Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Book Cover Design - Façade by Pepper Basham



Sometimes authors come to me with very little idea of what they envision for their cover...and other times, they know exactly what they want. Now, knowing exactly what they want can occasionally be difficult, if that "what" is complicated. ;-) But other times, it makes it oh so easy to deliver a cover they love, quickly.

Pepper Basham has come to me several times with a very clear, very doable idea of what her next cover should be--she's done several herself, and she has a great eye for what works. Occasionally she just needs me to handle some of the details.

Such was the case for her WWII novella, Facade.

She knew exactly what she wanted. This model...


...over this background.






Pretty simple. So arranging that and sizing it correctly, we have this.




Not bad from the get-go, right? But Pepper hired me to punch it up a notch, so I figured I'd get punching. 😉 A quick one-two. First, I traded out that blue sky for something a little more interesting--a bit of sunset, golden flare.




Then, of course, I had to tweak the model's coloring and brightness to match.




There was also a little bit of fine-tuning in there. The background image is an original WWII image, so it's a bit grainy. I put a surface blur on it to smooth it out and then fooled with the highlights a bit to reflect my new sun as well.

One more small touch--an airplane. We added one of those to the top corner, tweaking lighting to make it reflect that sunset.



A little bit of work, but honestly, not a whole lot. This one came together very quickly. I was happy with the overall image, so it was time to turn my attention to the fonts. I figured something art deco would look great, so I chose Fragile, which I'd purchased in a package of fun fonts. I decided to keep it simple and put both the title and author name in the same font, separating them with an art deco bar. Then I just added a bit of a filter to the bottom to make those words pop.

And there's our front!


 For the full cover, I used the same background image as the front, with a paper texture overlay. Added on all the type and logos and author info, and voila! Full cover.


What do you think?


About the Book


A reclusive academic
who would do anything to save her brother.


A reluctant spy
willing to risk his life to save the woman who broke his heart.



Olivia Rakes has the unique gift of observation, which suits her well since she prefers her books over the general populace, but when her brother goes MIA over France, Livy’s unique skills and her determination to save her brother force her into a world of espionage, deceit, danger…and the most frightening of all–romance.



Agent Christopher Dawson has never forgotten his childhood friend, and first love, Livy Rakes, but since she broke his heart, he’s avoided seeing her for years…until the search for his best friend brings them both together in the most unlikely of ways.



In a world where war changes the rules of life and love, can Christopher and Livy work together work together to unveil the mascarade before the enemy catches them?


You can also find Façade in the Timeless Love Novella Collection NOW AVAILABLE! (And whose cover I also designed, LOL)


Monday, June 18, 2018

Word of the Week - Wed & Marry


Yesterday was my wedding anniversary--17 years since I first said "I do" to the love of my life. 😀 So naturally, today I thought I'd take a look at the words!

Wed is from Old English weddian, which means "to pledge oneself, vow; to betroth, to marry." This is similar to other Germanic languages' words, and while those other languages still reflect the original in their words today, English is a bit unique. While we retained wed in wedding, most often people today don't say they hope to wed so-and-so--it sounds archaic.

English has instead adopted the French marier as well, giving us two options where other languages have stuck with one. Marry has pretty much the same meaning as wed, and it joined the English language in the 1300s, so it's certainly been around a while.

Kind of interesting to think, though, of how the two have been assigned certain typical functions, right? Like we never ask for a piece of marriage cake. Nor do we look for our marriage gown. And yet we don't exchange wedding vows on the day. We've come to view wedding as the specific event in which we bind ourselves, and marriage as the ongoing state (there's the old-fashioned sounded wedlock for that too, but we don't hear that much anymore, do we?). Which is rather interesting, since its early uses were also just for the ceremony, the initial pledging.


Regardless, I'm looking forward to another year with my husband. If you're married, in what month is your anniversary? I'd never imagined I would be a June bride--I always wanted a December wedding, but the allure of a beach wedding instead drew me away from all my childhood plans, LOL, and I have no regrets! How about you?


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thoughtful About . . . There


We set goals.
We work hard.
We sweat.
We cry.
We bleed.
We tumble down exhausted.
We stretch out our hands, willing our fingers to reach that last . . . single . . . inch.

Did we get there?

There. The end goal. The place we want to be.
There. The thing always just out of reach.
There. The place that, when we think we are there, can slip away the moment we're not looking.

Have you been in that position? Where you think you've gained ground, only to lose it? Or where you feel like you've fallen just short of your goal?

Have you, on the other hand, been resting long and safe in this There, not stretching for another goal when maybe you should be?

I've been giving a lot of thought this last week to my there. My here. Where goals and realities meet and where they clash. What I count a failure and what I count a success, and what's really within my power to change.

And I keep coming back to one simple truth.

There can be anywhere--but it's only a success if I'm in the There where He wants me to be, fully reliant on Him. Sometimes, at least for me, success means taking things for granted. Success means slipping into pride. Success means that I begin to think I can instead of He can. In those moments, success in the world can mean failure in the soul.

Thank you, Lord, for reminding me always that while I'm called to do Your work, I'm not called to do it on my own strength, but through Yours. ONLY through Yours.

What is the There that you're reaching for right now? Is it close? Too far? Are your in a period of straining or a period of rest?

Are you stretching far enough?

And most importantly, are we stretching our hands out only with His?


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summer Reading - AudioBooks!


A couple of weeks ago, I posted a question on Facebook, asking for audiobook recommendations. I thought it would be handy to compile the list I received before they get swallowed by Facebook history and impossible to find. ;-)

I've never been a big audiobook listener. Up until now, I've listened to exactly two full works, and one partial. The two successful ones I listened to while knitting. The partial, I was just trying to get a handle on an accent and the accompanying spelling, so I just needed to compare the two for a few chapters. Which was all I could handle. Because I read fast, and the narrator, while very talented, read s-l-o-w, and I couldn't handle it for long. I am not patient with such things, LOL.

In addition to my impatience, I also am rarely alone in a quiet environment. As in, one without interruptions. It never seemed feasible to really get any good listening in, when interruptions meant having to press a button and then find my place again, rather than just looking up from a page.

But here's the thing. I told myself I was going to exercise more regularly this summer and (hopefully) create a good habit. But I hate exercise. I mean, seriously. It always feels like a time drain, drudgery, useless. I can enjoy walking, but I don't have many places I can walk where I live. So I decided I would have to treat it like folding laundry, one of my other dreaded tasks--give myself something to look forward to. For laundry, that meant a TV show on Netflix or Prime that I picked out, just for me. (Unprecedented in my house, LOL. Usually, if someone hands me the remote, I just turn the set off.)

It worked for laundry. I now actually look forward to folding. I've watched the complete series of White Collar and Gilmore Girls like this, and now I'm just having fun with Say Yes to the Dress. So I've been experimentally using audio books as the same sort of incentive for exercise. And thus far, for the past two weeks, it's been working like a charm!

My first book selection was based mainly on my library's limited Overdrive selection of Christian fiction. They had exactly 11 that were labeled such. Seven of which were Amish fiction, which isn't my preference. Two others of which I've read. That sure narrowed down the choices! So I ended up selecting one I've long wanted to read--have on my shelf, as a matter of fact, in paperback, but never got around to. Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar. I've chatted with Tessa and greatly admire her, but I'd yet to pick up one of her books! Bad, Roseanna!

And it's been amazing. Love it, and I can definitely see why she's such a popular Bib-fic author! But I'll be finishing it up in the next day or two, so it's time to select my next read, hence revisiting the list of recommendations.

Here's what's come in already. I'd love to hear your rec's, if they're not already on there, and just to share these with you in case you're also on the hunt!

I've divided these into genres...though I was working quickly, so if anything is mis-filed, don't sue me. 😉 I didn't divide out YA, and these are a mix of Christian and mainstream titles. I know that listening methods vary, so the links below will take you the book's Goodreads page.




NON-FICTION

Rocket Men by Robert Kurson
Everybody Always by Bob Goff
The Survivor’s Club by Michael Bornstein
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
What If? By Randall Munroe
Josiah’s Fire by Tahni Cullen
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


CONTEMPORARY

Some Wildflower in My Heart by Jamie Langston
A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse
Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter
Elm Creek books by Jennifer Chiaverini
At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal
The White House Chef series (mystery)  by Julie Hyzy
First Responder Series by Loree Lough
Beneath the Surface by Lynn H. Blackburn
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauk
Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
Long Way Gone by Charles Martin
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Her One and Only by Becky Wade


HISTORICAL

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
Bleak Landing by Terrie Todd
Her Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Hidden Affection by Delia Parr
A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Rocky Mountain Oasis by Lynnette Bonner
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand
The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green
Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs
Mine Is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs
Walt Longmire (beware language) by Craig Johnson
The Virtues and Vices of the Old West series by Maggie Brendan
Edenbrooke and Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Hawthorne House series by Kristi Hunter
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate


SPECULATIVE/SUPERNATURAL/SCI-FI/FANTASY

Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
End of Watch by Stephen King
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
The Cloak of Light
City Watch series by Terry Pratchett
The Finishing School series (steampunk) by Gail Carriger
Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo


CHILDREN/FAMILY

The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling


ANYTHING BY...

Dee Henderson
Julie Klassen
Laura Frantz
Tamera Alexander
Mary Conneally
MaryLu Tyndall
Frank Peretti
Jessica Dotta
Sarah Sundin
Dani Pettrey
Joel C. Rosenburg
Valerie Comer
Francine Rivers
Jen Turano
Susan Meissner
Jenn McKinlay
Lynn Cahoon
Becky Wade
Karen Witemeyer
Debra Clopton
Lisa Wingate
Denise Hunter
Rachel Hauk
Kristin Hannah

What is your favorite Audiobook?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Word of the Week - Tootles



This one is a special request from my daughter, who came across it in a book. 😃

So, tootles. Being a 90s tween/teen, I grew up hearing this word as "goodbye" (or maybe it was toodles? Hard to say, as apparently it never appeared in writing, and it has no entry in any dictionary I can find...And my kids, being children of the 2000-10s, think of Toodles as a character on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, so...)

But in fact, tootles is from the 1820s as "a frequentative of toot." Now, first of all, I've never noticed another word described as "a frequentative of." Spellcheck doesn't even think "frequentative" is a word, LOL. But it just means exactly what you'd think--"when it happens frequently." So tootle is when you toot frequently upon a horn or flute, for example.

Interestingly, and the use that grabbed my daughter's attention, is that it later came to mean "to drive or move along in a leisurely fashion." I can't find a particular date on when that came into use, but she had encountered a sentence where the characters were tootling along in their car, which apparently struck her as hilarious.

So there we have it! Happy Monday!


Friday, June 8, 2018

Fridays from the Archives - When We're Pressed


Today I'm not looking back very far . . . just two years, to a post I wrote after one of my dad's sermons inspired me. In another recent sermon, he just said one sentence that brought this to mind again, and I was thinking once more about this idea. It's a good one, one I know I need to remember, always, so I thought I'd share it again.

Because let's face it. Those hard times, the times that press us, never go away...



Life is hard. So often we feel pressure. People are pushing us. Prodding us. Poking us. Sometimes, when circumstances are weighing heavy, we get that tight feeling in our chest, right? Or in our stomach. Stress. Overwhelm.

We get tired.

We get frustrated.

We react.

But how do we react? Or the better question, how should we?

In his sermon last weekend, my dad used this analogy, and it really struck me. Take an orange and squeeze it, press it--what do you get? Orange juice. Not apple juice. Not grape juice.

Take a sponge and squeeze it, and what do you get? Whatever liquid it has soaked up.

Take a plant and press it, and what comes out? The oils or fluids from inside the plant.

Now, take a piece of rotten fruit and squeeze it, and what comes out? Rot. Decay. Stench.

Getting the picture? When pressed, what comes out of a thing? What's inside it.

So let's take that back to us. What comes out of us when we're pressed? (Yes, the comedian in me said, "Blood and gross-squishy-red-stuff." [Bonus points if you get the Phineas and Ferb reference.] But let's be serious, LOL.)

What comes out is what's within. So if we're frustrated, that frustration comes out. If we're unhappy, we spew unhappiness. If we're bitter, that bile is just going to come oozing out of our mouths. But is that all that's inside us, even when we're not at our best?

When we're people of faith, there is always Something else inside us. Someone else. The Holy Spirit lives here. He's inside me. Jesus is inside me. So with them, what else is inside me?

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness.

When we're pressed, squeezed, put under pressure, when we're poked, prodded, and pushed, that is what should come pouring out of us--that should be what's within us.

Humbling, isn't it? When you're feeling the pressure of life, are you greeting it with love? With joy? Do we greet evil with goodness? Prodding with patience? Are we, when we're at our lowest, when we're been squeezed so much by life that the pain is palpable, shining with faithfulness?

If we're not, then that says something about what's inside us--and about what isn't. We can't pour out what we don't have, and we can't have good fruit inside us yet spill out rot and decay. If that's what's coming out, it's because that's what's within.

And if that's what's within, then we need to do some serious work on ourselves. We need to turn those rotten spots over to God and let Him prune them away. We need to plead with Him to fill us with the good stuff inside.

And He will.

Until our cup runs over with His light. It'll spill right out of us . . . and right into the world. And then, when we're pressed, people will see Him.

I can't think of a more beautiful way to show people who Jesus really is.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Summer Reading Recommendations + Giveaway!



Summer is just around the corner! I am excited to have a break from homeschooling for a little bit and although I will be writing like a madwoman to meet deadlines, I hope to squeeze in some much-needed reading time as well. 

Whether you are taking road trips, hanging by the pool, or escaping to the lake this summer...Here are a few books that I HIGHLY recommend you take along with you. I have included links to purchase each book. Don't forget to check out sites like Audible, Christian Audio, and SCRIBD for access to Audiobooks, ebooks, and more (free trials are great!).


A Light on a Hill
by Connilyn Cossette

"This is biblical fiction at its finest! Engrossing, engaging, and stunningly written." Roseanna

Seven years ago, Moriyah was taken captive in Jericho and branded with the mark of the Canaanite gods. Now the Israelites are experiencing peace in their new land, but Moriyah has yet to find her own peace. Because of the shameful mark on her face, she hides behind her veil at all times and the disdain of the townspeople keeps her from socializing. And marriage prospects were out of the question . . . until now.


Her father has found someone to marry her, and she hopes to use her love of cooking to impress the man and his motherless sons. But when things go horribly wrong, Moriyah is forced to flee. Seeking safety at one of the newly-established Levitical cities of refuge, she is wildly unprepared for the dangers she will face, and the enemies--and unexpected allies--she will encounter on her way. (Amazon)





If I Run Series 
by Terri Blackstock

"Powerful and riveting! I loved each installment, and the series ended with a bang!" - Roseanna



Casey knows the truth.


But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet. (Goodreads - If I Run)



Across the Blue 
by Carrie Turansky

"I'm thoroughly enjoying this charming and delightful glimpse of aviation in its early days." - Roseanna

Set in Edwardian England and ideal for readers who enjoy Julie Klassen novels, this romance about an English aviation pioneer and the girl who falls in love with him is filled with adventure and faith.


Isabella Grayson, the eldest daughter of a wealthy, English newspaper magnate, longs to become a journalist, but her parents don't approve. They want her to marry well and help them gain a higher standing in society. After she writes an anonymous letter to the editor that impresses her father, her parents reluctantly agree she can write a series of articles about aviation and the race to fly across the English Channel, but only if she promises to accept a marriage proposal within the year. When James Drake, an aspiring aviator, crashes his flying machine at the Grayson's new estate, Bella is intrigued. James is determined to be the first to fly across the Channel and win the prize Mr. Grayson's newspaper is offering. He hopes it will help him secure a government contract to build airplanes and redeem a terrible family secret. James wants to win Bella's heart, but his background and lack of social standing make it unlikely her parents would approve. If he fails to achieve his dream, how will he win the love and respect he is seeking? Will Bella's faith and support help him find the strength and courage he needs when unexpected events turn their world upside down? (Goodreads)



Giveaway
In honor of these fabulous books, I am giving away a PRINT copy of Across the Blue to ONE lucky winner!
Giveaway ends 6/12/18 at 11:59pm EDT
Open to US mailing addresses only. Void where prohibited.