Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Soft Breath of Wind!!!

She's alive!

Well, halfway. Paperbacks are now available on Amazon, and will be showing up soon at B&N too! Digital versions will go live at midnight on 11/15, so if you have pre-ordered, it'll automatically download then. =) If you pre-ordered the paperback, those will likely be on their way to you in the next day, if they aren't already. =D

If you haven't ordered yet but intend to, I would ask for my own selfish purposes (LOL) that you either pre-order or place the order on the official release day of November 15. I ask this solely because all pre-orders count as first-day sales, and the more sales you get in the one day, the higher up the ranks you go, and the more visibility you get.

For those of you who signed up to be influencers, I'll get copies in the mail to you as soon as I have them. If you requested digital versions to influence, I'll have them to you in the next couple days.

If you were one of my beta readers and feel inclined to write a review, you can now do that at Amazon and Goodreads, and I would greatly appreciate it if you did. Amazon searches/ranks apparently incorporate number of reviews in their algorithm somehow, and having 25 reviews or more is quite helpful.

Speaking of reviews...please keep in mind that I have sworn off reading any reviews just posted to sites like Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc. If you want me to read the review you've written, please either email me to say you wanted to share your thoughts with me or tag me in a link on Facebook or Twitter. I made the decision to swear off reviews when Ring of Secrets came out, for personal reasons--namely, guarding my attitude, LOL, and not getting distracted by the emotions that come along with reviews. However, I do LOVE hearing from readers, especially when they share how stories affected them! If you want to talk to me about the book, I would absolutely love it. =) You can always, always email me at roseanna at roseannawhite dot com.

Let's see, what else? I don't know, other than to ask for your continued prayers for this book. Not just for things like sales numbers (though I certainly wouldn't complain about good sales, LOL), but that God's work is done and His kingdom expanded.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Remember When . . . The Book Got Visual?

I'm happy to report that a week or two ago, I got to fill out cover information for The Lost Heiress. YAY!!! I love the cover aspect of a book, and the designers at Bethany House always do such a fabulous job that I just know I'm going to adore whatever they come up.

One of things that I've found is invaluable to cover designers is a good Pinterest board. I have a pretty full one for The Lost Heiress...and am just getting started on my board for the sequel, The Outcast Duchess. And...yeah. It could use some help, LOL. Things like 1912 fashions shouldn't be too hard, and I've got a couple great pictures of the castle my heroine's home is based on, and on Loch Morar.

Most recently I put my husband on the task of figuring out what kind of car Brice, the Duke of Nottingham, would drive--we decided it would definitely be an Austin. Austin was not only a British company (and Brice would totally go British), it was the one most popular with the nobility. And see, where Justin and Brook in The Lost Heiress are interested in cars for cars' sake, in the engineering and the innovation, Brice is more the "What a nifty little machine. I think I'll have one." type of guy. ;-)

So here is Brice's car...

And Emma Watson (when she isn't styled for sexy) is a pretty decent Rowena Kinnaird...

But I admit to some trouble trying to find my perfect Brice. He needs to be oh-so-handsome. Swoon-worthy. Suave, genteel, elegant. With a healthy dose of wit and perpetual good humor. I've been toying with maybe using Colin O'Donoghue (who I adore as Hook on Once Upon a Time)

...but I don't know. He does a fabulous rogue, but Brice is more smooth charm that roguish charm. So I am totally open for suggestions of other tall, dark, and handsome heroes. ;-) So...who are you favorite actors that fit the bill?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Word of the Week - Novel

Hard to believe I've never looked this one up before, eh? LOL

My daughter has asked me a few times where the word novel comes from. I had some inkling, knowing my roots and the fact that novel can mean both "something new" and the fiction stories I so adore. But this morning I thought I'd flesh it out a bit.

Novel is from the Old French which is turn from Latin novellus, meaning "new, young, recent." It's been in English since the 15th century as an adjective ("what a novel idea!"), but was seldom used until the 1600s.

As a noun meaning a "fictitious narrative," it dates to the 1560s, and following the same root. A novella was originally "a new story" and from there shifted to exclude the "new" aspect. Originally, it was used for short stories included in a collection--like one of Chaucer's tales, for instance. Then came to be used for longer works by about 1630. Prior to that, such works were called romances.

Novelist dates from 1728, and novelize, which originally meant "to make new," first appeared as such in the 1640s, morphing into "to be made into a novel" round about 1828.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . My Girl

It's Xoë's birthday. That means cinnamon rolls and homemade macaroni, and a day off school (woo hoo!). It means presents and pink and laughter and fun. And a mommy who solemnly swears to stay off her computer most of the day.

Of course, Xoë isn't up yet, so here I am. ;-)

I had preconceived notions of motherhood--who doesn't? I thought I'd be perfectly patient all the time, nurturing my babies to adulthood with wisdom and boundless love.

I've got the love part. And I sure try to be wise. Patience...well, let's say parenthood has taught me a lot in that department.

And though I have moments of temporary insanity when I walk into the living room and it looks like a toy bomb has exploded, those moments are far, far outweighed by the ones where I draw my kiddos close and think, "Yep, this is it. This is what life is about."

Xoë is my firstborn, and she's such a special little girl. I can't quite believe she's 9 today (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN???!!!), but I figure it's a good time to make a list. Nine reasons out of the gazillion that I love my brave little princess.

1. She's always thinking about others. She shares gladly with her brother (most of the time, LOL) and even more gladly with cousins and friends. She'd rather make sure those she loves are happy than herself. I've never met a child more eager to help. (She loved being my helper at book events, like in the photo above.)

2. She's smart. I've yet to introduce a concept in school that she hasn't grasped within a day or two. (Okay, Roman numerals took a few months--but when she got them, she got them with a vengeance! She's now quicker at them than I am!)

3. She's clever. Which is different from smart, LOL. I love hearing the witty things she says, the clever little jokes she'll make. Makes my day every time. =)

4. She believes in celebrating. I'm talking, any occasion she can come up with. We had a First Day of Fall Festival just last month, and she'll make decorations and banners for whichever party she decides to throw in a given week--and this girl plans months in advance. I pray she never loses that heart to rejoice over the little things! It makes life so much brighter. =)

5. She's not afraid to be crazy. Nothing makes me grin more than when she does a silly little walk or dance.

6. She's still a little girl. In a world where kids idolize TV stars and musicians, where I often shake my head at how primary schoolers try to act like 17-year-olds, my little girl is just that. A little girl. I know part of that is likely due to our lovely little homeschooling bubble, but I'll keep it that way for a while longer, thanks. A 9-year-old should be a little girl!

7. She's thoughtful. Just last night when she heard the reports of the terrible events in Canada yesterday, she asked, "What's terrorism?" And then, after I explained it, "But why would anyone do that?" We had a rather lengthy discussion on it all...

8. She's creative. She draws, she writes stories, she designed in Photoshop...yeah, I know. Sounds like me, LOL. But seeing what she creates always leaves me with this big ol' glow of pride...


9. She's not afraid to be herself. Over the years she's ended up among some pretty relentless leaders--her cousin, the neighbor girl, etc. And she rarely insists on being the leader. But she also isn't afraid to say, "No, let's not do that." No matter who she's with, she's Xoë.

And oh, how I love my Xoë. Happy birthday, pumpkin!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Remember When . . . A Screw Saved Us?

I'm up on Colonial Quills today, and I'm talking about . . . what? A giant screw? A printing press? Huh?

Yep. Our homeschool year has been full to bursting with oh-so-interesting fun facts about early America, but this one won the right to appear on the CQ. ;-) Hop over to read the full article!

The year was 1620. The crowd of passengers crammed into the small vessel numbered 101. Among them were adventurers, seekers of fortune...and a group of Separatists who wanted a fresh start in a new land where they could worship as they saw fit. 
We've all heard the story of the Mayflower. But I confess that for many years it was just a tale trotted out at the end of November, and I had always been far more interested in making paper-bag Indian vests and coloring my cornucopia than in some of the finer details of the Pilgrims' journey. Of course, that was before I became a history nerd, so it's only to be expected that now, as I'm reading those old stories to my kids in our homeschool curriculum, they're the ones coloring happily away while I pause in my reading to go, "Wow, I never knew that! Just think of it..."
Read the Full Article

Monday, October 20, 2014

Word of the Week - Perk

Today's word comes to us by me literally clicking on a random letter at and then a random page within said letter and scrolling down until something caught my eye. ;-) The lucky word was perk.
The first meaning of perk in English came from Old North French and meant "to make oneself trim or sharp." From the late 1300s, this word was inspired by preening birds--the French word it's taken from means "perch."

By the 1520s, it had expanded to mean "to raise oneself briskly." Interestingly, the term perk up didn't follow for another 140 years (language changed so much more slowly back then!)

The verb that we use for how we make our coffee is actually a shortened, altered form of percolate, which is completely unrelated, and came around in 1934.

The noun form, as in "a highlight or bonus" is from 1869, another shortened, altered form--this time of perquisite, a mid-15th century word from Latin that means "profit, thing gained." Yeah, I had no clue about that one!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Fame and Fortune (Or Not)

When I was a kid, I had big dreams. And this idea that writers lived on mansion on hilltops. I thought that surely, surely fame and fortune awaited me down that road. That I'd be a household name. That people would squeal with excitement when they met me. That I'd be able to dive into my vault of gold like Scrooge McDuck.

Yeah,, no. LOL. That's not the life of a writer--at least, not many of us. But that's okay. Because the more I travel this road, the more I know it isn't about those old dreams. It's about the stories God puts in my heart.

For a lot of writers, writing is a career. They love it, but it comes down to the bottom line. I get that...but that's not me. To me, despite those childhood dreams, writing isn't about what I get from it. It's about what I can give with it. Writing is my calling. Writing is my ministry. Writing is the way I share about faith, about God, about how He guides through our lives. About how love lifts us above the dark places--though those dark places will always come.

Tonight I have a book signing at my local library, so my thoughts this morning were on the subject. And I've also been hearing back from my beta readers for A Soft Breath of Wind, so that makes me think about it even more. I guess as a kid, I would have imagined that praise for my books would have made me smile like a movie star, utter a gracious thank you so much! and go about my day knowing I'd done that, I'd done what I set out to do.

Instead, every time I get an email or message from one of these early readers with words like your best yet and this opened my eyes to faith on a whole new level, there's no euphoria. There's no glow of accomplishment. There's something better. There's that deep-down, bone-level gratitude to God for helping me write what He wanted me to. For putting down a story I wasn't sure would be what my core readers want and finding that it's what they need. For realizing He had things in mind for my words I didn't know.

That's what writing has become for me. And while it might not be enough for Scrooge McDuck, I gotta say, it's why I keep doing this. It's why I get up at 5:30 every morning, though I don't often get to bed until 11. It's why I bake cookies to take to the library with me, though my day is already full. It's why I sacrifice that time when I could be outside or reading or otherwise at play, to squeeze a few more paragraphs onto the page.

I've said it before, I'm sure. I write because it's who I am. It's what I'm called to do. If no one ever read it, I'd still write. If I never earned a penny, I'd still write. Because God teaches me so much through each story.

Yesterday marked the T-one month date for the release of A Soft Breath of Wind. And as the countdown to release begins, I'm covering this book with prayer. It goes places no other book of mine has ever gone. It digs to places I didn't know it would plumb. It asks questions I'd never thought to wonder about until Zipporah and Benjamin and Samuel brought them up.

And that means it's probably going to offend some people--those types of books always do. So I'm also praying that it doesn't get into the hands of anyone to whom it would be a stumbling block. I'm fine with people not liking my book, with them taking issue with it, if it's an issue God wants them to take. But I'm not okay with people asking questions that makes them waver in their faith or go places in their minds they don't need to go (I've had a few of those reviews over the years too). So if you've a mind to say a prayer over this book and its releasing, please include that--that it make it into the hands of those who need it and stays out of the hands of those who don't.

I'd also appreciate a prayer for my event tonight. I love doing library signings--so much fun to chat with folks who love books! So here's hoping it goes well and I meet some new people to chat with. =)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Remember When . . . Marriage Laws

Historical writers always need to know marriage laws for their particular setting. Well, maybe not always, but it comes up a lot. ;-) And they vary a lot from state to state, even county to county. Thankfully, in this digital age, many states have their archives online (woo hoo!), which makes it possible, if not simple, for us writerly folks to figure out what we need to know.

A couple years ago I was researching a book that I've yet to write--it was a sequel to a book I've never sold--and part of it hinged on Maryland marriage laws in the 1920s. I found the Maryland archives online, and a friend's lawyer husband thought it would be great fun to find the correct document for me (truly awesome friend, LOL). He pointed me to the exact place I needed, and voila! I discovered that in the 1920s, you were supposed to get a marriage license, but there was no waiting period. And what's more, if you did not get a license but were married by a minister, the marriage was legal, but there was a fine involved. If, on the other hand, you had license but no minister, the marriage wasn't considered legal. How interesting is that?

Another common misconception that pops up far too often in fiction, however, is the annulment. Or at least the threat of an annulment. I can't tell you how many times I've read books about marriages of convenience (read: unconsummated) where this is brought up. Because, obviously, if a marriage isn't consummated, it isn't a real marriage, and it can be wiped off the books, right? I always thought so. Until this same friend-married-to-a-lawyer pointed out that, nope, this is just something writers get wrong a lot.

Huh. Who knew? So what, then, are the laws about annulment?

Well, for starters, a bit of clarification on what it even is. While a divorce says a legal marriage has ended, annulment certifies that the marriage wasn't legal to begin with and, for all intents and purposes, didn't ever exist. It wipes it away entirely. Now, there are occasions where folks like the Catholic church will annul a marriage if, say, it took place outside the Church, wasn't performed by a priest, one of the couple wasn't Catholic, etc. (Though oddly, any children conceived in such a nullified union are still considered legitimate. Wrap you mind around that one...)

But in general, there are only a few very specific occasions when an annulment would be granted.

1. One of the people was already married.

2. One of them was underage, without court or parental approval--though this must be brought to the attention of the court within 60 days, or it's no longer a valid cause.

3. One of them was under the influence of a drug or alcohol and unaware of what they were doing--again, you only have 60 days to claim this one.

4. Mentally incompetant

5. One of them was threatened or forced into the marriage

6. One of them agreed to be married based on fraudulent claims or actions of the other. (I'm a millionaire, baby!)

7. Physically and incurably impotent--unless the other spouse knew about it beforehand. (See, even this is very, very specific.)

8. Marriage was prohibited by law because of something like age, race, blood relationship, proxy marriage, etc. Varies state to state.

So you see, there are causes...but not the one we usually read about. Interesting, eh?

Now off I go to force a couple to the alter, LOL. And no annulment talk here!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Word of the Week - Some Movie Words

We've all heard of the stars of the Silver Screen...but last week I found myself wondering about the term. Where did it come from? When  did it come from? Obviously after movies came about, but when?

A simple answer to find. =) Silver screen was originally in reference to the screens themselves in movie projection houses. They were painted silver to better reflect the light from the projectors. Makes sense, eh? The term is from 1921. And by 1924, it had broadened to mean movies in general.

Movie itself dates from 1912, a shortened form of moving picture, which in turn dates from 1896. Keeping in mind that those first moving pictures were silent, the advent of sound resulted in talkies in 1913 (from talking picture, 1908).

So...seen any good ones lately? ;-)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Everyday Crazy

Autumn...always crazy around here

I can't tell you how many times I've said or written the words, "Sorry, this month has been crazy." I think I probably utter/type it at least once a month. Because, let's face it, life is crazy. It's always crazy. And though I always think, It'll get better once I'm done this... the fact remains that once I'm done one thing, it just means another is on the horizon.

Traditionally, October is my crazy month, where I have something going on every weekend. Fall Festival, family reunion, daughter's birthday, Halloween. This year, September way outdid October's plans. This year, we were gone for vacation, then for homecoming at our college, then there was ACFW. I'm so, so glad to be home for a while, even if I still have all those normal October things to do.

My point? Well, that every day is crazy. Every week. Every month. And I can either use that as an excuse to put things off and let life overwhelm me...or I can not.

That's a hard one for me. I admit it. All too often things get pushed to the backburner in my life (like cleaning...or sorting through that stack of mail that I hope doesn't have any bills I've missed...or...) while I focus on the pressing things.

So how do I do better? Honestly, I'm not an expert on this. I don't have the answers. But this past year, as we moved and settled, as I had to pitch a new series to new publishers, as I worked on my biblical at a snail's pace, as I edited and designed a book every month for WhiteFire, as I homeschooled both kids for the first time...well, some things shifted for me. Some things that made me realize that I can still have time to cook a decent meal, if I just make myself be creative. I can keep my house from becoming hopeless, if I just force myself to spend one evening a week on it (it's not great, mind you, but not hopeless). I can write, I can read, I can edit, if I'm willing to budget my time.

There are still days and weeks where I just can't do any more. I can't squeeze in one more activity, I can't go one more place--not if I still want to finish my "have to"s. But at a certain point, I have to stop looking at it as crazy...and just start accepting it as everyday life. And cherish the fact that, though crazy-busy, my family is at least crazy-busy together. We're not pulled a million different directions everyday. And I love that. I love that we spend so much time together.

It kinda makes me think that all the crazy is worth it. Because we can live in Crazytown together. And really, it's a pretty fun place to be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Remember When . . . History Was Tragedy?

Much of my last week has been consumed by Veiled at Midnight, the next book WhiteFire will put out--and the last one this year, other than my A Soft Breath of Wind. I know I already touched briefly on this in my Word of the Week post, but it bears talking about more. Because oh my goodness. This book...

In the first book in Christine Lindsay's Twilight of the British Raj series, I was introduced to India, with all its vastness, its crowds, its spices and colors and dizzying politics. I got a taste of the British Raj (rule) and what it meant to the Indians, and I met a villain who kept the characters on their toes. In the second book, I learned more about the struggle between the Sikhs, the Muslims, the Hindus, and the minority of Christians. About the sweeping epidemics and the lingering effects of World War I.

In this book, I saw a nation destroyed by its cry for independence. I saw neighbor turn on neighbor because of their religion, places of peace become fields of battle. The author, in her historical note, says that low estimates of the number of civilians killed in the riots surrounding the Partition that separated India and Pakistan was 20,000. High estimates are close to 1,000,000.

This is not a happy backdrop. It's tragic, it's suffocating, and it's...true.

So why do I love the book? For the same reason I usually love a book. Because somehow there's hope amidst the tragedy. Somehow there's the power of love--our love for each other and Christ's love for us--overcoming, here and there, the power of hate. Somehow the characters find their true identities, their true worth, their true strength, when the streets are flowing red with blood.

That's one of the themes of the book, actually. Red. Dassah, our Indian heroine, wanted a red sari for her wedding, because red is the color of joy. But as violence took over her land, red became associated with blood instead. The color of violence, of death, of tragedy. But then, eventually, another thought occurs. Red is also the color of Another's blood that was shed, and shed to save us.

I didn't know much about the Partition before I read Veiled at Midnight, but wow, did I learn a lot--in that organic way that has always been why I love historical fiction. I got to meet some historical figures, and I got to view the riots through many sets of eyes, all with different views but a shared love for India, a shared pain at her suffering.

Best-selling author MaryLu Tyndall had the right of it when she said, "Rarely do I find a book that touches my soul in such a deep place." This one's going to stick with me for a long, long time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Word of the Week - Genes

Good grief, I've been forgetting to blog left and right! Let's hope it's just that my last few weeks have been crazy, and now my brain will settle back into normal patterns. ;-) We can hope...

In my last pass of the fantabulous Veiled at Midnight, I came across a character saying something about their gene pool. So naturally, I paused to look it up. This is a historical, but a post-WWII one, so I knew it was probably close.

And indeed, it was very close. Gene is from the German gen, a word coined in 1905 by Danish scientist Wilhelm Ludvig Johannsen. He took it from the Greek genea, meaning "generation; race." They had earlier been called pangenes. So the word gene definitely would have been around by 1947. Gene pool, however, didn't make its debut until 1950. Pretty close, but I was gonna guess that the backwater of India wouldn't have that one yet, so I made a quick substitution. ;-)

Now back to work I go on getting Veiled at Midnight ready to go live! Some unforeseen events delayed this release, but we're finally ready to get it up and out there! Yay!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Remember When - ACFW Recap, Part 1

I had the pleasure of going to the ACFW conference in St. Louis last week as an editor for WhiteFire Publishing. That means that I spent my day sitting behind a table...
My spot - I got rather comfy there. =) Kim, my editor from Harvest House,
was beside me, Jeane Wynn the PR queen behind me, and a couple agents
rounding out the room.

...listening to stories. Not a bad way to spend a day. =) There are agents and editors out there who really don't enjoy these appointments, and I understand that. They like to focus on the manuscript first. But I have to say, I had a blast meeting the authors and listening to them tell me about their stories.

I also have to confess that of all the pitches I heard, the ones that sounded like rehearsed pitches were the least engaging for me, even if they were interesting. What I, personally, enjoyed was just listening to people talk about their ideas!

I heard a lot of historical pitches and noted a few themes that kept coming up. Quite a few were based on family history, which is always fun.
Me with one of my critique partners, the young and lovely
Amanda Barratt. Amanda just received 2 contracts for novellas
with Barbour!! Super proud of her--she's only 18!

Quite a few pitches, both historical and contemporary, began with "escaping an abusive relationship..." I found that interesting. WhiteFire has published a few stories that had a character doing just that. And frankly, my current work-in-process touches on it too. But I'm talking quite a percentage of the stories I heard that dealt with this, and I'm not sure what that says. Maybe that they were all pitching it to me because WhiteFire isn't afraid to go there? Maybe that everyone wants characters who find their strength...and they do that to escape such a situation? 

Maybe that the world has gone so far down hill that a devastatingly high percentage of people have had to face these issues at one time or another, and it's what God keeps laying on writers' hearts for their sakes?

I thought I would miss the genre dinner on Thursday night (had a meeting), but I did in fact manage to sneak in. I hadn't brought my fabulous Edwardian garb to wear, thinking I wouldn't make it to the dinner, but I enjoyed seeing the other costumes. Including this one that my young-and-talented critique partner donned. Keep an eye out for two novella series coming from Barbour in the next year--they're going to have two of her stories in them! As I have details, I'll share them. This young woman is only 18, but she's already been working hard to get published for four or five years, attending conferences with her family when she was too young to be allowed to come alone. Anyway, dinner was almost over and saw this costume walking from the room. I thought, "That has to be Amanda!" so went darting out after her. And sure enough, it was. =)
In the bookstore

I also had the amazing blessing of talking with some of the established historical writers that I so love reading. I got to hug Julie Klassen--whose books were right beside mine in the bookstore. (No, mine aren't regency, they were just at the edge of the Historical Romance category.) I really loved that. Come for Julie, then look over at Roseanna. ;-) At dinner on Friday with the Baker Group crew, I sat between Mary Conneally and Jen Turano, so that was a hoot. And on the way back to the airport on Sunday, I got to sit beside Jody Hedlund, who'd just won the Carol the night before for A Noble Groom. She's such a sweetheart!
St. Louis courthouse--juxtaposed so funnily between a bunch
of modern architecture. This was the view from the room
I took appointments in.

So, yeah. I was present at every meal, which is a bit unusual for editors. That means I answered a lot of questions of "What do you write?" with "Historical romance and biblical" and then the follow-up questions of "Do you have appointments?" with "Actually, I'm taking them. I'm here as an editor." That was a lot of fun too.

More thoughtful thoughts on it all tomorrow!