear...or exhaustion...or hunger.

Because we're hungry. We're so, so hungry that we feel we can't move. We want more...or better...or different...and we can see it. We can see the others who sell more, grow more, give more, get more. Why can't we? Why hasn't God given us the desires of our heart?

After dealing with a little one who refused food or drink half the day from fear, I have new insight into that. Our beloved Father isn't withholding what we need. We're refusing it. We're not ready. We're too afraid. We're too tired. In order to take what he's offering, we have to move. We have to say, "It's okay if it hurts." We have to be willing to do what it takes.

What's your tooth today? Are you ready to say, "Get it out, Lord, whatever it takes. I trust you." ... Or are you still crying, "Make it go away--just don't touch it!"?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Remember When . . . Treasure Was Lost?

Who Shall be Captain by Howard Pyle

Is there anything more fun (especially when we're kids) than a treasure hunt?

Is there anything more fun, as we grow up and (some of us) turn to books for our adventure, than a story that includes a lost treasure?

Allow me to answer for you: nope. ;-)

My vacation book was one of Nora Roberts' latest, and I gotta say, one of my favorite aspects of it was the lost treasure. And would Titanic have been the same with the Heart of the Ocean in it? Nope. Whether it be pirate gold or a legendary gem, we folks love our bling and love the stories of trying to find it. Maybe we're not all out with our metal detectors, but come on--even if we don't actually hunt treasure, we love hearing about those who find it!

So it was fun to integrate a treasure into Circle of Spies, which I'll be turning in here in another two days or so. Best of all, a treasure people really are hunting today!

I don't remember the first time I heard about the lost Confederate gold. I suspect it was on television. Possibly that movie with Penelope Cruz and Matthew Connelly. Then an episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded (the same show that inspired me to look up the Culper Ring to begin with) did one on it. They're the ones that pointed out it's not just about lost Confederate gold--it's about hidden Confederate gold.

In Circle of Spies, my bad guy is a captain of the Knights of the Golden Circle. The K.G.C. is a Southern secret society that boasted 300,000 members in the height of the Civil War. For most of those it was probably nothing but a social club, but to the higher ups...it was serious. As in, in regular communication with the Confederacy's President Davis, receiving instructions on how to undermine the North SERIOUS. And one of the things they were charged with--burying Confederate gold.

Yep, that's right. They hid it on purpose. Only, it wasn't supposed to be lost. And it wasn't just gold. These dedicated Southerners hid everything they would need for a second uprising after the Confederacy surrendered. Gold, yes. And clothes, rations, medical supplies, ammunition, weapons. You name it. There are supposedly caches of this buried all over the South. Booby trapped. And the maps--secret codes hidden in the landscape.

Folks have been searching for these burial spots for decades, and have found enough to keep them searching. How fun is THAT. So in my book, I posit that someone hid some of this treasure in my neck of the woods. In a cave in Western Maryland. Likely? No. But possible. And oh so fun to imagine. =) Because yeah, I love a good treasure story.

What's your favorite treasure story, be it real or fictional?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Word of the Week - Deserts

Allegory of Justice by Gaetano Gandolfi

"You'll get your just deserts!"

Okay, confession. Because that phrase pronounces the final word as one pronounced the word for the delightful confections that make life worth living, I never once realized it's spelled with one 's' like an arid area. Hadn't a clue. But it is. One 's' but pronounced like desserts. And...why?

Well, that's the interesting bit. =) Apparently it's from a whole different word that either a sandy desert or a sweet dessert--it's from deserve.

Ah!

Okay. So the word deserve is from French, and back in the day when it was entering English (as in, the 13th century), desert was used to mean "that which is deserved." So you deserve your deserts. Which makes total sense, right? And yet it's fallen completely out of use except for in that one phrase about just deserts. (Probably because of the confusion with sandy ground and chocolate, LOL.)

Pretty fun, eh? Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Our Reactions

First, I'm a guest today on Inkwell Inspirations, musing on how the Lord calms our storms. It's one of my favorite insights (even made its way into Whispers from the Shadows!), so do swing by!

The Child Handel by Margaret Isabel Dicksee

Now, I'll be honest. I didn't really want to blog today. I'm ten days out from my deadline, still have 10,000 words to cut from Circle of Spies, plus another read-through to check for typos, and I'm feeling the pressure. Not to mention that I still need to design a map for the front. And a family tree. Oh, and take care of a lot of WhiteFire business that I'm trying not to neglect.

Yeah. No pressure.

But let's, again be honest. When am I not pressed for time? LOL. So I tell myself to get over it. And I wonder what to muse on today. Slowly, the realization comes.

Reactions. This here, my blogging when I'd rather keep my nose to the manuscript-grindstone, is a reaction. A thought-out response to an internal debate. Not that big a deal, to be sure, but it's an indicator of how I react to the stressors in my life. Generally speaking, I moan and groan a little, then I get to work. One thing I thankfully inherited from my family is a strong work ethic. Maybe I'm not out in the fields planting crops or putting in long days at a job site, but from dawn to bedtime, I'm at my computer every moment I can be. Working on one or the other of my many projects. My hubby frequently walks by, sees me still at it, and says, "I wish I loved my job as much as you do!"

When it comes to work, I know my reactions are usually what they need to be. But life, now...those can be harder, can't they? But the more I pause to consider it, the more I realize that it's not just our actions that define us, that judge us--it's our reactions.

It's not just whether I set out to deal fairly--it's how I respond when someone deals unfairly with me.

It's not just that I teach my kids to obey--it's how I respond when they don't.

It's not just that I reach out in love--it's how I respond when someone lashes back at me.

My hubby has some hard business decisions before him (not for the publishing biz), and we were talking about it yesterday. Talking about how, if it were solely a business decision, the answer would be simple. But being us, we can't separate business decisions from moral decisions. We need to make sure we're doing what the Lord wants us to do.

Because when it comes down to it, we're not judged on how people treat us--we're judged on how we react to them. Sometimes, that goes against our ideas of "fair." And we want to think that the world will recognize that. Truth? They don't. They don't often care how long we're beaten up or snarled out. They only care whether we fight or forgive.

Now, God never instructed us to be doormats. So sometimes He'll call us to fight. To chastise. To punish. But other times, He calls us to relent. And knowing which is right in a given situation requires communication with Him.

As I'm in this time of looming deadlines, it's so easy to respond poorly. To yell when I should smile, to sigh when I should laugh, to growl when I should get up. But I'm challenging myself today to guard my every reaction, to treat it as if it were an action, deliberated and decided upon. To squelch the off-the-cuff and focus on the from-the-heart.

Because I know it matters. I know that's what defines me. And I know who I want to be.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Remember When . . . You Chose Obscurity?


It's time. Nearly. Time for my brain to move on to a different time, a different era, a different story. I have another week of work on Circle of Spies, and then that baby needs turned in. There will be edits yet from Harvest House, but then...

That's it. The completion of a book. The completion of a series. The Culpers will rest. (In my brain at least, though obviously these books still need to hit the shelves. ;-) And I have another novella to write this summer about them, but still. You get my point.)

My little mind has to start working on the next one, the next series. To England of the Regency, then of the Romantic era. Then...well...I haven't actually figured out the plot of the third book in my next series yet, LOL. I might set it in Italy while Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning were there for the sake of her health. Maybe. Who knows.

But as I was contemplating it yesterday, wondering where I might go and who my characters might meet, I just had to smile. Because it's so fun to explore history in all its obscurity. I'm going to miss my Culper characters a lot...but I get to meet new ones. And they'll get to interact with some new snippets from the past.

Who knows what they might be? Pirates, lords, outcasts...writers, artists, inventors...revolutionaries, leaders, critics.

And it occurs to me that that is what I love about writing historicals. That discovery, that exploration. I love finding pieces of the past I didn't know about, or hadn't learned fully, and finding the life within them. I love putting people I've created into the world of a given era and figuring out how they would survive. 

But then, you know what? I hear about other people's stories, and I go, "Wow! I'd never thought about that portion of history!" So much out there, and so little of it that I've considered!

So I thought it would be fun today to pause and think about some what ifs. Some but thens. Some there was a time ideas.

I absolutely love it when friends and readers send me challenges, like "You should write a book about modern-day pirates" or "Have you considered writing a Civil War novel set in the South?" So let's play!

I'll start. I have no story idea for this, but I would love to read a book following modern-day missionaries to China, where the underground church is expanding so quickly.

What about you? What fun bit of obscurity would you like to see or write a story about?? Do share!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Word of the Week - Went

Sir Sumbras at the Ford by JE Millais, 1857

Hello, m'lovelies! I'm back from the beach and back to business. =) And while I was gone, a friend sent me a link to some awesome word etymologies, so I thought I'd share one with you today.

So. We all know the word "wend," right? We wend our way through crowds and other things that make us take twisty paths and whatnot. But apparently back in the day wend and go were synonyms. Used interchangeably. You could wend anywhere you could go and vice versa.

In those days (of Middle English), the past tense of wend was went and the past tense of go was gaed. Then round about the 15th century, people started to like go better for whatever reason. Only, the past tenses of the synonyms got mixed up. Hence one of our most crazily irregular verbs--it's actually a mix-up of another verb! Pretty fun, huh?

I'll be bringing you more of the words from this list over the next couple weeks. =)

Monday, June 10, 2013

Just Beachy

I'm on vacation this week at the gorgeous beach with my awesome family, and I didn't have time to schedule posts last week. So you'll just have to get along without me for a few days. ;-) But if you haven't stopped by for a while, here are some recent posts you don't want to miss!

Influencer Time!

It's time for me to build my list of influencers for Whispers from the Shadows! If you can help me spread the word, let me know--but hurry! I only have a couple spots left! Read the Full Article

~*~

Married...with Fiction Guest Post
How WhiteFire Began


I'm so very blessed to have a husband who chases dreams with me. If you don't know the story of how we started a small press, come by to read about how we meshed our dreams! Read the Full Article

~*~

Remember When . . . Revolution Loomed?



I got to research outside my norm for the setting of Fairchild's Lady (which is still free! Find all the links here!). Come learn a tidbit about those early days of the French Revolution! Read the Full Article

See y'all back here next week!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Influencer Time!

It's that time again! With only weeks left before Whispers from the Shadows starts appearing, it's time for me to build my list of influencers!

What, you may ask, is an influencer? Quite simply, it's someone who agrees that, in exchange for the publisher sending them a free copy of a book, they will (assuming they like it) do some or all of the following:
  • Post reviews on retailer sites
  • Buy a copy for everyone they see in the grocery line
  • Blog about it (assuming they have a blog)
  • Have the cover tattooed across their forehead
  • Talk it up to all their friends
  • Take out an airplane banner ad for it
  • Request their library stock it
  • Invest in a giant blinking sign for their roof that says "Buy Whispers from the Shadows!"
  • Request their bookstores stock it
  • Leave some bookmarks/postcards with libraries or stores or in waiting rooms
;-) Okay, so I doubt anyone would do all of those, LOL. But if you're interested in taking on some influencer tasks, email me at roseanna at roseannawhite dot com with your address and what you'll be able to do to help with the influencing. (I have a limited number of spots left, so hurry!)
Publisher's Weekly says this about Whispers from the Shadows:
"The characters' Christian faith is artfully integrated into their personalities, words, and actions. The combination of romantic tension, spiritual contention, and wartime intrigue makes for an engrossing, entertaining read."
Which, yes, totally made my day on Friday when I saw their very-positive review. ;-) (My first review in any publication as big as that!!) And in case you've missed the blurb...
I Love Her...Can I Trust Her?
I Love Him…Is He Safe?

1814—England and America are again at war. Sudden and implacable treachery causes Gwyneth Fairchild’s world to crumble in a moment’s time. The daughter of a British general, she barely saves her life by fleeing London aboard a ship bound for America. Her goal is to find refuge with the Lane family in Maryland. Yet after meeting the Lanes’ son, Thaddeus, Gwyn wonders how safe she is. For she discovers that this family trades in a dangerous commodity—espionage.

Thad Lane is a prominent citizen in the city of Baltimore. He has the ear of everyone, and he is in a unique position to pass on to leaders of government exactly what he hears. Not long after the beautiful and British Gwyneth Fairchild finds safe haven in his community, he experiences the tug of love, though he fears it may blur lines of loyalty. With family playing the part of enemies and enemies proving themselves friends, a future with Gwyn is more than uncertain—it could be life threatening.

In the end, with the British advancing relentlessly on Baltimore, Thad and Gwyn have to trust in their shared faith in God to be a shield about them. To give them a future and a hope.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Remember When . . . Revolution Loomed?

Versailles, the setting of Fairchild's Lady

Tired of seeing this cover yet? ;-) (How could you be, right? So lovely, LOL.) And have you seen my Pinterest board for the book? Check it out here: http://pinterest.com/roseannamwhite/fairchild-s-lady-culper-ring-series-1-5-free-novel/

Since I'm still celebrating the release of this free novella, I thought today I'd chat a bit about its setting. A departure from my American-set historicals that take up the rest of the series, this one follows Isaac Fairchild, a character everyone seemed to love in Ring of Secrets, on another covert assignment--in France, on the eve of revolution.

Being a history lover, it was fun for me to find another war to set this little book around, one that has certainly been the backdrop of its fair share of books! In a novella I obviously didn't have the time to explore much of the revolution that turned into the Terror, so I decided to keep it simple and have Fairchild travel to Versailles at the very beginning of the uprising, climaxing at the storming of the Bastille.

France, you see, was in rather dire financial straits. Bankrupt. They tried to balance things out a bit by raising the taxes on the rich, but the nobility simply refused to pay them. (American-me has a hard time imagining an entire class just saying, "No thanks. I think I won't pay that higher rate." LOL) Which means the poor had to take up the slack...but couldn't. So while the rich were partying in style at Versailles, their villeins were starving mere miles away--and because the court was so cut off from the rest of the country, being ensconced as they were in the palace, many of them didn't even know.

The class system in France were broken up into Estates. The First Estate being the priests, the Second the nobility, and the Third the commoners. Well, right about then a special meeting was called, called the Estates General. They were all getting together to figure this thing out. Revolution, officially, wasn't on the agenda. But the Third Estate had had enough. They rejected that name, called themselves an assembly instead and basically held the court hostage, saying they wouldn't budge until they were given a constitution.

Though the Revolution quickly escalated and turned far bloodier than America's was, at the start, they had no interest in ousting their king--they loved him. They merely wanted him to recognize them as something more than a servant class, something deserving of a fair chance. And for a while after they stormed the old prison (which was more armory than prison at that point), they were happy with Louis's overtures...until they weren't anymore.

Fairchild's Lady ends soon after the rioting in the streets of Paris that day when the Bastille was fired upon, but hovering over the story is that certain knowledge that in the coming months and years, anyone with noble blood had to either flee...or face the guillotine.

I also got to weave this into the next full Culper Ring book, Whispers from the Shadows, which CBD will have in stock in less than a month (woo hoo!!!). Not only is my heroine the daughter of these folks from Fairchild's Lady, but my hero's best friend came from a family of French nobility who fled to America at the start of the French Revolution. Alain Arnaud was a lot of fun to write, and I hope everyone enjoys his brooding Gallic attitude as much as I did. ;-)

Vive le France!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Word of the Week - Carnival

First, have you grabbed your free copy Fairchild's Lady yet? If not, check out Saturday's post for all the links to your choice of retailers!

Now onto the Word of the Week. =) This will be short but sweet. Carnival. I confess that when I see the word, I mostly think of a fair. But carnival in fact has its roots far more firmly in the famous Brazilian celebration--meaning literally "goodbye, meat!" in Latin, it has been a time of merrymaking before Lent since the 1540s.

Color me surprised. I really had  no idea the pre-Lent festival was so old! The more generic "fair" meaning didn't actually come around until the 1930s.

Have a lovely Monday, all! We're heading back to Johns Hopkins today for Xoe's follow-up. Prayers appreciated that her arm is healing up perfectly! =)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

FREE Novella is Live!!

It's here! It's here! Fairchild's Lady is live and available for download!

This bonus romantic novella is set in the intervening years between Ring of Secrets and Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna M. White. In 1789 General Isaac Fairchild travels across the Channel on a very special assignment. After surviving the American Revolution, he is now gathering information on life at King Louis XVI’s court. But he must also locate a countess and her grown daughter and escort them back to England before revolution explodes in France. He knows danger is in the task set before him, but when he meets the beautiful Julienne, a new peril beckons him deeper into the intrigue of Versailles.

I'm really excited about this little story. =) After reading Ring of Secrets, my critique partners and editor all wanted to know what happened to Fairchild in the years between RoS and Whispers from the Shadows, so I was thrilled to be given the chance to write his love story--and to offer it for free!

You can download it at Amazon, CBD, B&N, iTunes, and GooglePlay. (I'll post other links as they go live!)

And if you really want to make my day (wink, wink), please share about it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc. I hope you enjoy it!