Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Reading as an Editor

I admit it--I don't read for pleasure as much as I used to. Mostly because during the school year, I spend so many hours a day reading to my kids, writing, and editing that by the end of the day, my eyes and brain say, "Nope, we're done. Stare at the television or go to sleep. Those are your choices."

But there's another reason. It's because I've trained myself so much to be an editor that I can't read a book without noting what I'd ask the author to change...and that get really, really annoying when I'm just reading for fun, LOL.

Now, the mark of a truly excellent book is when the editor switches off, or at least finds nothing to whine about. That happens, and I love it when it does. But other times...yeah. I recently read a dystopian where the character at one point mentions that in her town, there's no music. She barely has a concept of what it is. Then a few scenes later, she likens someone's breathing to a concertina. Um, no. If you don't know what music is, you aren't going to think in terms of instruments. Sorry. A first person book that suddenly goes out of POV and tells me what another character is thinking? Shudder. And that historical full of inaccuracies? Ouch.

I guess it's kinda like a doctor watching a medical show. Or someone in law enforcement watching CSI. They're going to notice the faults, the things the show gets wrong, and it's going to ruin it for them. Sadly, that's how some books are for me these days. It's one thing to notice all the typos, which I've always done. But these days, it's so much more than that.

But then it makes me wonder.

How can God stand to watch us?? LOL. I mean, He's got it all right. He knows what He's doing. He knows the right thing, the wrong thing, the so-so things we could do in each moment, and He sees how often we go the wrong way. How often we miss the mark.

And I can imagine Him in heaven, with his metaphorical red pen, saying, "You know, if you'd just let me give you some advice right here..."

But here's another thing I've learned about editors--you have to let them give you advice. Freelancers you hire, and you can totally choose whether to take their advice or ignore them. When you've signed a contract with a publishing house, you kinda have to listen to what they say. Kinda. But you might be surprised at how many authors refuse, and take the cancellation of their contract over giving over control of their story.

What about in our lives? Do we give over control to Him? He, who is the ultimate author? The ultimate editor? Who understands far better than we do where the plots of our lives are going? Who knows what's relevant and what isn't? Where our focus should be?

Lord, be my editor. Catch all my errors and help me correct them. Cut out all that fluff I don't need in my life. Keep my words tight and true to You. Lord, be my editor...and help me to take Your perfect advice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Remember When . . . the King was Crowned

Let's blame it on being an American--I know little about the details of how a king (or queen) becomes a king (or queen). In my head, it's an instant thing when the previous monarch passes away. A bit, I suppose, like the swearing-in of the vice president as president when the president dies. It happens within hours. Voila. Done.

And yes, to a point that's how it is. Researching the Edwardian era, I of course discovered that King Edward died in May of 1910--a mere 3 months before The Lost Heiress begins. But in my head, that meant the transition was already over. His son, King George, became king. Voila. Done.

I honestly didn't think to look into any more than that while writing The Lost Heiress. I turned it in. No biggie. Then I started my research for The Outcast Duchess, and through that reading realized the error of my ways. And saw that King George's coronation hadn't been before my stories started. Oh no. It was smack dab in the middle of Brook's first Season in The Lost Heiress--June, 1911. A year after his father's death. A year, obviously, to prepare for the momentous day. In my story--and I didn't once mention it. Yikes!
King George V in coronation robes, 1911

Luckily, it's early days yet in edits, LOL.





Though books set up to WWI are deemed Edwardian, King George V was the king all through my series. And though it was his father who set the standard for the extravagance and luxury that made the era famous, I have to say I think I would have liked George much better. Where Edward was over-indulgent, George was more restrained. Where Edward was uninhibited, George seems to have been composed. They were two very different men . . . and yet, in his journal after his father's death, George wrote that on that day he lost his dearest friend--his father.

Sniff. Sniff, sniff.

I think one of the things I admire most about this man who is king during my stories though, is his own tale of love.

You see, he wasn't always the heir-apparent. He was the second son, and his brother was the one everyone thought would be the next king. He thought his destiny was to serve in the Royal Navy, and he embraced that gladly. He fell in love with his German cousin, but the families didn't approve the match. He proposed anyway--she refused him and married the heir to the king of Romania instead.

Two years later, George's older brother Albert, the presumed heir, became engaged to a cousin the family did approve of--Princess Victoria Mary of Teck. The family called her May (as there was kinda still a Victoria on the throne at the time...) But only six months into their engagement, Albert died of pneumonia.

It was grief that brought May and George together. They mourned Albert together. They comforted each other. And they fell in love. Theirs was a story of socially-acceptable-matches meeting deep-from-the-heart love...and oh, how history needs those!

Though King Edward was known for his affairs and paramours, King George was known for his dedication to his wife. He had a hard time, he himself admitted, expressing his feelings out loud. So they exchanged love letters all their lives.

Sniff. Sniff, sniff.

Yes, this is a king who deserves some mention in my series! And though in The Lost Heiress I really only mention his coronation a couple times, I'm going to try to put a bit more about him in later books. Because though I'm calling this an Edwardian series, Edward was gone. George was ruling. And he was setting an example that deserves to be noted.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Word of the Week - Pigment


My kids made me look this one up the other day, wondering if pig and pigment were related...giving that Xoe's been studying base words and prefixes and suffixes, this is a logical question. =)

So away to www.etymonline.com I went. To discover that, as I suspected, no. Pigment is not from the same root as pig.

Pigment, as it happens, comes from the pigmentum, meaning "color matter, paint." Pretty much what I expected. It comes in turn from the Latin verb pingere, meaning "to paint."

Pig, on the other hand, has obscure roots. It existed in Old English, but the experts think it might have been borrowed from the German or Dutch word for swine, which was big/bigge. They seem to agree that it was originally spelled with a B.

Interestingly, some of the nicknames for a pig--porker, grunter--came about because sailors' superstitions forbade them from uttering the word "pig" while at sea! Can't say as I knew that one, LOL.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Random Things





This marked our first full week of homeschool. And I admit it--I haven't adjusted yet. I'm still a wee bit frazzled by how much long it's taking us this year (so far--hopefully it'll streamline a bit), and what that means in terms of time to do other things. So I figured today, I'd just chat about some random things.


* That homeschool. Yeesh! I forgot how much longer 1st grade takes than Kindergarten. But adding in that extra amount of work for Rowyn...all of which must be hands-on for me at this point...puts another hour or so on my instructional day. I wasn't prepared for that! But both kids are doing great with their respective work.

However, my brain is back is Edwardian Yorkshire. Because, you see...

* Last Thursday, on my birthday, I got to have an editorial call with my new editor, on The Lost Heiress. Maybe some people wouldn't want to schedule such a thing for their birthday, but I knew well I'd have fun--and I did. I love talking story. I was emailed seven pages of notes, compiled from three different editors, and we went through them point by point. I had an hour before the call to review them and brainstorm, and oh my gracious. Such fun!

See, as a writer, I'm not a this-is-the-only-way-it-can-happen person. (Most of the time.) I'm constantly daydreaming about what ifs for my stories. Coming up with alternate ways the characters could reach the same places. So when an editor says, "This could be stronger," I just have to tap on that door of imagination and let the ideas fly. It's So. Much. Fun for me. =D

So in the week that's followed, I've been spending all the time I can on those revisions. Of course, it being the first week of school, that's not as much time as I would like...

And...

* I'm adding words! Yikes! LOL. I'm going to have to go back afterward and trim some other parts down, to get that word count back down on target. Not the fun part.

* I need a haircut. I have an appointment for next Thursday, but I have no idea what I want. Right now it's about 3 inches below my shoulders. I like the length, but I want some life in it. Suggestions??

* My poor cat has had UTI for two months now. She's been on antibiotics since mid-June. The oral ones made her puke, and the injections don't seem to be helping. Which means she's showing me her pain by making messes. I'm about at my wit's end there...

* I'm making French onion soup tomorrow! Woot!

* And I should probably go take a shower before it's time for school again. So until next time, there's the randomness from the brain of Roseanna.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Blog Header Design - The Lord's Lady

Not exactly a book cover design, but the same general idea. ;-) I had the pleasure a week or so ago of designing a header for a new blog by the awesome Sandi Rog, and I thought it would be fun to break it down for you like I do the book covers.

The blog is called The Lord's Lady: Women Growing in the Word, and it's dedicated to study and meditating on Scripture. I've subscribed and am looking forward to digging deeper into faith with other women who share my heart.

For anyone who doesn't know already, Sandi is a cancer survivor--a miraculous one. A few years ago she was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of T-cell lymphoma. She underwent treatment after treatment, course after course of chemotherapy and radiation that left her body weak and broken. I can't tell you how many times I got an email saying she'd ended up in the hospital again. Then we thought she was on the mend...that the treatments had worked...that healing had come--only to learn from a Good Friday MRI that she had 5 new tumors.

Sandi knew she wouldn't survive another round of chemo or radiation. She knew that she couldn't turn into that shell again, the one that couldn't get off the couch to take care of her young children. So when the Lord whispered that she should try the natural route, she obeyed, and asked others to step out in faith with her. I joyfully joined the prayers for my dear friend, believing with her that this would work.

Her cancer has been in remission for 2 years now, thanks to faith and vitamin B17. And though Sandi has had a hard time getting back to writing novels, she wants to pour her heart into this blog, and I'm so excited to join in.

So. The header. =) Sandi emailed with details on exactly what she was looking for. A medieval looking woman in the foreground, most of her face not visible. She wanted her to be cradling a sword in her lap. Reverently, almost tenderly. And in the background, a castle.

Armed with those instructions, I went on the hunt for images. I came back with a few possibilities.
The one on the bottom wasn't holding a sword, of course, but we both liked the lighting and the soft look of her, so she won.

Which meant I had my work cut out for me, LOL. I started, as always, by deleting her background.

I played around a bit to figure out how to input a sword--first trying to have her holding it out before her, in her lap, like Sandi originally envisioned, but the sword got lost against the pale background of the model's dress. So Sandi said, "Can she be holding it up like the woman in the other picture?"

Could she? Hmm. I thought I could get it close. So I chose a medieval sword that I could use for free from Wikimedia Commons:
And then I posed the model by copying her arm, rotating it, and filling in the empty space it created with her veil.
The hand here isn't perfect, but I knew it would be covered up once I put the sword into place.
As you can see, the sword stands out far too much...and looks she's just balancing it on one hand. The image would be cropped to fit on the header, but I still needed to do some playing. I ended up up cutting and pasting the part of the sword that goes off to the left and then changing its opacity so that it looked like the veil was overtop it, and thereby meeting up with her invisible right right.

I also adjusted the color balance on the sword layer, yellowing it to give me the same lighting effect as the model.

And for fun...a little gleam on the blade.
Well, that was the hard part! Next was filling in her background. I found a free image of a castle. There were a ton, but I picked one that looked fairy tale pretty.
Chateau Sully sur Loire
Then, of course, I deleted the background and changed the color balance to match the buttery tones of the rest of the picture.
Isn't that pretty as a picture? ;-)

Now to put the two together. I did a simple blue-gray for sky (adding some low-opacity white for clouds) and green for the ground and plopped them together.
Believe it or not, we're almost there. ;-) I chose a texture layer to put overtop the whole thing. I wanted something that conveyed light and flame, so I went with this one.
Taking it down to 75% opacity and choosing Lighten as my blending mode, we end up with this.
 I want a bit more detail though...a pattern to add into the corner. I waste some time looking for medieval symbols or engravings, and eventually find, of all things, a free vector with tattoo designs, LOL. In that package I found a fun cross-in-a-circle that hit the right note. So I add that in.
Now all that's left are the words! I tried a few arrangements and colors, before Sandi said "This arrangement, but how about burgundy? Which was perfect. She also requested that I link the letters together, so voila.
We added the subtitle, and there we have it! I put all those elements together, and we have our lovely final product, ready to be the header on a blog I know will touch hearts.
http://thelordslady2.blogspot.com/

Check out Sandi's blog at: http://thelordslady2.blogspot.com/ !!!!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Digital is Available for Pre-Order!

I'm interrupting my normal schedule for a special announcement:

The Kindle Version of A Soft Breath of Wind 
Is Available for Pre-Order!! 


Woot!

Fun stuff. =) Hopefully Nook version is soon to follow.

Okay, back to your Monday. Today begins our first full week of school, plus I'm doing revisions on The Lost Heiress, so forgive me for not posting anything else today, LOL.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Being 32

It's my birthday! And yes, I claim my age. I'm 32. Not 29-for-the-4rd-time. Just plain ol' 32.
Okay, okay, so I was still 31 when this picture was taken...
but it's recent. That'll just have to do.

The funny thing is, I still feel like one of the "super young" crowd...perhaps because I'm working in an industry where I belong to the new generation. Many of my writing friends are closer to my parents' age than mine, and as an editor, I've yet to work with anyone younger than me, LOL. I occasionally wonder that these awesome people take me seriously, but they do, because they're awesome. ;-)

But as another year rolls by and I spend my days working on edits for my books and delving into a new one, I find myself thinking about my characters, and where they were/will be at the same age I'm now at.

My thoughts went first to Abigail, from A Stray Drop of Blood. At 32, she had given birth to six children. Had adopted one, had lost one. When Abigail was 32, her adopted son, Samuel, was already 23. Her firstborn, Benjamin, was 17.

My kids are 8 and 6. I can't quite imagine, in my life, having kids that are already 23 and 17! Kids who are dealing with going out into the world and making their own life, rather than building things out of blocks and coloring pictures. Abigail, at my age, was ready to be a grandmother.

In some ways, I still feel more like those kids. ;-) A modern 32 is more like that 23 or 17, compared to the Biblical days. My family is still young, my life's work still in its infancy. I'm more like Samuel, following his calling toward a life as a healer. Like Benjamin, still finding his footing in the world.

My heroine in A Soft Breath of Wind is only 18 through most of the book (and considered well past the age when a young woman should have been married). Brook, in The Lost Heiress, is 18-19 too. Solely because those are the ages they need to be for these stories, the ages when they come into their own. The heroine I'm working on now, Lady Augusta Kinnaird of the Highlands, is 20.

Maybe it's spending my days in the heads of these young women that makes me still feel like a youngster, LOL. Who knows. But as I set out on another year full of stories and words and history, full of designs and marketing and homeschooling, I know I'm so blessed to be where I am. So blessed to get to do what I love. So blessed to be surrounded by family.

Yep, I'm still claiming my age--and claiming that 32 is going to better than any year that's come before. And that requires some doing. ;-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Team Roseanna - Sale Postables

Yeah, sure, let's make up a word. Postables. By my definition, those are things you can post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.

If you missed the post last week, I asked for volunteers for Team Roseanna to help me spread the word about the sale on A Stray Drop of Blood. You can view that post here. As promised, here are graphics, tweetables, links, and more! Please feel free to grab anything you want, and thank you so much for helping me spread the word!

The sale begins TOMORROW, on August 14--which just so happens to be my 32nd birthday. It wasn't planned that way, but it was a God-wink moment (waving at Faith F.) when I got the schedule for WhiteFire's summer sales and saw that. =) If you would post beginning tomorrow and then throughout the weekend as you feel led, that would be incredibly awesome! Thanks!

Tweetables

#Sale! #AStrayDropofBlood by @RoseannaMWhite is only #99¢ for the weekend! http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

#BiblicalFiction by @RoseannaMWhite is on #sale for #99¢! http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

"Haunts you centuries beyond the last page." #AStrayDropofBlood by @RoseannaMWhite is only #99¢ for the weekend! http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

One little drop to soil her garment. One little drop to cleanse her soul. #AStrayDropofBlood is only #99¢ http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

Facebookables
(My Facebook profile name varies slightly from my Twitter handle)


#Sale! #AStrayDropofBlood by @RoseannaWhite is only #99¢ for the weekend! http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

#BiblicalFiction by @RoseannaWhite is on #sale for #99¢! http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

"Haunts you centuries beyond the last page." #AStrayDropofBlood by @RoseannaWhite is only #99¢ for the weekend! http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

One little drop to soil her garment. One little drop to cleanse her soul. #AStrayDropofBlood is only #99¢ http://bit.ly/StrayDrop

Links

Full Kindle Link: 


Short Link (Bitly):

Make it Your Own!

Don't feel obligated to use those exactly! If you've read A Stray Drop of Blood and would rather give a snippet of your opinion, that's even better. =D (Well, assuming your opinion of it is good. I'm going to assume that, otherwise you wouldn't be here helping me, LOL.)

Graphics


Monday, August 11, 2014

Word of the Week - Profanity & Cursing

 An always-hot topic in Christian writing circles is the use of foul language. Is it ever okay in Christian fiction? Some words? What about others? Why or why not?

I have my own opinions on such things--namely, I don't use "bad language" but see no point in getting up in arms about those who do--but I find some of the distinctions very interesting.

What I definitely take issue with is profanity. Profane comes directly from the Latin profanus, which means "unholy." Profanity obviously is taken from profane, and it speaks directly to abusing/misusing the name of the Lord. So your average expletive is not profanity. And in fact, the original English translations of the Bible include words that today's Christians would probably raise a few eyebrows at, LOL.

Expletive just means exclamation...cuss is a variation on curse...

So then I jump to curse, thinking surely that this word will provide some good meaning. But curse has its roots, oddly enough, in, you know, a curse. As in "a prayer that evil will befall one." That's not exactly what modern cursing is either, is it? LOL

Looking at the etymology of these words themselves, it seems that our notion of bad language has just evolved over the centuries. "Rough" or "impolite" terms have slowly taken on the blight of being "bad." From "bad" they have become "cursing and profanity"...though in reality, most of them I've ever heard have nothing to do with actual curses or profaning the name of the Lord.

I still don't say them, because connotation means as much as denotation. But looking at it logically, I think the only things that strictly fall under these definitions are using the Lord's name in vain and wishing somebody be damned. Which, oddly, are two of the more acceptable ones. Oh, the irony...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Are We Slaves?

I've come across it in several places lately. Usually from women. Women who are tired, stressed-out, spread thin, and either at or "recovered from" their breaking points. Women who give and give and give. And who have reached the point where they're now saying, "Tend yourself first. Give yourself time. Then you'll be happier and better able to deal with your family. Take time for you."

Women who say their outlooks were ruined by that old JOY teaching--Jesus, Others, You. That it messed them up. Made them miserable. That it's too cliche, and that it instilled in them this thought that it's wrong to take care of themselves.

I've seen retreats for women all about taking that time for yourself and then emerging better able to tend those around you.

And it all sounds awesome--because yeah, I need "me" time. I need refreshing. I need renewing. I need time now and then away from the constant harangue of "MOMMY!" to focus on the Lord. Still, something about all this bothered me, even as I recognized the value. And I wasn't sure what it was. Then, as I edited WhiteFire's next title to come out next week, No Plan B: Discovering God's Blueprint for Your Life by Nelson Hannah, I started to put my finger on it. It combined in my mind with a sermon my dad recently preached at our church, and with the way my thoughts carried it out.

Everyone needs time of refreshing--I'm not taking issue with that, so please don't think I am. What I'm taking issue with is the attitude that serving others first is self-destructive. That if we do it, we'll be drained. We'll need that time of refreshing, because it takes it out of us. Yes, it does...

...but it shouldn't. Here's why.

We are not our own. We are God's. BUT--we're not slaves. We're not forced to do what he tells us. We're not forced to serve others. And if we think we are...well, that's a problem with our outlook, not with the practice. 

In Biblical days, there were two kinds of "slaves." (1) Slaves--captured or bought and not free to leave, ever. Their children are born slaves. Their children after them. Forever and ever amen. They must do what they're told or else. (2) Bondservants--willingly indentured to someone as a means of paying a debt, but offered their freedom after seven years. Bondservants, when released, were given gifts to assure them the chance to thrive in the world. They took out all they brought in (wives, children). And if they chose to stay out of love for their master, then they were bound by their own will forever to their master's house, giving up that will for their master's.

We are not slaves to God. We are bondservants, through Christ. Do you see the difference in what that means? God doesn't force us to come to him and do his will. But we, if we are Christians, choose it. We choose to forfeit--as in, give up, completely abandon, not just sign over for a certain day or decision--our will to his. We choose to give our whole lives to him. We choose his honor above our own.

We don't do what he instructs us because he said so and that's that--we do it because we love him. Not because we must, but because we desire to please him above all things. He is our Master...but because he loves us, he doesn't keep us in that position of servitude forever. He names us heirs. We still serve, yes, just as the disciples did, as Jesus himself did--but we don't serve as slaves. As bonservants, we have been given an inheritance (this happened frequently in Old Testament days especially--when no heir by blood was found, the most trusted servant would inherit).

We are not slaves. We are not slaves. We are not slaves. We do not have to serve others. But if we think we do...if we think it's compulsory...if we think God's standing there with a taskmaster's whip pointed at us, saying, "Go feed the hungry--now. Go make dinner for your kids--now. Go serve on all those committees at church--now." Well then, obviously we're going to get worn down. Worn out. Frayed. More, we're going to get resentful, because who likes to be treated like that? There's a reason slaves have revolted throughout history.

And there's a reason bondservants haven't. Because they chose their path. And they kept to it out of love. 

I love my Master, my Abba God. I want to please him. I want to listen to his voice above the whining of my own mind, above the limitations of my body. I want to put aside my fickle, foolish will and rely on his instead. I want to let go of the idea that I can do whatever I want and instead do what he tells me--he's so much wiser than I am! And I want the assurance that it doesn't matter if I'm weak...if I'm tired...if I'm burned out...if I don't have enough time...if I just can't.

I don't have to. That's the other brilliant epiphany of No Plan B. Even Jesus didn't do what he did under his own power. Not his human power, and not his power as God. If he had, it would mean nothing to us. Because our human bodies are limited, and we can never be God. If Jesus had acted from that, we couldn't be like him. But his every miracle was done through the Holy Spirit--whom he has imparted to us.

When I'm too tired to soothe one more tear, all I have to do is let the Spirit minister through me...and let me tell you from experience, when you do that, he ministers to you as well. When I'm at my wit's end, I don't need to rely anymore on my own mind--all I have to do is rely on his wisdom.

I chose to give my life, my heart, my will, my path, my every day, to the Lord. I chose to sign over my body, soul, and spirit to him. That means it's not just me inside me anymore. It's the Holy Spirit. He fills me. And if I just let him, he'll act through me. Speak through me. Fill me.

Fill me.

How can I say I'm worn out, if I'm operating under his strength? How can I say I feel drained, if I have the Lord of Hosts inside me? How can I say I can't, that I'm not, when I'm the daughter of I AM?

Yes, we need those times of renewal to focus on Him. He wants that for us, he gives that to us...as a gift. But no, we shouldn't ever "put ourselves first." Because we willingly gave that up when we accepted the Lord as our Lord. And frankly, it's thinking we should or can that makes us so unhappy. So when I'm feeling tired, weak, worn out, and discouraged, I'm not going to think I need... Instead, I'm going to crawl up into the lap of my Abba and let him take care of it. I don't need to go away. I don't need to focus on me. 

I need to focus on him.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Book Cover Creation - Gathered Waters by Cara Luecht

I figured we were due for a cover design post. =) And since I've working on one of those this week, now seemed a fine time.

This time around, I'm working on a cover for the second book by one of WhiteFire's authors, Cara Luecht. This book is set to come out early 2015; we're in the editing process now, and since we like to have covers well in advance, we got to work on that side of things too. Cara knew what she was looking for in this cover, which always makes my job easier. She wanted a heroine in profile, at the top of the page, with her head only partially visible. She wanted her holding something. She wanted the title in the center of the page, and a scene that ties in with the book below.

So. I started by looking for good images of her heroine, Brianna. Brianna lives in Sweden in 1885; she has blond hair, which would have been worn up, and she would obviously be decked out in the fashions of the day. The story follows some of the first Baptists in Sweden from their home, where they were persecuted, to America. Based on the author's family history, Gathered Waters isn't just about religious freedom, though--it's about a woman's journey to finding who she is, what she's called to do, in a world that would keep her in a narrow definition. Brianna has to find the strength and faith within her own heart to undergo this journey.

When looking for a good picture of a historical heroine--as in, one with her hair up--I've discovered that it's often handy to look up photos of brides. That's where I began. I searched for "blond bride profile," and I found our Brianna.
I loved the hairstyle, I liked the way she was standing, and she was holding flowers, which would work well for me...sort of. Rather than carrying a bouquet, I wanted her to be holding a single tulip. But this lovely young lady got me started.

The next step was to flip her around and delete everything I didn't need.
Obviously, deleting her dress leaves her with a floating arm, but that's okay. I knew I was going to put some historical garb on her. I found some great, free images of 1880 clothing in profile. This is the one we decided on.
Putting the two together was a pretty simple matter of cut and paste...except for that arm.
Pretty funny, right? I know it gave me a giggle to have the arm sprouting from her stomach--but I knew the waist down would be faded out, so I could copy and paste the sleeve into the right place. First though, I had to deal with the color. While I really like the original color of the dress, the title wouldn't show up well against it, so I wanted it to be white.

I've tried a lot of different ways of altering color, but for this one, since I was going white but wanted to preserve the shadows, the way to do it was to go up to Image / Adjustment / Levels.
Now that I had the dress the color I wanted, I worked on the sleeve. I basically just copied that portion of the image, pasted it, rotated it, and deleted the parts I didn't want. Because the sleeve is large and stiff at the wrist, it covered the arm beautifully, with no need to convince it. And because the image would be faded out, you can't see where the elbow folds would have been.

In the image above, I've also already added another touch I wanted--the color in the collar and buttons. To get that, I just pasted the original dress image overtop and deleted everything but collar and buttons, which were gold to begin with. I like the contrast this achieved.

I also already adjusted her hand a bit--because she was holding a large bouquet, her fingers were spread. To make her hold a single tulip, her fingers needed to be curled tight. So I just deleted the extra length of finger, careful to "trim" it around the knuckles.

So next comes the tulip. I found a picture of white tulips for free.
I copied a flower. I copied a leaf. I used the Warp feature to bend it a bit. Put it in her hand. And voila.
So there's the top of the book. Now for the bottom. I was thrilled to find this gorgeous picture of a Swedish stream in winter. The water, the snow, the daybreak all play critical roles in the story, and the lighting here was just breathtaking. I am, as I've no doubt said before, a sucker for good lighting.
Isn't it lovely?? Now, if I were to just plop it down, it would look like this.
Of course, I faded the bottom layer too:
We're getting there! But I didn't want a white background behind Brianna. So I instead made it a soft yellow and then added some lighting effects.
Muuuuuch better, right? I like how the colors play off each other now, and it's starting to feel more harmonious. But I don't just want a smooth texture like that. Upon giving it some thought, I decided a frost or snowflake texture would be cool. At first I think blue would be nice. So I decide on this.
 I try putting it over my cover, fading the opacity to 40%.
Which, um, no. Isn't what I'm going for. I don't like how the cyan blue works with the golds. BUT--I've learned that you can adjust layers in many different ways. Rather than keep this one "normal," I choose "divide" in the tab on my toolbar, and suddenly I have exactly what I'm looking for.
Isn't that texture nice?! I love it. So now for the words. I opt for the simple elegance of SnellRoundhand Script for my font. I decide to make the two beginning letters larger than the rest and line them up. Tossing in a simple divider and Cara's name, I get this.
I really like this...mostly. But I'd rather, if the G and W are going to cross, that they actually join. I love the harmony of it when letters join up on a cover. So I rasterize those layers so that I can alter the font and create a loop. Like so.
Isn't that cool? =) So then I just put it onto the cover, and there we have it! The final!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wanna Be on Team Roseanna?

I was so, so touched last week by the huge number of you guys who contacted me about helping out with A Soft Breath of Wind. I ended up with more beta readers than I could have dreamed, and exactly the number of influencers I was hoping for. Thank you, so, so much!

And so I thought I'd put out another call--this one isn't so much work. ;-) Next week, from Thursday August 14 through Sunday August 17, A Stray Drop of Blood will be on sale on Kindle for $0.99. This marks the second occasion when it's been on sale in all its long life, and I need some help spreading the word.

Now, as fate would have it, the sale begins on my birthday. I didn't plan it that way--I turned in a list of titles we'd be running sales on, and the ad coordinator assigned the dates. But that's what we call a happy accident. =) And I can think of no better gift for turning 32 than A Stray Drop of Blood having a weekend of superb sales!

If you'd be willing to help me spread the word next week, I would be eternally grateful. I'll be posting Tweets you can copy right in or retweet from my feed, and also Facebook posts. I'll have graphics and memes and photos you can post (like the one above). I'll create a variety so that those who want to participate can post a couple times during the sale without it being the same thing over and over again.

If you want to help, you can do two things: check back here next Wednesday for tweetables and graphics, and/or ask for an email reminder. I know I have a hard time remembering when to post this sort of thing unless I get a reminder! So if you would like to be added to my list of folks to email the graphics and posts to, just shoot me a note at roseanna at roseannawhite dot com --if that address doesn't work for some reason, try roseannamwhite at gmail dot com.

Thanks so much for all your support, everyone!!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Word of the Week - Hi

Hi is one of those greetings that feels new to me, and which I usually avoid entirely in my historicals...though I've seen it in a few others. And so, I look it up.

It isn't quite as new as I'd thought--as a greeting like it's used today, hi is from 1862 (though let it be noted it's American English from then, not British). The first recorded reference is from the speech of a Kansas Indian.

It traces its roots further back, though. As a shout to gain attention (so not just a substitute for hello or good day), it's from the 15th century, as a variation of hey.

On another note, today is the last day to enter the giveaway on the Harvest House blog to win Circle of Spies! Hop over to read my guest post about the Culper Ring and enter to win! Click Here


Cylist photo credit: -Jeffrey- via photopin