Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas ~ See You in the New Year!

I'm wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas! I'll be taking a break from blogging, but I'll be back on January 2 ... with some fun. That will be release day for A Song Unheard, so in usual Writing Roseanna fashion, I'll be celebrating with a big giveaway! Be sure to check in then to get in on the fun.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the time with friends and/or family. Here's wishing you a holiday season filled with joy, and much time for reading. ;-)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Thoughtful Guest Post by Mesu Andrews

Today I'm happy to welcome my friend and fellow biblical fiction writer Mesu Andrew to the blog, with a very special post. To go along with her upcoming release, Isaiah's Daughter, Mesu has written a small devotional that is available as a free download to anyone who pre-orders her novel! And she's here today to share one of those 14 it's very appropriate to the season. Please join me in giving Mesu a warm welcome!


Isaiah’s Daughter 14-Day Devotional

Day Twelve

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

~ Isaiah 7:14 ~

Which aspect of Jesus’ birth is most amazing to you?

Christmas print - will be mailed to anyone who pre-orders

I have two daughters and was honored to attend each of their first births. Watching my babies give birth to babies was an amazing privilege but pales in comparison to watching them be mothers. Mothering is not for the faint of heart, and I’ve often pondered the impossible task Jesus’ mother faced. So much intrigues me about her conception, Jesus’ birth, and her life as a mom.
What was it like to create in her womb the God who created her? Was her birth experience more or less terrifying, knowing the Son she bore was God’s own? Instructed to call Him, Immanuel—God with us—how did she parent God?
I’ve heard folks say it would have been easier to believe in God if they’d lived while Jesus walked the earth. I’m not so sure. While we have the benefit of hindsight, Isaiah’s conservative theology might have struggled to embrace God’s Messiah. Even Mary, who lived moment-by-moment with a divine toddler, teenager, and adult Son, remained as confused as His other disciples until the Spirit was given at Pentecost (Mark 3:20-21). Seeing doesn’t always make believing easier. Jesus’ brothers refused to believe He was the Christ (John 7:3-5) until after His death and resurrection. Only then did James believe his Brother had been God With Us, the perfect representation of the Father’s glory.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided purification for sins,
he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
~ Hebrews 1:3 ~
I think many in Jesus’ day discounted Him as the Messiah because He was too common. He wasn’t spectacular in any way.
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. 
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, 
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
~ Isaiah 53:2 ~
What if we—the Ones to whom the indwelling Holy Spirit is available—actually have the easier path to faith. Immanuel dwells through His Spirit in all who believe in Jesus Christ. Perhaps Isaiah would envy us.
[Jesus said to His disciples,]
“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away.
Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you;
but if I go, I will send him to you.”
~ John 16:7 ~
What benefits did the disciples have with a flesh-and-blood Savior that we don’t?
What benefits do we enjoy with the indwelling Spirit that the disciples couldn’t?
Quote card ~ will be mailed to anyone who pre-orders

About the Book

Ishma comes to the prophet Isaiah’s home as a five-year-old orphan, devastated after watching her family destroyed and living as a captive. With tenderness and care, her lively spirit is revived, and the prophet and his wife adopt Ishma, giving her a new name—Zibah, delight of the Lord. As the years pass, Zibah wins Prince Hezekiah’s favor, a boy determined to rebuild the kingdom his father has nearly destroyed. But loving this man awakens Zibah’s painful past and calls into question the very foundation of her father’s prophecies. Can she learn to rely on only Yahweh, who gives life, calms fear, and conquers nations?

Isaiah's Daughter releases January 16, so this pre-order deal is good until the day before! You can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, CBD, Parable, Lifeway, or see the full list of retail affiliates from the publisher.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Word of the Week - Yule

Did you know that  yule and jolly are from the same root? According to some sources, both come from the Old Norse jol (that J would be pronounced like a Y--see my word of the week on the letter J), which was borrowed into Old French as well, as jolif, which originally meant "festive." Modern French now has joli, which means "pretty, nice." And English, of course, has jolly.

But what about this whole "yuletide" idea, meaning Christmas? The yule log? Well, way back in the days of Old English, that Old Norse jol was a heathen feast. As Christianity came in and took over, they applied the English cognate geol to the coordinating Christian festival--Christmas. Old English, you see, already had the word giuli (which sounded very similar)--the Anglo-Saxon name for the winter season (December and January). It wasn't a specific festival, but rather a two-month stretch in which many feasts occurred. But upon conversion to Christianity, the meaning of giuli narrowed to the twelve day feast of the Nativity (beginning Dec 25). By the 11th century, Christmas became the more popular word in most of England, except the northeast.

How did it come back, then? Well, there had always been a few holdouts--evidenced by yule log being recorded in the 1600s. But we're mostly familiar with it today because in the 19th century, writers began using it as a nostalgic way to refer to "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.'"

Today we're exactly a week from the start of the official Yuletide season. I hope you and yours are having a jolly time!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Remember When ~ A Song Unheard Book Trailer!

We're only a few weeks from the official release of A Song Unheard. My copies have arrived, and orders of signed copies from my store are in the mail.

And so, it seemed like the perfect time to share the book trailer! (If for any reason it doesn't work for you here, you can watch it on Vimeo.)

A Song Unheard ~ Book Trailer from WhiteFire TV on Vimeo.

I'm so excited to share this with you!! Here's the scoop on it.

  • A year ago, I ran the Song Unheard Contest, in which people could submit a melody that would become "Willa's Song." My daughter and I chose 3 finalists, and then the public voted on their favorite, and y'all chose the song you hear featured in the video, composed by Jessica Brand.
  • My friend Harry Burchell III graciously saved me some time and transcribed Jessica's beautiful melody into sheet music.
  • The amazing Taylor Bennett performed and recorded said music on the violin.
  • My wonderful English friend and beta reader (who checks my books for Americanisms for me) Elizabeth recorded the voice-over.
  • My awesome husband of WhiteFire Media produced the trailer.

Wow, that's a lot of people who participated and helped me create this! Hence why it's no surprise how much I love it. Thank you to all who submitted songs for the contest or voted on their favorites, and even bigger thanks to those who brought it to life!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! And if it does its job (ahem) and makes you want to rush out and buy the book, you can find it here:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Word of the Week - Carol

Last weekend, my church went to a nursing home (where we visit once a month) and sang carols with the residents. At which point, I realized that I'd never paused to look up the origin of the word!

Carol dates from around 1300, meaning, "a joyful song." It came into being as a noun and a verb at around the same time, the verb meaning "to dance in a ring." Etymologists aren't entirely sure where the word comes from--the English is undoubtedly from the Old French carole, but before that, their best guess is that it's from the Medieval Latin charaula (a dance to the flute), which is in turn from the Greek khoraules (flute player).

By the end of the 1300s, it was being used to mean "to sing with joy or festivity" and was used particularly of joyful Christmas hymns by about 1500 onward.

It took a while, however, for the word to take on the meaning of "go around from place to place and sing Christmas carols." That first appeared in 1879, though it was said at the time to be a revival of an old English custom.

Do you like to go caroling? Is it a traditional in your family or church? 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . Who We Get to Be

I've had several ideas lately for Thoughtful posts. But it seems like every week, I run out of time, and blogging slips down my to-do list until it falls off the edge. =/ So when I pulled up a new post today, I'm not sure why I typed into that title line "Who We Get to Be." But I had no desire to delete it. So let's see where my fingers and my still-sleepy mind take me.

In part, I think my thoughts originated a month ago, with that horrific church shooting. When my husband said on the way home from Bible study, "When are people going to realize that it isn't the guns doing this--it isn't the people doing this. It's the hatred that has such a stranglehold on this country."

Or maybe it's from a post my sister, just a few months away from her last cancer treatment, said on Facebook yesterday:

"We live in a society that seems to focus on the negative... the news, your FB feed, the magazine covers in the check out line...I'm just about in tears as I scroll through FB and read the self hate and the harsh words towards others. So many people are fighting battles every day that we don't know about or see! We can't even imagine the thoughts going through the minds of others and one small kind word or act could make their day or even change their hearts. I'm here to tell you I have experienced more kindness from family, friends and complete strangers in the last few months than I could even imagine. I've had strangers stop me to pray with me on days I really needed it, I had a lady who I rented a condo from for a treatment to tell me if I ever needed to stay there again it would be free, I have a girl who walked the same path and was put into contact with me but doesn't know me send me messages; on days when I seemed to need them the most! Those are just a few examples folks! Can we please spread love and joy instead of negativity?"

Or maybe it's just the continued realization as I type up responses to emails or messages or smile at someone on the street: We get to choose how those people see us. We get to decide what kind of us we're going to be. We get to determine whether we're ruled by bitterness or love.

Hate does have a stranglehold on our nation. Hatred for the president (what happened to respecting the office even if you don't like the man? I didn't vote for Trump. But he's now my president. MY president. Just as Obama was--who I also didn't vote for. Why would I wish any of my presidents failure?? Isn't that then MY failure, as they represent me?). Hatred for whoever believes differently on moral issues (What, you're for/against homosexual marriage? Then you're EVIL! It doesn't matter where your belief comes from, it's different from mine, and therefore you deserve no respect). Hatred  for those who believe differently on political issues (You own guns? When are you going to wake up and realize you're part of the problem? You're for gun control? You might as well stomp on the Constitution!). Hatred for those who say "Happy Holidays." Or who say "Merry Christmas."

We live in a society that has forgotten how to listen. That can't fathom respect. And we, who claim to have the Light of the World living inside us, all too often add to that darkness.

But we get to decide, don't we? We get to decide whether it's words of love or hate that spill from our lips. We get to decide whether we meet bitterness with a smile and a prayer or with bitterness of our own. We get to decide whether we live by love or hatred.

I remember years and years ago, when I was working on the edits for Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland--my first book published with a company other than my own--I had an epiphany as I composed an email in response to some of my editors' suggestions.

I get to decide, right now, what kind of author I'm going to be. I can be the kind that argues and snarls and resents every suggestion--the kind that will make editors groan when they see my name pop up in their inbox. Or I can be the kind that greets suggestions with enthusiasm and goes out of my way to make my editors know I value their opinion. Readers will never know how I interact with my publishing team. But they know. They know, they sense, they talk among themselves. And the kind of author I choose to be with them could likely determine whether they want to work with me in the future.

This is the same in all other aspects of life. In how we deal with our families. With our neighbors. With our churches. With the stranger in the supermarket line. It's true of our online presence. It's true of our in-person presence.

We get to choose. We get to choose who we are. According to the Bible, we get to be new creatures because of what Jesus did for us. We get to leave behind all the darkness and sin. We get to be perfect. We get to be saints. We get to be His.

So why are we still acting like the world?

We get to be joyful. We get to boast in our tribulations and troubles. We get to glory in insufficiency. We get to show the world that God is so much, even when life offers us so little.

We get to be Jesus to those hurting people around us.

What an awe-inspiring title. Not Employee of the Year, Best-Selling Author, Attorney at Law...not Best Mother or Award Winner or Millionaire.

Christ follower.

Sometimes that just blows me away. That we get to be that Light for Him.

We don't just choose to believe. Choose to profess. We have to choose to live it. To be it. And then to watch the world around us change in response.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Word of the Week - Wassail

We've all heard "wassailing" in some of the old Christmas songs. And you probably have an awareness (vague or otherwise) of wassail being a drink. But if you're anything like me (before I had to research it for a book a few years ago), that's the extent of your knowledge. ;-) Which of course makes it a perfect Word of the Week during this Advent season!

Wassail is from the Old Norse ves heill, which literally means "be healthy." It was first a salutation and then became a sort of drinking salute among the Danes in England, which then spread to the natives. But 1300, it wasn't only something one said while lifting a glass, but also what was in the glass--particularly spiced ale that was served on Christmas Eve.

By 1600, it had taken on a bit of a "carousing" meaning, which then extended by 1742 to the practice of going house to house on Christmas Eve, caroling and offering the traditional spiced drink. In Colonial America, wassail was traditionally sold by the poor to the rich--an excuse for them to come in and see how the other half lived, and a way for the rich to give alms to the poor.

So this season, if you lift you glass in salute (whatever might be in it), try saying "Wassail!" and see if anyone understands, LOL.