Monday, January 30, 2017

Word of the Week - Ace

I'm always so intrigued when words have come to mean the exact opposite of what they used to. And that, apparently, is what happened (metaphorically, at least) with ace.

Round about the year 1300, the word ace entered English. It was taken from the Latin as, which meant "one"--and is thought to be borrowed by Latin directly from the Greek eis, which means the same.

When it entered English, though, it wasn't just to mean "one." It was to particularly refer to the sides of dice with only one mark. Because of this, ace in Middle English was used metaphorically to mean "bad luck." That stuck around for quite a while...until cards became popular.

In cards, ace was also used to the "one" card...but of course, in cards, that's usually the highest, rather than the lowest. So as games switched popularity and cards began to rule the day, the metaphorical meaning of ace changed too. From "bad luck" to "top of the deck--the best." This total flip had happened absolutely by the 18th century.

Phrases like "ace in the hole" came around by 1907; during World War I, ace became applied to the best pilots. From there, it moved into verb form--in the 1920s, you could ace in sports, which meant to score a point. In the 1950s, this sports sense was extended via student slang to mean, "score high marks."

So there we have it--a four hundred year evolution from bad luck to the best, and then a slow move from being a noun to a verb. Ace has always meant "one"--but whether that's a positive or negative has done an about-face.

Friday, January 27, 2017

New Look, New Store, Free Gift!

Apparently I totally forgot to blog on Thursday--but for good reason. I was finishing the set-up of my new online store, from which you can purchase signed copies of my books!

I've been wanting to set this up for months but kept shying away from the time commitment--and figuring out how to redo the site in general. But after fiddling with all week, it's finally live.

And to celebrate, I'm offering a free gift on all orders that come in on or before Sunday 29 January 2017 ~ a WhiteFire book that I'll handpick to go along with each order.

So feel free to browse through my new site and check out the shop ~ if you've been thinking you need a paperback copy or are looking for a great gift, signed books are always good choices. (Any books are good choices. Rarely do I give a gift that doesn't involve a book. LOL.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Remember When . . . We Chose Coffee Over Tea?

First, you might notice a new background on the ol' blog. That would be because I try to keep it consistent with my main website, which just a much needed overhaul. Feel free to check out the new website at -- currently it's fairly basic, but soon there will be a shop section where you can purchase signed books from me. =D

As for today--it's my day on Colonial Quills! Today I'm musing about how and why America became a country of coffee drinkers. Come on by!
I'm a coffee drinker. Oh, I love tea too, but when the day is new and I make my way out to the kitchen to start my morning, tea doesn't cut it. It's coffee who has my affections just then.

When traveling in England last autumn, I quickly learned that where the American culture has leaned heavily toward coffee in recent centuries, the same cannot be said for England. Though you can buy a cup of perked coffee from any restaurant or bakery, it's not made as often at home--and when it is, it's usually with a French press, which is lovely, but doesn't make a whole pot like American families might be accustomed to. Which meant that when I got home, one of the best parts was having my coffee again. ;-)
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . I Am (repost)

I'm sure I could find something original to write about today. But as I was thinking about what I'm thinking about (sure--that made sense), I realized that I'd already written about it. So I went and looked it up and reread it, and it still stands. ;-) So if you read this one a year and a half ago, my apologies. But maybe you missed it. Or need the reminder. Maybe someone else out is...

I am a mom--an imperfect one, but one who tries to show her kids what she can...and who is constantly amazed by these two precious little people who latch onto my waist and declare, "Mine! You'll always be my mama!"

He is my Father--a perfect one, who shows me in so many ways what I can do through Him. Who constantly amazes me with the gifts, small and large, that He has given us. Who patiently whispers, "Mine. You'll always be my daughter."

I am a wife--one who messes up now and then, who says the wrong thing and forgets to make dinner. But one who still gets that little pitter-patter inside at the thought of seeing her husband after a short absence. Who dares to dream along with him of somedays and maybes.

He is the Bridegroom--the one who is always waiting for his Bride to remember her vows, to remain faithful, to reach for perfection. The one with arms outstretched in love for His church, for the world.

I am a bit of recluse--the kind who likes company, sure, but who gets lost in a crowd. Who sits at a party feeling awkward, even when it's all family. Who can give a sermon or a speech no problem, but who often stumbles through the unscripted...until she has a keyboard under her fingers or a pen in her hand.

He is everywhere. Always. And yet He doesn't force His way in. He stands outside the doors of our hearts and awaits our invitation. To come in. To sit with us. To give us the words we can't find and the sense of belonging that sometimes evades us.

I am a homemaker--but not the kind who makes a beautiful, showcase home. I appreciate those, but they're not for me. I would rather spend my spare dollars on dreams and goals and helping those who have less than on curtains or decorations. All I need, I have discovered, is enough--when I find myself with more, it's meant to be used for a greater purpose than my own comfort.

He is the Creator--the one who made the world and all that's in it. Who clothed the lilies of the field. Who made a home for every creature. The one who bids me, "Don't worry about tomorrow. Just follow Me today."

Sometimes, when I'm tired or down or just overwhelmed, it's easy to focus on all I'm not. But I'm not not. I am. I am all He made me, and all He made me to be that I haven't yet realized. I'm flaws and strengths, weaknesses and determination.

I'm a shadow of Him--a mirror, I pray, of His light. I am His. And He is I AM.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Remember When . . . Piper Sail Came on the Scene?

Photo courtesy of Stephanie's editor--the first to get her hands on the hardback

You'll be seeing more about this book from me in a couple weeks, when it releases. But I had to give y'all a sneak peek now, because there are some extras you can get if you pre-order, and they're fun enough to make it worth clicking that button a few weeks early. ;-) (You just email your receipt to and they send you some fun downloads.)

So a couple years ago, my best friend, Stephanie Morrill, (author of The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt Series and The Ellie Sweet Series) said she had an idea for a historical YA.

Insert Roseanna laughing maniacally and saying, "I knew it! I knew you'd come over to the dark side of historicals eventually! Mwa ha ha ha!"


Her idea was set in 1920s Chicago, which is an awesome setting. One which I'd in fact used before in a MS called Mafia Princess which still sits, sad and forlorn, in my folder of finished but unpublished manuscripts. (Sniff, sniff. Be patient, Sabina and Lorenzo--you may yet find your time...) Happy as a clam that my best friend was finally seeing reason and writing historicals, I promptly sent her all my research books, bought her a book on historical fashion for her birthday, and solemnly swore to answer any questions she had on the history in particular or historicals in general, if I could.

The result: The Lost Girl of Astor Street.

I cannot gush enough about this book. This book is awesome. This book is beautiful. This book is fun. I am happy beyond measure that Blink has picked it up, and thoroughly jazzed at this: HARDBACK!!!!!

I'm eagerly awaiting my pre-ordered copy to arrive in February, but in the meantime, I'm gearing up to help promote. So eventually, you'll see my full review. For now, this from me is on the back cover:

"Morrill delivers a story that has it all - mystery, the mafia, and a heroine you can't help but root for. If Veronica Mars met the Roaring Twenties, you'd end up with The Lost Girl of Astor Street." ~ Roseanna White, author of The Lost Heiress

Here's the official blurb:

When her best friend vanishes without so much as a good-bye, eighteen-year-old Piper Sail takes on the role of amateur sleuth in an attempt to solve the mystery of Lydia’s disappearance. Given that Piper’s tendency has always been to butt heads with high-society’s expectations of her, it’s no surprise that she doesn’t give a second thought to searching for answers to Lydia’s abduction from their privileged neighborhood.
As Piper discovers that those answers might stem from the corruption strangling 1924 Chicago—and quite possibly lead back to the doors of her affluent neighborhood—she must decide how deep she’s willing to dig, how much she should reveal, and if she’s willing to risk her life of privilege for the sake of the truth.

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray and Anna Godbersen, Stephanie Morrill’s atmospheric jazz-age mystery will take readers from the glitzy homes of the elite to the dark underbelly of 1920s Chicago.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Word of the Week - Under the Weather

Okay, more of a phrase of the week--and this one by special request (happy to report no one's under the weather in my house! Though we had a brief stint of it last Tuesday...)

Anyway. So.

Everyone knows that under the weather means to feel sick. The question is where it came from.

As it turns out, this is in fact a phrase with nautical origins. A lot of seasickness is caused by bad weather--and the solution is to go below deck and lie down, where you're not only out of the weather, but where the swaying of the ship isn't so pronounced. When you did this, you were said to go/be, quite literally, under the weather. Some sources site the original phrase as being under the weather bow--which was the side of the ship getting hit by all the wind and waves etc.

So there we have it, and here's hoping no one in your house has to claim it this week!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Covers, Covers, and More Covers!

I'm up to my eyeballs in galleys for A Name Unknown right now, so I can't spend much time on the ol' blog this week. But I did want to check in real quick. So I thought I'd do a quick share of the covers I created last week.

WhiteFire just acquired some of Melody Carlson's backlist contemporary titles--all previously published, but we're giving them a fresh new look. I've had fun repackaging these MC classics, and since the first batch of them are processing and will be available today/tomorrow (I'll update with links later), I figured it would be cool to share!

I tackled them in an, ahem, amazingly brilliant order. Alphabetical. ;-) So here they are in that same order.

First up is actually the most recent of the books, Armando's Treasure

Dora Chase is an eighty-year-old widow whose family finds her frustratingly independent. Her son no longer trusts her judgment and constantly pressures her to sell her rural home and rundown farm to a huge computer firm.

When a young stranger shows up, Dora is suspicious, but before long Armando Garcia wins her trust. And Armando supports Dora’s independence, causing the conflict within her bickering family to escalate. Dora's son abhors Armando's interference and is determined to send him away. He suspects the charming young man is running from something or someone. And he's not far from wrong.

The unlikely friendship that grows between the elderly widow and the young man with a past leads them both on a journey toward hope, healing and forgiveness.

Going on that description and the previous covers, both of which had a classic Chevy truck in blue and some sunflowers...

 I came up with this. 

Melody approved, so it was on to the next, Built with Love, which had been originally published as Wise Man's House.

For a young widow, the stone mansion she once dreamed of owning, offers the promise of a new beginning.

After the death of her husband, Kestra returns to her hometown of Port Star. With the purchase of her childhood dream house—a stone mansion along the rocky Oregon coast—it appears she has found a way to rebuild her life.

Kestra begins to transform the old house into an elegant, yet charming restaurant. But as the renovations begin, a mysterious stranger moves into her caretaker’s cottage—and eventually into her heart.

Suddenly life is full of promise and new opportunities, until a contractor’s jealousy threatens Kestra’s new romance.

The opening of this one had some nice mood to it that I wanted to capture. So again, armed with the blurb, my glance at the first pages, and these previous covers...

I came up with this.

My original had a larger house--I apparently think in East Coast terms, LOL--but after some minor tweaking anyway... ;-)

Next up is Heartland Skies.

Jayne Morgan has a lot to learn about love. Harris McAllister has a lot to learn about tolerance. When they meet they have lots to teach each other.

Jayne feels betrayed when her fiancĂ© suddenly dumps her for his high school sweetheart just weeks before the wedding. She’d love to leave Paradise, Oregon, but she’s signed a teaching contract and the kids in her classroom need her.

This one was Xoe's favorite--because HORSES. ;-)  I had the saddle wrong in my first attempt, not realizing she rode English instead of Western, but after a bit of tweaking, we went from these...

to this:

The next one is a bit different. Looking for Cassandra Jane is a coming-of-age story set in the 60s and 70s. So I wanted it to have a different sort of look to capture that young feel, and also the era. 

Cassanda Maxwell has had a life filled with pain. Her mother died too young, her father is an abusive alcoholic, and she’s a misfit everywhere she goes.

After being shuttled between various foster homes, Cass struggles to find her identity and finds herself caught up with Scott Jones (aka “Sky”) and his group of friends who start a Jesus commune in California. But before long, the group is more interested in pot and sex than they are spiritual growth.

Once again, Cass finds herself trapped in unhappinessand she longs for escape.

Will Cass find the life and love she craves on a California communewith the charismatic Sky and his followers? Or can she fulfill her dreamsand find her real future—with her childhood friend Joey?

I quite liked the original cover--the distressed feel of it and the girl hanging her head. 

I didn't imitate it exactly by any means, but that's what I kept in mind as I hunted up photos. I was afraid Melody and her agent wouldn't get my vision with the big script font, LOL, but they both loved this.

Then we had Shades of Light. I read a few chapters of this one as I prepared myself to design it and was quite enjoying the theme of light--physical and metaphorical. 

First there are shades of sorrow, then shades of hope. Will Gwen find shades of light?

When her only child leaves home for college, widowed Gwen Sullivan discovers just how lonely an “empty nest” can be. How will she adjust and fill her empty days? 

At the urging of friends, Gwen takes a job with an interior designer—whom she soon discovers to be domineering and jealous of Gwen’s creativity. Suddenly she’s stuck doing menial tasks. When a sleazy client starts to harass her, Gwen begins to wonder if she’s cut out for the working world. 

She eventually meets Oliver Black, who gives her an opportunity to use her decorating skills, and suddenly Gwen sees herself in a more confident light. But Oliver is a man of many secrets, and Gwen wonders if she can trust her heart to him.

Light is crucial to the main character, so I wanted a cover where she's bathed in it. I found a model of the right age at a window, inserted a Pacific Northwest background (very faintly), and voila.

Melody loved the expression on her face here, so we had a winner!

And finally, the one with the absolute best setting. ;-)  Previously titled Awakening Heart, we retitled this one with Melody's original working title, Thursday's Child.

Emma has always been “the practical one” in the family. But that is about to change as she embarks on the adventure of her life.

Emma Davis wants a new life now that she no longer needs to care for her grandmother. A spur-of-the-moment visit to a travel agency sets her on a journey far from her Iowa home.

Emma takes a cruise to the far islands of the Pacific, but it isn’t until she arrives in Papua, New Guinea, that she begins to realize her true calling. Emma regains her sense of purpose by caring for three motherless children and befriending their father, Josh Daniels.

Josh’s troubled pass and the loss of his wife have left him vulnerable, but can the love Emma has discovered in her own heart, awaken his heart to all Emma has to offer?
Previous covers...

But I wanted to capture that gorgeous setting!

 So there we have it! I still have four more covers to design for a series from Melody that we'll be re-releasing, but that will have to wait until after galleys. Speaking of which . . . BYE!