Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Book Cover Design - Beneath the Blackberry Moon


A friend of mine contacted me a while ago about designing a fun project--a novel broken into 3 parts. She wanted them to look cohesive, and yet have something different on each one. To achieve this, we decided that we'd keep the same background image for each cover, and change the figure in the foreground. The compilation title would be large and prominent, with the individual title of each part smaller and lower. There was also a series title to work in, and of course the author name. That's a lot of information to include, but I think we pulled it off. =)

I began, of course, with that background image that would be carried throughout. April explained that "Blackberry Moon" meant something pretty specific to the Native American tribe she was writing about, so I went out in search of a summer field with a full moon glowing over it. I found a series of photos that I really liked.

These were all of a field with a mountain and trees and a full moon, with a beautiful blue coloration that we wanted. But annoyingly, I couldn't find one quite how I wanted it. I needed a big swath of field for my foreground...and a moon that wasn't too obscured by clouds...and we wanted the tree line rather than mountains. So I actually ended up taking 4 different pictures from that series and combining them.
This is mainly used for the up-close grasses.

This I added for the large expanse of sky up above. But the moon wasn't how I wanted it, so...

A different moon. You'll see that there's still a line visible where the new sky hits the old one. I didn't bother fading that out because I knew I was going to add a line of trees. Like so.





April also wanted some glowing fireflies, so I overlaid that...





Strange as it may seem, my next step wasn't to put in the figure, since there was some decision-making to be done there. My next step was actually all the various title elements. I began with the main title, which I wanted in the sky.





I like using a script font for just one word--and for "Beneath" I chose to drop the B down lower than the rest of the word, to frame the "the" and add a nice bit of balance to that "th" at the end. The rest of the title is simple in Georgia font, all caps, with a space between each letter.

Now it was time for the part's title. I had a lot of info to put there. "Part X", the title itself, and somewhere I had to put the series name.





As you can see, I couldn't fit the series title here, but we liked the arrangement. To mirror the main title, I dropped the capital letters of the main words down lower than they'd usually be. I have most of the title here in the script, with only the "Part" part in Georgia. This provides a nice visual balance against the main title.

Behind the words you're seeing a faded out rectangle with a texture laid overtop it. The color matches that lighter cyan beside the moon.

I knew I wanted author name--and as it turned out, series title--in the grass at the bottom.

But the contrast in the grass made it so nothing quite stood out well enough all by itself, so I also had to add some shadow. I think this really helps the name and series title pop. (Look at the bottom)






Now it was time for the people! The girl for this first one turned out to be the hardest. We couldn't find an image we liked on the stock photo sites, so April ended up having a photo shoot with a friend of hers who fit her description. I gave April a few suggestions for the shoot--namely, to make sure she had a full-length image. A solid background would be great but wasn't necessary--and ended up impossible, but that was all right. She came back to me with this (among other images):





Of course, you might notice that this is in daylight, and I need a nighttime image. ;-) But this is something we designers change all the time with our brightness/contrast and color balance options in Photoshop. Had I just plopped her down in the background, she would have looked (roughly) like this.

After altering her coloration, she looked, by herself, like this.

But we still had a bit of an issue. See, the heroine was supposed to be ten to fifteen years younger than the model. April asked if I could do anything to make her look younger.

As people age, bone structure stands out more--young faces are softer, rounder. So I rounded out those awesome cheekbones (sorry, model!), softened the chin, and also smoothed out the area around her eyes.
Which gave us, for part one, this!



Model selection for #2 was easier--we found the guy we wanted:
I just had to add some hair and a moon tattoo, and change the coloration on his clothes slightly, and add a silver armband. Which gave us this.

Part 3 was somewhere between the others in difficulty. April wanted to use this image:

But she wanted the dress brown and the cloak black (given that it's title is, you know, ebony cloak). Her skin had to be darker, as she's of mixed race, and the hair was also wrong, LOL. Which eventually gave us this:



And there we have it! The complete series, which look enough alike that they're obviously part of the same book, but also different enough with the figures that people can tell at a glance it's something new!

Which part do you like best?





Monday, September 28, 2015

Word of the Week - Romance



Romance writers are often looked down upon by those who read "serious literature"--and have generally never even picked up anything labeled "romance," yet judge them anyway. And as much as we romance writers rail against that, it's a tale as old as--well, as popular fiction.

Back--I'm talking way back--in the day, all "serious" work was written in Latin. That would include medical, scientific, philosophical, religious, and political works. But then people started writing more fun stories. Stories of adventure and love, of chivalrous deeds. (If you've read Don Quixote, these are the tales of chivalry that it was mocking.) These stories were meant to be accessible to the common man, so rather than being written in Latin, they were written in the common language.

Now, I daresay everyone has heard the term "romance language." These are the languages descended from Latin (Roman). French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian. Back in these middle-ages days, people would refer to things written in the common languages as "romances." 

In many of the romance languages today, some variation of romance still just means "novel." Not a particular kind of novel, just a novel.

So why did it take on meanings of love in English? Well, we extended the meaning to include the type of story told in common vernacular--a love story. This had become a solid meaning by 1660. By 1800 or so, it could mean "an adventurous quality." It didn't actually mean "a love affair" until 1916! And the term "romance novel" as a whole separate genre is quite new indeed--from 1964.

So really, all these genre snobs need to get off their high horse, because they are reading romances...unless, of course, they only read works written in Latin. ;-)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thoughtful About . . . the Colors of God


What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

This is a thought that's floated to the surface of my mind several times in the last month or so. I look at all the racial tensions . . . I look at all the unrest in the world . . . I look at all the gender issues . . . I look at all the sexual orientation topics . . . I look at all the religions . . .

And it begs the question: how can a species so very diverse, so very discordant, so very dissimilar be made, as a whole, in the image of God?

And then the answer sneaks its way into my heart. Quietly, stealthily, like mist over the mountain.

When God created humanity, He created us with burgeoning potential. In the DNA of those first people was stored the potential for every color of skin. For every variation of hair. For every size, every weight, every look. Beauty and ugliness. Generosity and stinginess. We have the potential for greatness, and for failure.

Some parts of our lives are choices, governed by free will. This is where sin comes in, and that's a rainbow of topics for another post.

But other parts we're born with, and--up until modern history, anyway--that means we're stuck with it. This is where my attention is fixed just now. The rainbow over which we have very little say.

So often we say, "God doesn't see the outside, only the in." There's truth in that . . . and there's lie. God does see the outside. He created it, after all. When I look at my children, I see their hair, their eyes, the shapes of their noses. It's silly to say God doesn't. It's silly, even, to say, "Fine, He sees it, it just doesn't matter."

It does matter. He chose it for us. He chose to make each of us who we are. But here's the thing. He sees it as beautiful.

God loves that rich brown skin He mixed with Heaven's pallet. He loves that bright blond hair that catches the sunlight. He loves the way this group tends toward shorter frames, and the way that one stretches upward and upward. God not only sees the beautiful in each trait, He fashioned us just so. He chose those particular traits for each of us.

When I look at my kids, I see their differences. I see their similarities. And I love it all. I adore Rowyn's dimples. Xoe's bright blue eyes. I wonder what color their hair will end up, and I know it'll be lovely. I delight in how tall my little girl is, how short my son still is. I find it infinitely amusing how one of them will curl up in my lap at every opportunity and the other thinks "hugging" is a one-way activity in which one need only stand there passively. They are different. And they are the same.

We are all different. And we are all the same.

What is the color of God? Black, white, brown, red? Being incorporeal, the answer is, "None of these." He is, in a way, like pure light.

Us? We're darkness. Every time I hear one people group claiming that they matter more than their neighbors, their rivals, their former-oppressors, their enemies, their friends, their allies . . . something inside me just weeps. We take our differences and we glory in them. Or we hate them. We say they don't matter. Or we say they're the most important thing.

We miss the point.

Our differences are. And they are beautiful.

Our differences are. But they're not all.

What is the color of God? Is He black, white, brown, or red? He is none of these. But He is more than that.

He is all of these.  God is, in a way, like pure light. Containing every color, even those beyond what our eyes can see.

And I just pray I can see through His eyes. Not beyond our races or genders. Including them. Because difference is a part of us. And that's an amazing thing.





Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Remember When . . . The Island Was Isolated?

Gracious, my blogging has been sporadic! Sorry about that, all. I came home from vacation and was completely swamped by work. A good thing, but I kept totally spacing what day of the week it was and what that meant concerning blogs. ;-)



But this being me, you can rest assured I spent my vacation being geeky and collecting history books about the Outer Banks. I found myself wondering as we drove along what the islands would have been like before the big bridge was built to connect them to the mainland. Where did they get their fresh water? (Cisterns and desalination shacks.) When did electricity arrive? (The 1940s!!!)

Well, I found so many interesting tales! One of my favorites was from the antebellum days, when the Outer Banks were an oft-forgotten outpost occasionally used, even then, as a resort. One young man told a tale of arriving on the island by boat for a stay at the hotel in Kitty Hawk. He describes with awe the great sand dunes he has to hike over to get to his lodging--the most sand he had ever seen in his life, and it went all the way up to his ankles while he walked.

He and the other guests found charming the laid-back island atmosphere...which wasn't so laid back when it came to meals. Being a sophisticated fellow, he was accustomed to supper being served at 8 o'clock or even later, but not so on the island. It was served at 6, and if you missed it, sorry 'bout your luck.

Houses on the island never had cellars, but what I hadn't realized was that early ones didn't have ceilings either. All the rafters were open, which this guest found lovely and pleasant when it was a matter of the frangrant breezes whispering to him...but when the wind kicked up, it would blow sand straight into the houses, filling beds, bowls, mouths, eyelids...

That's one part of history I'm happy to leave in the past, LOL.

Most of the gentleman who came to the islands did so for the duck hunting. And most residents of the island made their living from catering to these rich folks, or from hunting and fishing and selling it to New York or Philadelphia. So it was a huge setback to island life when a law was passed in the 1920s that severely restricted hunting. This was also near the time when the government first talked of making it a national park--and so, to preserve it, they constructed beach-side sand dunes to keep the island were it was.

The problem for locals? With the dunes came a law that animals were no longer allowed to run free. As a small, insular community, islanders had to be pretty self-sufficient, which meant keeping chickens, cows, pigs, etc. But it's not exactly fabulous pasture around there, so everyone let their livestock run free until this point--and were none too happy about this whole "park" idea when it began interfering with even their most basic way of life.

But the idea got derailed anyway. At one point after WWII they even saw oil prospectors arrive...but who found nothing. The park service did eventually turn part of the island into a wildlife preserve, and like people everywhere, the islanders adapted to the times as they changed. Eventually it was rediscovered as a vacation spot, and now, driving through the bustling towns of Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, and Kill Devil Hills, you can't see so much as a glimpse of the island's beginnings.

But it's there, hidden in the more out-of-the-way places. Still whispering on those sea breezes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Winner!


My big giveaway has ended! Thank you so much to all the many people who entered, and who showed such enthusiasm along the way! The launch of The Lost Heiress has been so incredibly fun, and so rewarding to see it climbing the Amazon ranks. =)

Now, without further ado. The winner of Brook's Treasures is...

Rebecca Sullivan Dewey!

If you didn't win, don't worry! You still have time to enter the Taste of Nobility Giveaway that Bethany House put together.

And if anyone is just desperate for Brook's necklace, drop me a note at roseannamwhite at gmail dot com and I'll give you a quote. ;-)

Thank you, everyone, for all your support these last two weeks as Brook began her journey into the world! Now, go have a minute of fun with this cool little quiz that Bethany House put together. Find out which of their September heroines you are! Take the Quiz





(I was actually Brook! Kinda surprised me, though my husband insisted I subconsciously skewed the results, LOL)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Word of the Week - Surf

Back from vacation, but not quite ready to let go. ;-) And so, today's word of the week will bring us a bit of the beach...


Surf began its life as a noun meaning "waves coming ashore" in about 1680, though it was quite likely a variation on suffe, from the 1590s. Where did it come from? No one's quite sure. But it was originally used to describe the coast of India, so speculation points to it being borrowed from an Indic word. It could also be a variation of sough, which means "a rushing sound," which is an Old English word.

The verb meaning "to ride the crest of a wave" dates from 1917. Surfing as an activity and surfer both date from 1955. And of course, the internet usage is first recorded from 1993.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Remembering 9/11

This is a repost--many times over--but a bit of a tradition. During this week when I've been so focused on promoting and marketing a new book, it seems vital to pause to remember a day that changed all our lives forever.

I remembering thinking on September 12, 2001, "What stories are going to matter now? How will they ever look anything but trivial?" But we always need stories. Mine, however, may have changed a bit after that day. Because suddenly it wasn't just an academic idea anymore that life can change in an instant. That enemies lurked. But that even in that darkness, God is still there. A theme you'll find in much of my writing.

In this piece, published by a local newspaper that week, you'll see I pray that this would wake us up to recognize, and stop tolerating, evil. Looking at the world today, I fear we've fallen back into a slumber, since it isn't our buildings tumbling today.

But it's the Church. Today, I pray this same prayer again.


To my Brother, the Stranger
(written on 9/12/01)

I did not know you.  I never met you.  If I had seen you, you would have been simply a face in the crowd.  My thoughts never touched upon the possibility of your existence.

And yet. . .
And yet when I heard of the tragedy of losing you, you were suddenly my brother, my sister, my best friend.  You were the comrade I never had the opportunity to meet, the face I could sketch simply because of how many faces you are.  And every time I open my mind, it is to realize anew that you were a person, you were loved, and now you’re gone.
It’s a shock I never expected to feel, a pain no man, woman, or child should ever have to endure.  And I did not know you.  How much worse must it be for the widows, the orphans, the childless parents, the brotherless sisters that were made on that day?  How much worse again for those who yet know nothing about the fate of those dearest to them?
It is a pain no one should have to gaze on, much less be consumed by.  It is a piercing that should quickly tear down all barriers until there is nothing left but a shaken humanity, a resolved people, a united nation.  It should induce the best in man when he looks at evil, when he sees the dancing in his enemy’s camps.  It should make him realize that the sickness he feels, the death he sees is a presence to be ignored no longer.
I pray that somehow this change in our lives will be used in a way to make us better.  I pray that as I walk down the streets of my untouched city I never forget that it could be gone in a moment.  I pray that as I pass a stranger I remember to remember that he is not a stranger to someone.  I pray that soon all our fears are exhausted and we are left instead with hope.  And I pray that we never take for granted the greatness of our nation, lest through our disregard it lose that thing that sets us apart.
I can never say the right words to those who are grieving, because there are no words to be said.  I did not know you.  I never met you.  All I can offer you is the love of a face you have never seen and the prayers of a heart that is reaching across the miles to the strangers it now calls brothers.
May God enfold us in His arms until the terror goes away.  May He settle his peace over us until the rivers of tears run dry.  May He comfort us until we become victorious.  And may we never forget that it is He who will lift us from the mire.  Today America has united in common anguish.  Tomorrow we will rejoice in justice.  And all the world will know that this is a nation that God has blessed and will never forsake.  Let us be the first to proclaim that.
To my Brother, the Stranger
(written on 9/12/01)

I did not know you.  I never met you.  If I had seen you, you would have been simply a face in the crowd.  My thoughts never touched upon the possibility of your existence.

And yet. . .
And yet when I heard of the tragedy of losing you, you were suddenly my brother, my sister, my best friend.  You were the comrade I never had the opportunity to meet, the face I could sketch simply because of how many faces you are.  And every time I open my mind, it is to realize anew that you were a person, you were loved, and now you’re gone.
It’s a shock I never expected to feel, a pain no man, woman, or child should ever have to endure.  And I did not know you.  How much worse must it be for the widows, the orphans, the childless parents, the brotherless sisters that were made on that day?  How much worse again for those who yet know nothing about the fate of those dearest to them?
It is a pain no one should have to gaze on, much less be consumed by.  It is a piercing that should quickly tear down all barriers until there is nothing left but a shaken humanity, a resolved people, a united nation.  It should induce the best in man when he looks at evil, when he sees the dancing in his enemy’s camps.  It should make him realize that the sickness he feels, the death he sees is a presence to be ignored no longer.
I pray that somehow this change in our lives will be used in a way to make us better.  I pray that as I walk down the streets of my untouched city I never forget that it could be gone in a moment.  I pray that as I pass a stranger I remember to remember that he is not a stranger to someone.  I pray that soon all our fears are exhausted and we are left instead with hope.  And I pray that we never take for granted the greatness of our nation, lest through our disregard it lose that thing that sets us apart.
I can never say the right words to those who are grieving, because there are no words to be said.  I did not know you.  I never met you.  All I can offer you is the love of a face you have never seen and the prayers of a heart that is reaching across the miles to the strangers it now calls brothers.
May God enfold us in His arms until the terror goes away.  May He settle his peace over us until the rivers of tears run dry.  May He comfort us until we become victorious.  And may we never forget that it is He who will lift us from the mire.  Today America has united in common anguish.  Tomorrow we will rejoice in justice.  And all the world will know that this is a nation that God has blessed and will never forsake.  Let us be the first to proclaim that.
- See more at: http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/2011/09/reality-union-hope-from-911.html#sthash.cODtO3eq.dpuf

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Lost Heiress

Sorry my blogging is a bit sporadic right now. I'm on vacation (woot!), and dealing with launch stuff for The Lost Heiress (woot, woot!). But I wanted to let everyone know about some of the giveaways running right now.

A Taste of Nobility Giveaway

https://promosimple.com/ps/8056
This spectacular giveaway is sponsored by Bethany House, and so cool that I told them I was going to create a fake identity so I could enter it too. ;-) There will be two winners, one of the coffee package and one of the tea package. Hurry over and enter!



http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com/p/brooks-treasures-giveaway.html
My big giveaway, featuring coffee, chocolate, a CD, two books (one of which is mine), a journal, a secrets box, and Brook's necklace. Enter here

 A fabulous site for lovers of Christian historical fiction, and a really fun interview too! A signed copy of The Lost Heiress is up for grabs! Enter here

 Another fun interview and chance to win a signed copy! Enter here


Interview and Giveaway at The Engrafted Word
And another fun interview with an attached giveaway! Enter here


An interview we conducted through Messenger (so very chatty), with a giveaway! Enter here 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pray Today!


An impromptu nation-wide Day of Prayer has been called today, to coincide with the funeral of the latest police officer killed. Wherever you are, please join with your neighbors or churches during the 12 EST / 11 CST hour to pray for:

  • Our police officers
  • Our servicemen and women
  • That people would rally against the atrocity that is Planned Parenthood and all it represents
  • Our Christian brethren being persecuted and killed by ISIS

It's time to stop complaining about the way things are and start standing up for change. But the only way to do that is to stand united before our God. To change hearts--beginning with our own.

For anyone in the Cumberland, MD area, my church* will be open between 11:30 and 12:30 for prayer. Come as you can, or get your own group together. At noon, we'll be ringing the bell, as other churches around the nation do the same.

May the sound toll across the land and call His people to their knees for this country.



*My church is located at 14407 Hazen Rd NE, Cumberland. Where Bedford Rd intersects 220, turn onto Smouse's Mill Rd (across from Bedford Rd). First left onto Hazen, and then it' .6 miles down, on the left. White church, red doors.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Lost Heiress - Release Week!!!!

It's release week! Pre-ordered digitals of The Lost Heiress should have downloaded to your devices at midnight today, and pre-ordered paperbacks have already shipped.

SO EXCITING!!! There will be a slew of interviews coming up soon, many with giveaways attached, and I'll link to those as they come up.

But today also marks the launch of my 2-week long MEGA giveaway! There's a special tab for it on my blog, but I'll post about it here too. =) I really love this one--though I gotta say, it's proving quite a temptation to walk by that chocolate and coffee every day and not help myself! ;-)



To celebrate the release of The Lost Heiress, I'm giving away Brook's favorite things! Prizes include:

~ Ghiradelli Sea Salt & Caramel Chocolate
(It sounds Italian, right? Brook treasured things both French and Italian...and related to the sea)

~ Coffee
(Her favorite was espresso, but she would have loved to have Starbucks Via handy)

~ Puccini without Words CD*
(Brook's maman, Collette, earned her fame singing a Puccini aria)

~ Brook's necklace
(handcrafted [and modeled here] by moi)

~ Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman
(by my critique partner, and a story of an adventurous, strong heroine that Brook would have loved!)

~ Signed copy of The Lost Heiress
(Duh.)
~ Collette's Journal*
(Inspired by her secrets...ready for yours)

~ Secrets Box
(Looks like a book on your shelf, but opens to hold your treasures)




Contest will run from September 1 - 15. 


*CD and journal will ship separately.

Void where prohibited. Chance of winning depend on number of entries. Winner will have 1 week to claim prizes before another winner is drawn. Due to shipping costs, only US addresses are eligible.


a Rafflecopter giveaway