Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Remember When . . . The Snows Came?

It's the fourth Wednesday of the month! Which means I'm on Colonial Quills, and today, in light of the 30 inches of snow that fell in the mid-Atlantic this weekend, I'm talking about another time when the snows came...and came...and came.

Hop on over to the CQ to read about how one nasty winter nearly destroyed our chance for peace after the Revolution.

The Winter That Nearly Destroyed Peace 

It was 1783. The Treaty of Paris had been written, peace was a tenuous string between England and America. There was a deadline for getting the document signed, ratified, and returned to France, where Benjamin Franklin was waiting to present it to the English delegates. The hopes and fears of two nations were on the line.

Read the Full Article

Monday, January 25, 2016

Word of the Week - Bedlam



Last week, one of Xoe's vocabulary words was bedlam. And while her book told her what it means, this is my daughter. She also wanted to know where it came from. So naturally, Mama hops over to etymonline.com

And I learned something!

I never had any idea where the word came from, but it's a shortened form of "Bethlehem," apparently. In medieval London there was a priory called "Saint Mary of Bethlehem," which became a hospital in the 1300s, and specifically one for lunatics by 1400. In wills as early as 1440, it was referred to as "Hospital of Saint Mary of Bedlam," or sometimes "Betleem." Bedlam was the most common abbreviation, though...and the place was infamous for its scenes of confusion and madness.

Because of that, bedlam was used for any scene of mad confusion by the 1600s.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thoughtful About . . . Lost Truth

(First, I'd like to apologize for my blog being abandoned this week--we've had internet connectivity issues, and though I thought I posted, it didn't go through, apparently...so those posts will just be saved until next week, LOL.)


In our homeschool Bible reading, we're currently in 2 Chronicles. I sometimes dread reading those Old Testament books to the kids, because I remember Xoe's reaction last time we went through them in a Bible story book. The heartbreak in her eyes as she asked, each time I read a heading about a new king, "Does this one love God?" And all too often having to answer, "No, baby. This one did what was wrong in the eyes of God."

It can be a sad, sad history to read. But this week we got to the story of Josiah in 2 Chronicles 33-34. A king that sought after God. Who tore down the high places. Who had the house of the Lord cleaned and ordered and ready for service.

And I love this part of the story--how in preparing the temple for service again, the priests and Levites found the book of the Law of Moses. In a wall. Where, presumably, it had been hidden to avoid destruction by some devout man of generations past. But when? How long ago? Because no one knew it was there...and worse, no one seemed to know it was missing.

Think of it. The one copy of these words from God himself (presumably, since no one knew what it said anymore, so it isn't as thought it was just the old copy found). THE way to know what God of expected of them.

Gone.
Missing.
Vanished.

Buried under generations of rubble. Under disbelief. Under hatred. Under the constant battle between those who served God and those who sought after Baal. Buried under generations of rubbish.

Then found again. The priest rushed it to King Josiah and read it to him. And Josiah tore his clothes, because he finally realized how wrong they'd all been. He begged God for mercy. He called all the people to come and hear His word. And they came. And they repented. And they rejoiced. They held a Passover for the first time in generations.

In this day and age, in this country, we have the Word of God everywhere. I have a whole shelf full of Bibles. I have a smart phone and a computer with every possible translation available at my fingertips. We have the Word all around us.

But how often is it buried? Buried under generations of rubble. Under disbelief. Under hatred. Under the constant battle between those who serve God and those who serve the world. Buried under generations of rubbish.

The walls covering it now are worse, aren't they? Because they're metaphorical. Invisible. And an invisible enemy is, I have always said, the scariest.

This enemy doesn't need to destroy the physical books...because instead he can distort our understanding of it. How much more effective is that? How many lies does the modern church belief?

God doesn't do that anymore.
 That was only for the first century church.

Or perhaps more specifically.

When God warns against loving money, he's talking to the REALLY rich, not to me.
He doesn't ask ALL of us to give things up.
That warning is for someone else.

We're so quick to read a warning in the New Testament and try to figure out who else it applies to. But I say this--let our first question be, "Lord, am I guilty of this? If so, forgive me--and show me how to fix it."

It took those priests and Levites months to purge the Temple building of years of garbage in 2 Chronicles. Purification isn't a quick process. It took the messengers months to spread the word to the people. But truth spread, and in this case, prevailed.

They tossed out all the trash. They burned it. More--and this is something that struck me as I read it--they ground it all up to dust and scattered that dust to the winds. How's that for symbolic actions?

What's cluttering up our faith these days? What walls have we shoved it into? What idols and trash and abominations have we let pile up in front of it? What Truths are we ignoring?

When we find one, I pray we don't just shove it aside a little...rearranging it. I pray we break it down. Grind it to dust. And scatter it to the wind. I pray we fall to our knees and repent, seek God with a brand new fervor.

I pray we take whatever time is needed to purify ourselves. And to fill our ears with His Truth.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Downton Lovers' Book Giveaway!


With the last season of Downton Abbey now underway, three Bethany House authors have teamed up to bring you the Downton Lovers' Book Giveaway! Three books for 3 winners. Just enter with the Rafflecopter below for a chance at these fun British historicals!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Remember When . . . New Features Were Added?


What a busy week! Last Tuesday I finished Giver of Wonders, which was a fabulous feeling. I'm waiting on a certain something to happen before sharing with you all some certain exciting news...so in the meantime, I've been catching up on some of my design work.

Over the summer I discovered a site where authors post about their projects and the price they'll pay for a cover, then designers compete to make the winning design. It's fun (if unpredictable), and I found some new clients that way...and I also designed a lot of covers that never got used. I really love some of these covers, so that seemed like a waste to me, LOL. So I just launched a new feature on my design website!

Most indie authors have heard of pre-made covers. It's pretty simple. The main design work is done, so they're cheaper than having a cover designed from scratch. But for that cheaper price, you only get very limited customization. Your title, your name, your spine size and back cover copy if it's for paperback. That's it. Further customization can certainly be done, but it'll bump the price back up into the realm of where it would normally be.

My pre-made cover section just went live last night! I don't have all the categories filled out yet, but there are at least a couple in each one. So if you've been considering a cover or just want to browse, feel free to head over to Roseanna White Designs and see what's there! (And yes, I designed a zombie cover. Because, come on, how fun is that??)

If ever you purchase a pre-made cover from me, rest assured it is still unique. I will take them down after purchase, so there's nod anger of someone else running around with YOUR cover, just a different title. ;-)

And I also designed two covers for WhiteFire this week. Watcha think?

Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations is a romantic comedy coming in June from debut author V. Joy Palmer. Think Say Yes to the Dress meets Christian comedy. This girl has some amazing voice going on!


This non-fiction book by Christine Lindsay is the book of her heart--the one in which she shares the struggle of giving up her daughter for adoption, and the long road to healing...and finding each other again. Finding Sarah, Finding Me has sections written by Sarah, her birthdaughter, and other contributors who have been on both side of the adoption story.


Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thoughtful About . . . The Path


In October, my husband David and father went to Bulgaria. Their goal was the refugee camp in Harmanli, on the Turkish/Bulgarian border. Their purpose was to interview Syrian refugees and learn their story.

The result is a short film called Along the Path. Where my passion has always been the written word, my husband is feeling a call toward visual stories. I'm so proud of all he's doing and praying I can support him as he has always supported me in my dreams.

In Along the Path, you'll hear from a variety of refugees at the camp--a few who had only been in Bulgaria a few months. A few who had been there for years and had gone from being refugees to being volunteers who help other refugees. And you'll hear from me, in the studio--my film debut, LOL. (I'm a STAR! Ahem. Cough, cough.)

If you have thirty minutes and wonder what these millions of refugees are experiencing, why they're leaving their homes, and what they expect from the future, I encourage you to watch Along the Path. Hearing what these people have gone through has forever changed my outlook on the situation. I know it will do the same for others.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Remember When . . . Inspiration Arrived in the Mail?



I set a goal for myself this past fall. I'd turned in my final Ladies of the Manor book in September. I'd done my rewrite and revisions on it, turning A Lady Unrivaled in again before Thanksgiving. I hoped to have new projects to work on in the new year. So how to spend those last few weeks of 2015?

I knew my answer--finishing up Giver of Wonders, my biblical novel that is scheduled for release in fall of 2016, to be scheduled around A Lady Unrivaled's release and Christmas. Since, you know, this is a Christmas novel. =D

But this book had given me some trouble. I started writing it in a new-to-me-program about a year ago...and I'm apparently too stuck in my ways for this program to work for me. I got 20,000 words in and stalled. I did absolutely nothing with it for months, while working on my other books. And when I pulled it back out, I just wasn't sure what I was going to do.

So I bucked down. I got in a nice groove. I had to put it aside for a week again when my galleys for The Reluctant Duchess arrived (this is the life of a writer with multiple deadlines, LOL), and then I got back to it again. Slowly but surely, that word count climbed.

But around Christmas, when I'd counted on the joy of the season propelling me forward in this Christmas story...I stalled. I reread what I'd written. And I knew something was missing.

See, my biblicals are...er...intense. They have a spiritual depth that isn't always demanded from my other books. They are where I really explore faith and God and His world that I cant always see beyond mine.

It didn't feel like I was doing that enough in this one. I spent a day talking it out with my critique partner/best friend, Stephanie. With my husband, David. I figured part of it out. Then I sat down one evening with a book I'd ordered, which had just arrived a few days before Christmas. Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra: The Life and Times of the Original Father Christmas.


I'd ordered it on a bit of a whim, thinking, The life and times, huh? That could be handy. I haven't found a ton of research on that online. Wise, wise move on my part. As soon as I started reading this, I knew what I'd been missing. I got a glimpse of the land my characters would live in, the culture surrounding them. I gained a deeper understanding of the political and spiritual climate. I could finally picture the architecture.

And it made all the difference. It only took a few chapters, but reading the words of someone who had walked in the places where my characters would have walked made me realize I'd been lacking some key details. More, showed me part of the depth I'd been missing, that came of a clash between the Greeks and the Christians that was far greater than all my online reading had led me to believe.

My goal had been to finish Giver of Wonders by January 1. Of course, that had been before I knew I had galleys coming on another book, so I extended my deadline by a week to make up for it. And I am so thrilled to report that yesterday, after a marathon 2 hours of quiet while my husband had the kids out and about, in which I somehow managed to write 5,000 words, bringing my day's total up 8,199 (even though I also laid out the interior of a book for press and did homeschool), I got to The End. (I never actually write "the end," but, you know. I got there!) I still need to go back and alter the beginning to match the info I discovered from The Life and Times, but the story is there. Done. 

And I am one happy girl. =)

Monday, January 4, 2016

Sale!

First of all, thanks to all my fabulous readers for sharing about the 1-day-only sale of The Lost Heiress on the 2nd. In unprecedented awesomeness, it skyrocketed to the top of its lists and even cracked the top 100 on all Kindle books! If you heard any strange shouting for joy, that was just me. ;-)

And now that the 1-day-only sale is over, I want to share about another sale, this one for my Culper Ring Series (digital editions). These prices will run until January 31st--your chance to snatch up the whole series for under $5!


Otherwise, it's back to the grind today. School will begin at our kitchen table promptly at 9...and I'm going to use the time until then to work on Giver of Wonders, which is thiiiiiiiiis to "The End"!

See y'all back here soon for some more special stuff I'll be focusing on this week!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Word of the Year - Mine



Every year, I pray for a word. Instead of a resolution, just one word that I can strive for in the year. It doesn't always come. But as I drove home on the last day of 2015, I knew what my word was for 2016.

Mine.

It started as a game with my kids. My husband and I would both latch hold of them, and we'd play a mock tug-of-war game amidst their giggles. "Mine!" I would say, tugging on them. "Mine!" David would argue, pulling them close for a hug. The kids both thought this was hilarious fun.

In the mornings, my son still calls to me three days out of five. He can obviously get up on his own, and he does, often. But some days he sticks to the old tradition of calling out, "Mama!" And I go in, and I gather him up, and I hold him close. "Mine," I often whisper into his ear. "My boy. I love you." When I go in to wake his sister an hour later, I sit down on her bed, run a hand over her hair, and say, "There's my girl. Time to get up, sweetie pie."

It's a part of our family language, this claiming of the ones we love. This Mine.

Yet it touched something deep inside me when my little boy started putting his arms around me, pressing close, and saying, "Mine." It's his way of saying I love you. It's his way of saying, We're a family.

Yesterday, when I asked God what He wanted me to dwell on this year, I imagined arms bigger than Rowyn's, bigger than David's, bigger than the world coming around me. And a voice far deeper whispering in my ear, "Mine."


For they are my people, and I will be their God.


The question of what it means to be His is one that has fueled contemplation and discourse for millennia. I could write a long, long post on my thoughts on the matter here and now.

I'm not going to do that. I'm not going to think about what I know about it already. I'm just going to ask.

What does it mean to belong to God?
How will my daily actions change if, before I do anything, I remember that I am His and He is mine?

My every action, my every reaction should start from that one central point.

I am His.

My speech. My writing. My everything should reflect it.

I am His.

My relationships, my family, my commitments should be kept in their proper places.

I am His.


May 2016 be a year filled with joy and blessing. May its hardships and trials pale in comparison to the love we feel in our Father's arms. May we find peace amidst the turmoil that has its claws in the world, and may we know the path He would have us tread. May He open our eyes to the truths of His Word, of His Spirit. May we understand what He calls us to do.

And may our every act, our every thought be rooted in that most basic truth--that God has wrapped us in His arms and whispered that claim into our ears.

Mine.