Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Being Who We Are



A while back on another blog, I read a post about how, if we're honest, we all have the reader-we-wish-we-were and the reader-we-really-are. Like, we might want to think we're going to read some scholarly, high-falutin' piece of literature for pure fun one summer...but when it comes down to it, we opt for the romance novel with the pretty gown on the front instead. I really appreciated the thoughts the blogger put forth, because I have totally done that.

It's a thought that stuck with me, and which translates to a lot more than my reading pile. Because it's tough sometimes. We should own who we are...yet be improving. We should be happy in our skin...but want to be healthier, in better shape. We should take pride in our work...but not be too proud to take advice.

The more I think on these things, the more I think that finding a balance for each of those circumstances is what helps me discover who I really am. Years ago, I posted about how, when I spend time with some of my best friends, I sometimes come away thinking, "Why am I not like them?" I don't make food from scratch much anymore. I don't sew my own clothes. I don't debate the morality of one brand over another. Should I? Well, hearing their philosophies, I often think I should. But if I give my attention to that...

And one of those friends replied to that blog saying how she leaves those same visits wishing she could develop stories that others want to read, wishing she could be confident in her clothing choices without getting hung up on the why of things, wishing she could be the kind of person to express those very doubts with eloquence.

We all have those I wish I were... moments. We all look at the way our friends parent, dress, exercise, cook, write, read, worship, or [fill in the blank] and think, "I need to be more like them." But how often are they looking right back at us and thinking the same?

Sometimes this makes me laugh. Sometimes it makes me shake my head. And always it makes me pause and think. Because I can't be Kimberly or Karlene or Stephanie or Jennifer or Paige or Erin. I can't be Francine Rivers or Ted Dekker or Laurie Alice Eakes or MaryLu Tyndall or Julie Lessman. I can't be the college professors who sat around thinking about Aristotle for fun.

There are things I wish I could improve about myself, especially when I reflect on these people I so love. I wish I were more proactive about my homeschooling choices. I wish I were more educated on the medical choices available to us. I wish I knew (and cared) what was in my food. I wish I studied the changing tides of the industry to which I belong. I wish I kept my house clean. I wish I always answered my kids with patience. I wish I could organize my time.

And it's so incredibly weird to me to be talking to a friend and here her say, "I just keep telling myself, 'You need to be more like Roseanna. Keep your cool.' You're the most laid-back person I know, and I need that."

I wha...?

LOL.


What I take from that is that we need to learn from each other, yes. We need to grow. We need to stretch ourselves out toward knowledge, as Aristotle would say, and come to a better understanding of our worlds.

But we also need to recognize that we can only do what we can do. We can only be who we can be. We only have so much attention, so many hours, so many days. How do we really want to spend them?

For me, it comes down to this. If I have to decide between working out and writing, I'm going to choose writing. But if I can combine working out with brainstorming...well, that's awesome! So rather than doing videos that demand my full attention, I've been walking. It gives me much-needed time to think in peace, and that makes my writing time for fruitful.

If I have to decide between keeping my house clean and spending extra time on fun lessons with my kids, I'm going to choose my kids. Because sometimes it seems like if I spend my whole day teaching the must-dos, then the following hours cleaning up, I never get to hug them. Never get to cuddle. Never get to put puzzles together and build Lego tractors. So I prioritize. The kitchen must be cleaned, the toys have to be put away. But I'm not going to fret over every stray piece of paper.

The list goes on. Will I ever reach a place where I'm not frustrated day-to-day with some little thing? Where I don't look at the awesome people God has put around me and aspire to be like them in some way? I seriously doubt it. Because I'm aware of my own faults, and it's good that I want to improve them.

But I'm also aware of who I am and what's important to me. And I have to be careful that I don't get so hung up in bettering one aspect of myself that I neglect another. I have to be, above all, who I am.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Remember When . . . The Spirit Moved?

One of the most challenging--and amazing--aspects of writing is digging deep into issues that the author knows nothing about firsthand. That's what research is for, and when it comes to facts, it's pretty simple. You look things up. Read. Watch documentaries, maybe. Voila. Knowledge.

But some parts of books aren't about knowledge so much as wisdom--how our characters would react to things, how faith grows and fades. There are ways to research that too. More books, interviews... But I'll be honest. I don't do that. When it comes to internal aspects of my characters, I go from the gut. Which can be a challenge, because I've led a beautifully boring life, LOL. I've never suffered even the slightest abuse, never gone without.

I love, though. And I've lost. I've fought. I've prayed, I've cried, I've laughed. And though losing a grandfather to cancer is far different from, say, losing a child in a lot of ways, in other ways, grief is grief. I take what I know and put a magnifying glass on it when it comes to these things--prayerfully. And thus far, the feedback I've gotten from people who have suffered the things my characters have suffered is that my methods work. =)

Holy Spirit depicted as the dove above Child Jesus in two Trinities by Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo

But in A Soft Breath of Wind, I'm dealing with aspects of the faith that go beyond imagination. And while I have some experience to go on, and have spoken with some people (not when researching, I'm just blessed to have met folks with an amazing awareness of the spiritual world), I'm keenly aware that the Holy Spirit's movement can feel different to us all.

So today, as I'm five chapters into this new biblical, I wanted to take the time to talk to you. Would you be willing to share with me your experiences with the moving of the Spirit? How and when you've most strongly felt Him? What other senses came alive? Have you ever seen-with-your-eyes into the spirit world? Heard His whisper? Felt His touch? Dreamed His dream? Have you ever followed a nudge and seen so clearly why He did the nudging? Felt a call to pray at a time you thought random, but which was anything but?

You're welcome to share in the comments if you don't mind it being public. Or if you want to share but not publicly, you can email me at Roseanna at RoseannaWhite dot com -- because this is me, I sincerely doubt I would use anything you share exactly. But I'm quite likely to take bits and pieces and aspects and weave the understanding of them into my character's world.

On an unrelated note, it's my day at Colonial Quills--and the blog has a new look! It's a revision of my post about espionage in early America that I posted in July, but if you missed that one, check it out here.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Word of the Week - Gumshoe


I looked this up the other day just for the fun of it ... and because I had never paused to think why PIs used to be called gumshoes. But according to etymology.com:

"plainclothes detective," 1906, from the rubber-soled shoes they wore (which were so called from 1863); from gum (n.1) + shoe (n.).

Obvious, yes. But still fun. =) And a nice start to the week I plan on preparing my "History of Spies in Early America" home school group class. ;-) Got the Creative Writing one mostly done yesterday. Yay!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Thirteen Things

It's been quite a month. A lot has happened. Some things are up in the air that I thought were solid, other things are solid that had been up in the air. Our home school year has started, and I have two kids in my little classroom this year instead of just one.

I'm in the blissful throes of the beginning of a novel I've been pondering for 7 years, and in the midst of quite a few editing projects.

My thoughts are a bit jumbled, LOL. So I thought today I'd do one of the list thingymabobs that I've always enjoyed reading on other blogs. Just some thoughts, epiphanies, observations, and blessings I'm thinking about today.

1. My kids are well behaved. It doesn't always feel like it when I'm with them 24/7, but I seriously can't take these little guys out in public without someone commenting on how polite and good they are. And I think, Wow. I guess I'm doing something right!

2. Orson Scott Card is brilliant. I just finished the second book in his Gate series, and some of the tidbits that only got a couple lines were just astoundingly clever. On The Big Bang Theory, Leonard says something in an early episode about how all physicists can ever say is "Look, my theory is internally consistent, yay!" Card had some internal consistencies that make you stop and go, "Huh. That makes so much sense I kinda wonder if it's true even though it can't be."

3. I love biblical fiction. Not a newsflash, I know. But digging into one for the first time in 3 years is just so darn fun.

4. There's beauty in the boring parts. I just finished reading Leviticus. There are some places that are so redundant. Where every single tribe brought the exact same things for the tabernacle, but he names each single bowl and plate Every. Single. Time. At first, I sighed and thought Couldn't you just say they ALL brought this, Moses? Once? But then I stopped and really looked at it. And I realized how beautiful it is to state it 12 times. Because each bowl, each plate, each ounce of gold and silver was a sacrifice. And every one deserved attention. Remembering each is so very important.

5. I love design. I've come to the conclusion that playing in Photoshop at least once every two weeks is crucial to my creativity in general.

6. Celery Soup is okay. How's that for a bizarre thought? But I accidentally bought Cream of Celery instead of Cream of Chicken, and had only that for my chicken and dumplings. And you know, it added something!

7. Friends = Joy. I have some of the most amazing online friends imaginable. I love emailing and messaging y'all every day. And I'm also so, so grateful to have connected with some local families through homeschooling and Bible studies. Hanging out with other young-ish moms and talking about everything from kids to books to clothes to jobs is something I really missed for a few years.

8. Disappointments only last for a blink. I've had a doozy, and for about 12 hours there, all I could pray was, Whatever You want for me, Lord. I give it to You. It'll be enough. But it wasn't the end of the world. It wasn't even the end of a dream. It might have been the end of one particular idea, at least for now, but that's okay. I have a lot of ideas. I have people who believe in me. People willing to fight for me. And faith that my feet are on the path He set before me. Doesn't mean there won't be potholes. Just means I'm heading where I need to go despite them.


9. Ellie Sweet is awesome. I just got to read my critique partner's next book, due out in November. I loved the first one in the series so intensely I couldn't imagine this one displacing it, especially knowing some of the twists she was throwing in against my objections. But she made me love it. Ellie rocks more than ever. (And Stephanie too.) ;-)

10. Sometimes you can compromise. Sometimes you can't. I want to be the kind of person people love to talk to, hang out with, work with. I want to be easy and encouraging and not get my knickers in a bunch. Mostly, I can do that. I can brush away irritation or frustration or whatever. But sometimes, I have to stand where I'm put and not budge. Just sometimes. But those are important times.

11. I'm so in love with my husband. He's been working his rear off so we can move here in the next week or so. Just one of the many things that makes me stop and wonder at this crazy love still filling me for him after 15+ years as a couple.

12. Pedicures are da bomb. Seriously. Da bomb. My hubby scheduled me one for my birthday last week. See #11.

13. Absolutely nothing beats encouragement. Nothing. Ever. Notes I've gotten from you guys have picked me up on days I'm down, made me laugh when I'm already smiling, and just encouraged me to keep on, no matter what. So thank you. I hope you realize that every kind word you speak or write inspires the recipient to return the favor, either to you or someone else. It's a beautiful cycle, one that lights the world. So shine on, me lovelies. Shine on.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Remember When . . . Characters Appeared


I'm having a blast digging into the writing of A Soft Breath of Wind. Right now, on chapter 2, I'm still getting to know my characters. And so, I'm building Pinterest boards and playing with Photoshop and coming up with images to inspire me.

I thought it would be fun today to introduce the characters that will be ruling my brain for the next little while. =)

Let's start with my heroine, Zipporah.

My cover model is so delightfully Zipporah
that I'm describing my character to match her, right down to
the clothes and accessories. =)


Zipporah was always the not-so-pretty one. Anna, her older sister, was the type of gorgeous that men fight wars over, and Zipporah always knew she was just a shadow in comparison. But she was okay with that. She loved her sister, and she was happy enough with her good qualities. But when a gift of the Spirit opens her eyes to the angels and demons swarming around her, she faces down the enemy and comes away scarred.

As she grows from that thirteen year old into a young woman, Zipporah sometimes has a hard time balancing her internal and external lives. She desperately needed to learn how to restrain her emotions when her spiritual eyes were opened...but as a result has closed them up a bit too much. She can be witty, she has deep abiding friendships--but in a group setting she tends to stick to the walls and leave the socialization to others.

Zipporah is confident in who she is, likes to say that the Lord in His wisdom chose not to burden with beauty, as He well knew she couldn't have handled it. She carries herself well and serves her masters with love.

But she has long ago resigned herself to never experiencing any other kind of love. For years now she has watched her master, Benjamin, with adoration. But he, much as he values her as a friend and sister in Christ, has never seen her as anything more.

Which is just as well. She is all but sure that someday, she will have to lay her life down for her faith, and the last thing she wants is to leave a husband mourning for her, like Samuel when Anna died in childbirth.

A stylized Zac Efron (with the costume of Billy Zane's character from Cleopatra)
as Benjamin Visibullis


Benjamin Visibullis is in some ways the most important person to the growing Roman church. He's the legal owner of the Visibullis estate outside Rome where Jews and Christians congregate. Tutelos is more than a villa now, more than home--it's a small town full of many families, all of whom rely on him.

Benjamin takes his responsibilities seriously and wants nothing more than to serve the Brethren...but he cannot shake the feeling that the Lord is calling him away from Tutelos, off to see the rest of the churches and, perhaps, spread the good news to places who have yet to hear about the Messiah. His mother insists he cannot put his life at such risk until he has married and established an heir, and that is logic he understands. But no woman in Rome fits his idea of the bride Jehovah has in store. And so, after years of prayer, he finally sets sail to visit the growing churches, Samuel with him to keep him safe.

Their travels take them eventually to Jerusalem for the Passover, but returning to the land of his birth only shows him that it's time to go home to Rome. When a trip through the city leads them unexpectedly to Samuel's birth-family--including the mother who sold him as a slave to Benjamin's father 25 years before--he has to admit his eye is caught by his step-brother's beautiful sister. Dara's face, Dara's words say she is what he has been waiting for.

But something within Benjamin knows she's trouble--and he finds out the hard way that he should have heeded the whisper. But by then, the enemy is already entrenched at Tutelos...and he fears he may have undone all he was ever called to do.

A stylized Jason Lewis as Samuel Asinius
Samuel kinda took me by surprise in A Stray Drop of Blood. While I had planned the BIG plot twists from the get-go, I didn't see the little slave boy coming, and so I certainly didn't know the pivotal role he would end up playing in the second half of the book. But I fell in love with that beautiful little boy with a nurturing touch, and oh, how I'm already enjoying seeing the man he's become!

At the end of Stray Drop, Samuel was legally adopted by Titus Asinius, so he's the joint-heir of a pretty impressive Roman estate. This for a boy born a poor Hebrew, sold into slavery to a Roman, and moved to Rome when only 6. Now 31, Samuel is still a nurturer, a healer. Though not officially a physician, he's been trained by one and is the man to whom everyone at Tutelos turns when they need medical help.

He's also still the self-appointed protector of Benjamin, brother in heart if not by blood. After his wife and their child die in childbirth, Samuel mourns long and hard...and finally welcomes the excuse to escape her memory and travel with Benjamin. When he meets his "real" family in Jerusalem, his heart doesn't even stir, though. These people are less than strangers to him. He had long ago erased his mother from his heart, and the sister who seems bent on coming with him back to Rome...he knows there's something wrong with her claims. But who is he to turn away someone who claims she wants to learn more about Christ?

But when they take her home to Tutelos and Zipporah immediately recognizes the evil within her, he knows they've made a grave error. Perhaps the rest of the church would prefer to chalk Zipporah's strong reaction up to jealousy--it's no secret she's always loved Benjamin, who Dara now dares to claim--Samuel has always trusted his wife's little sister when it comes to matters of the Spirit. And he'll stand with her now and fight for the Way.

A stylized Sophia Myles as Dara
Dara is beautiful--and she uses it as a weapon. Endowed with a spirit of fortune telling, she serves a master in Jerusalem who has taught her how to hone her skills, both as a beauty and an oracle. Those who know what she is serve or fear her...and those who don't still stand in awe of her unusual looks. She doesn't just always get her way--she makes her way when the world might try to stand against her. She wants nothing more than to belong fully to her master, but he has said since she was little more than a child that she can serve him best through her marriage. That only by waiting for the right man can she serve their cause--and bring an end to the sacrilege of Christianity worming its way throughout the world.

When she realizes she has an older brother--and sees the one he calls "brother" by adoption--she knows her master was right. Her fate lies with Benjamin Visibullis. He is the fulcrum of one of the most important sects of the blasphemers. And it will be no great hardship to pass her days--and nights--beside the handsome Benjamin.

Who is Dara beyond the tool of this "master"? Well that's just the thing--she doesn't know. She has served him so long, so fully, always in secret that she cannot separate anymore who-he-made-her from who-she-was-born-to-be. Her whole purpose in living, in her eyes, is to serve him. To make his causer her own. To undermine their sworn enemy--Christians. Can she be cruel? Without question. Can she be kind? When it suits her. Has she a heart underneath the hatred? She's none too sure.

It's been a long time since I've written a bad girl who doesn't reform right away, so this is going to be fun. ;-) Of course, I have some plans in store for our nasty little Dara. First though, we pit discernment against fortune telling. One Spirit against another spirit. Darkness against light.

And the real fun? Light doesn't just defeat the darkness, right? It banishes it, and the things once dark become light.

Yep. Gonna have a blast with this one. =)





Monday, August 19, 2013

Word of the Week - Student and Pupil


It's the first day of school in our house, and the kids are rather excited. (Don't worry, it'll fade, LOL.) Their desks are organized (that won't last either...), they made their "1st Day of..." signs last night for pictures this morning, picked out their outfits (no reason why homeschoolers shouldn't have that joy too!), and demanded I wake them up early. Gotta love eager little students. =)

And I thought that today, I'd take a quick look at some school-related words in keeping with the occasion.

Student is an old one, from the 14th century. It comes to us from the French estudient, "one who studies," which is directly from the Latin studiare, "to study." No surprises there. Interestingly, student teacher didn't join in until 1907, which is, I think, more a reflection of the educational and training system than language.

But I wanted to look up pupil too. I think to us, this word has fallen out of fashion and so sounds old-fashioned. So I was intrigued to see that while just as old as student, it didn't have its current meaning nearly as long. Pupil literally means "orphan child, ward." This too is taken from French and Latin and is a diminutive of the word for "boy." It took about 200 years for the "student" meaning to come along. Which, yes, was still way back in 1560, LOL. But I didn't realize it had ever meant anything else.

Now off to get some work done before my little students arise. ;-)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . Motivation

First, thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday--I had an amazing day! Now on we go. =)

Sometimes reading the Old Testament can be baffling. We're told that the Lord our God never changes, that He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. Yet when we read about all that transpired in those early days with Israel, all the times He lashed out against someone for what we would deem nothing...well, that makes us go "Huh?"

I recently read the portion where Aaron's sons lit a profane fire to the Lord, and He struck them down,  three of them. Because it was there, I read a note on it--the note simply said that God wanted to be very clear about the rules of the Tabernacle, and they had disobeyed them.

Rembrandt - Balaam and his Ass


I had to shake my head on that one. Because you know, in all these confusing places--where someone was commanded to be stoned for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, where Moses strikes the rock instead of speaking to it, where Balaam's donkey has to talk because Balaam keeps trying to force the creature past an angel that came simply because he rose too early--there's one obvious thing in common.

People are disobeying the letter of God's word.

But beyond that, I think it's this--that people are disobeying the spirit of God's word.

Very rarely do the Old Testament writers provide us with motivation, beyond "they grew discontent" or "His anger was roused against them." That's all we hear. But what do we know? That God doesn't change. And that God sees not our outward actions, but our inward heart.

My first realization of this was in Genesis, when Cain's sacrifice is unacceptable to the Lord. Why, when we know He does in fact except produce as offering later? The only answer I see is that Cain didn't give his best. It specifies that Able did, but just says Cain brought "some." Some isn't good enough for our Lord.

When the sons of Aaron lit a fire the Lord had not told them to light, what were they trying to do? And what would that fire have meant to the gods of the lands around them? Where they trying to take or conjure power not meant for them?

Was Moses too angry to follow the instructions God gave him? Did he think it not enough of a show to speak to the rock, even though the Lord then says he ruined the point with his outburst?

Motivations are what I allow myself to change and interpret when writing historicals, so I give them a lot of thought when reading these examples.

And I need to give them a lot of thought in my own life. Is my heart right when I'm performing the small tasks set before me? Do I turn astray even a degree with the thought that I want to do it my way instead of the way I know He wants me to do it? Do I greet clear, precise instruction with a "No"?

Maybe right motives aren't always enough if we fail to do something--but wrong motives can destroy us. So Lord, cleanse my heart anew today...that I might hear those detailed instructions and obey them precisely.

Is there a particular Old Testament passage
that has always baffled you?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Remember When . . . We Chose Pets?

As I was taking my walk the other morning, I was thinking about my next biblical and my heroine, Zipporah. Zipporah is going to be interesting to write. She's scarred (physically, I mean), but still confident. Not in the beauty she knows she doesn't have, but in who she is. She's outspoken with enemies, yet often hesitant with friends. Friendly and witty, but too different to be totally understood. Respected, but sometimes in a don't-get-too-close way.
 
She has quite a story to tell. =) And as I was thinking through one of the moments I have planned for late in the book, I realized she needs a catalyst for really flying off the handle. My original jotted notes was that this villain would insult her looks, but she's so used to that by now, I don't think it would have any great effect after all.

But then a dog barked at the house I was walking past, and I had to pause to say, "Good morning, Tipsy." (Her owner pauses every day as he drives by to say, "Tipsy's out. Say hello." So I do, LOL.) Another neighborhood dog answered. Squirrels jumped up the tree at my side, and birds twittered overhead. That's when it came to me.

A pet! Zipporah needs a pet! Some poor creature she rescues, perhaps with an injury of its own that she can relate to.

So...now to decide on what kind. =) She's on a villa outside Rome, so I have to make sure it's an animal that would have been there. Still, Rome was a bit of a hub (ahem), so the options should be pretty wide.

Thoughts? What kind of pet should my biblical heroine have?

And yes, that's all I'm talking about today. ;-) It's my birthday, and I'm off to enjoy a day of pampering. Which reminds me--last day to place your orders for my online Mary Kay party!! www.MaryKay.com/TerriHarr and put "Roseanna White Hostess" in the memo box at checkout.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Word of the Week - Upbeat


I have frequently been accused of optimism. I confess: it's a malady of mine. Why, after all, should I look at the dark side, when the bright side is right there? I just can't do it. And so, my critique partners nicknamed me RO. It's short for Roseanna-Optimist. I claimed once that Optimism was my middle name, and they argued that it was surely my first--at the least, it must be hyphenated, LOL.

So happy words have a permanent place in my vocabulary, and apparently they occasionally sneak into my writing even when they shouldn't. ;-) I was reading through a proposal the other day and caught myself having used "upbeat" in a story that takes place in 1910. This stood out to me on the re-read like a sore thumb, so I looked it up.

Sure enough, upbeat as "with a positive mood" didn't join our language until 1947. It had existed since the mid 1800s in its technical sense--the beat of a measure of music where the conductor's baton is raised. Why did it take on optimistic tones? According to the experts, simply because it sounds happy. =) (That's my kind of reasoning!)

And speaking of happy things, this is the week of my birthday, so don't forget that I'm hosting an online Mary Kay party that ends on the day itself, 8/14 (Wednesday). If you're a fan of MK, do hop on over to http://www.marykay.com/terriharr and put "Roseanna White Hostess" into the memo box when you check out. Mucho appreciated!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thoughtful About . . . It's My Party, and I'll Smile if I Want To



I'll be honest--the week turned pretty crappy on me. I had a couple nasty-bad days there.

My first response? Wallow. Only, it's hard to wallow with kids and a hubby who need me on my game, with a gazillion books still needing sent out and edits pending on the WhiteFire book releasing in one short week.

Maybe, were it just me in my cave, I'd wallow. But it's not me--or not the me I can be right now anyway. I know everyone deals with disappointments in their own way. My best friend cries, my sister works out, I know some who opt for retail therapy.

I don't really do any of that. It's hard for me to get outside my head, but my head says I need to stay strong. Handle disappointments with grace. Easy? No. But I say a prayer, suck it up, and...well...get on with it. But it's difficult sometimes. So I try to tweak my mindset. For me, that means getting out of the jammies and ponytail and showing the world I'm okay. I put on my favorite outfit, fix my hair, and even break out the makeup bag. This is a rarity, LOL. And maybe to some, it seems strange to go all-out just to sit at home in front of my computer. But when I look bad, I feel bad. When I take the effort to look better, I start to feel better. Call it vanity--maybe it is. But it's also me taking control of something and making an effort to change my attitude.

Which leads me right into my party. =)

On August 14th, next Wednesday, I'm turning 31. So when a friend of mine from one of my writing groups asked me if I'd host an online Mary Kay party, I thought, "Oh, fun! It'll lead straight into my birthday!!" This was before the week turned sour. ;-) But you know, I think it's just what I need. A reason to look beyond blips on the screen and focus on something else.

I really want to support Terri Harr, one of my most dedicated readers and a friend to boot, as she's launching this new enterprise. And she's even promised a few goodies for giveaways down the line, if the party goes well!

So you are hereby invited to my online Mary Kay party, beginning today and extending through next Wednesday, my birthday. Obviously, I want you to buy lots, 'cause then I get free stuff, LOL. But I also just want to hang out here on the blog, chat about some simple things like mascara and lipstick, and support my friend in the process.

Here's how it works--really simple.

1. Go to http://www.marykay.com/terriharr and browse through the catalogue.


2. Add whatever you please to your cart.

3. When you check out, put "Roseanna White Hostess" in the memo box

4. Voila! Your order will be sent straight to you!

5. Share with a friend. Cuz, you know, the more the merrier at this party. Since I don't have to clean my house for it or anything. ;-)

My question for you today:

What's your default when you're feeling down?

or

What item of makeup can you not live without?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Remember When . . . Napoleon Surrendered?

Since I'm still in the first week of Whispers from the Shadows officially being out, I thought I'd share today a repost of something I wrote for www.RegencyReflections.com--about the War of 1812, but from the British perspective. -- And stay tuned!! Tomorrow I'm announcing a week-long party for you Mary Kay fans to help a friend kick off her new business and lead into my birthday. =) For now...enjoy some tall ships!
The Chasseur, one of the most famous privateers of the War of 1812
This Baltimore captain harassed the British merchant fleet in their own waters.
 You know, it's really kind of funny. When reading the Regency-set novels I so love, I often find references to the on-going war with France and the audacity of Napoleon. Only rarely, however, do we see the British perspective of another war going on at the same time, one with the upstart Colonists that had declared their independence a generation before. Even America often forgets their War of 1812, and in Europe...well, it tends to dim in comparison to the Napoleonic Wars. It's become overlooked by both sides.

But oh, how interesting it is! In 1811, England had been fighting France for long enough that the escalating troubles with America were little more than a nuisance at first. They sent men and ships, but for the first two years of the war, their focus remained set upon France. In North America, they were concerned largely with protecting their Canadian assets, using raids along the Chesapeake to distract American forces from their invasion northward. After Napoleon surrendered, however, everyone--both British and American--new exactly what it meant. It was time for the fighting to get serious in America.

Privateers engaged in battle during the War of 1812
Not only were those in the Admiralty tired of fooling around with the upstarts, but the citizenry were beginning to fuss about the audacity the Americans demonstrated in this second fight, even sending privateers to harass the British in their own waters! They demanded that the Americans' cities be burned and her people crushed for their impudence. Ready, I daresay, for a breath of peace, more men and ships were sent from Europe to Bermuda and then, finally, to either the Chesapeake or Canada.

But the men were weary. After months and years of suffering in the war with Napoleon, followed by months idle on the ships across the Atlantic, their hearts weren't in it. More, the humid mid-Atlantic summer--one of the hottest recorded--caused heat-stroke left and right. More men were felled by vicious storms and intense heat for the first few months than by the sword or shells.

For many, this second war with America was but a P.S. to the first. The Revolution went wrong, they were sure, because of bad leadership decisions. Their men--the fathers of those now in charge--were killed or injured because of this. So it was their duty to put it to rights, especially when America persisted in ignoring the laws of citizenship and rights-upon-the-seas that England had held to for centuries.

 It was, for many of those involved, a war no one wanted to fight. It was an afterthought to some and forgotten by many more since. A war based on little more than affronted prides.

But like any other, it was also a war with heroes and bravery and determination. And as such, it deserves to be remembered. Especially now, during its two-hundredth anniversary.

My question to you today:

Which war's history always interested you 
the most in your school days?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Word of the Week - Tutu

Edgar Degas - Ballet at the Paris Opéra

 
I have a little ballerina in my family...and also a Fancy Nancy fan. So when she got her hands on Fancy Nancy: Too Many Tutus, you may be able to imagine the results--she had to go through her entire closet and pick out every dress, shirt, and skirt with a tutu in it, and schedule her entire week's clothing choices accordingly.

It's a funny word though, and one I've often wondered about but never looked up. So here I am, looking it up. =)

Tutu comes from the French word, which is no big surprise, as most ballet terminology does. What I had no clue about is that it's a variation of cucu...which is baby talk! Who knew, right? Cucu is "intantile repetitiveness" of cul, which means "bottom or backside."

And I'm sure my daughter won't give a hoot, LOL. But a bit of fun trivia to begin your week. =)

Xoe (on the right) with her best-ballet-friend

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's Release Day!

Today, in case you've misplaced any time this week, is August 1st. Do you know what that means? That it's the official release date for Whispers from the Shadows!

I don't know about you, but I'm excited. ;-) July has been a blast with the loooooong giveaways, and now I'm looking forward to basking with my newest book-baby.


You can read the official blurb here, but since you may have already done that, I thought I'd write something fresh today. Some behind the scenes. =)

Ring of Secrets includes the first chapter of this one in the back, so it's not exactly a spoiler to share that the book begins with the murder of my heroine's father. She's British, and given that they are once again at war with America, I needed a really good reason to send my heroine to the U.S. At first I'd planned for her father to have died in a rather typical way--illness--and she went to Maryland to obey his dying wish.

Which, yeah. Isn't much motivation. Not enough to send her through a blockade and all that. Plus, there was no urgency. So I thought to myself, "Okay...what if he sends her to keep her safe? And what if instead of illness, he's murdered??"

Muuuuch more interesting. =)

Still. When I sent that chapter to my editor for inclusion in Ring of Secrets, I believe her response was something along the lines of "What? YOU KILL FAIRCHILD? You're kidding, right? He's not really dead, is he? He comes back later? RIGHT??" ;-)

It's a suggestion she made several times, in several ways, LOL. But hey, starting with such a sad ending for Fairchild is what inspired me to write Fairchild's Lady, so readers would know he'd been happy between the books. =)

So here we are with Gwyneth, daughter of Isaac Fairchild, and Thaddeus Lane, son of Winter and Bennet. Thad was an interesting hero because he's so stinking good. He's nice, he's personable, everybody loves him, and he's a man of rather staggering faith. I mean, this guy can hear the Spirit's whisper so clearly... How was I to make him likable then?? LOL. Well, he has a few secrets that come halfway through, tied to his first wife. He also has a bit of a hero-complex. He has to save the day. Every day. So what happens when he can't?

Gwyn was a lot of fun to write too. She's suffering from some severe post-traumatic stress, which results in extreme insomnia. Nothing livens up a book like hallucinations and a heroine that might just fall over asleep in the middle of a conversation, right? ;-)

And of course, a cast of secondary characters that I just adore. You should totally rush to get a copy and get to know them. ;-) (Subtle, right?)

So Happy Birthday, Gwyn, Thad, and the rest of the Whispers crew! I'm so happy to welcome you officially into the world, where I pray you'll engage, enthuse, and most of all, make people stop for a moment and wonder if the Spirit whispers in their ear like He does in Thad's.

I guess I'll close today with something that still makes me giddy. =)

In this second installment of the Culper Ring series, Thad Lane gathers information for the American government during the War of 1812. When Gywneth Fairchild—daughter of a British general—escapes London after witnessing her father’s murder, she finds refuge with the Lane family, whom her father had assured her were friends despite the war between their countries. Gwyn then battles a crippling despair that threatens her health and her budding feelings for Thad, who is likewise drawn to her. As the British menace Washington and Baltimore, Gwyn and Thad’s relationship must reckon with family secrets and forces both spiritual and military. White (Ring of Secrets) skillfully illustrates depression and PTSD in the traumatized Gwyn. Secondary characters shine—new readers will likely seek the first installment to acquaint themselves further. 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.
                                                                             ~ Publisher's Weekly