Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Book Club Chat via Skype!

Book clubs = fun. At least I think so. ;-) So I'm being a bit experimental with my Facebook Live program and seeing how it goes to run an online book club discussion there as a video! Now, there's a bit of lag between writing of comments and appearance of comments in my feed, so I'm thinking the best way to have a good conversation is to have a few people actual TALKING about the book. How? Skype! Through the magic of all that technology stuff, we'll be having a panel of talkers right there in the video feed with me.

We'll be going through the discussion questions in the back of the book...and following any rabbit trails we might get distracted by. ;-) Interested in joining me via Skype? If you've read Giver of Wonders (or can do so in the next week) and want to be part of the fun, let me know!


1. You've read the book
2. You have Skype
3. You'll be available between 6-8 p.m. next Monday, 4 December

If that's you, then let me know! You can either comment here (with contact info please) or shoot me an email at and I'll be in touch. (If by chance I get more volunteers than we can handle, I'll choose by a combination of who contacted me first and what will build a well-rounded group.)

If this goes well, I'll be doing it for ALL my book releases and others upon request! So you could have a chance to join me for other books even if you can't on this one!

Even if you can't join me through Skype, I hope you can join me for the discussion in the comment section of the video!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The BFF Holiday Giveaway!

Writing can be a solitary endeavor--and books arguably have one central character. But whether in life or in story, friends are SO important!

My best friend is also a writer, so when she came to me with the idea for a best-friend-themed giveaway, I met the suggestion with enthusiasm! Especially given the books we're promoting. Her fantabulous The Lost Girl of Astor Street is all about best friends--and what what one will do when the other goes missing. And my Shadows Over England Series is also about best friends--friends so dependent on each other they call themselves sisters.

As two writer BFFs, we know all about supporting each other through highs and lows--cheering each other on through frustrations and disappointments, rejoicing at contracts and good reviews. Though we live a thousand miles apart, rarely does a day ever go by without our Hangouts chiming a message. It's been just over 10 years ago that Stephanie and I met, and I can't imagine going through life or writing without her!

This holiday season, we want to see you and YOUR best friend. Send us a picture or share one on social media tagging both of us, and you'll get entered to win signed, personalized copies of The Lost Girl of Astor Street and A Name Unknown for you AND your best friend. Here are the details:
  1. Snap a picture of you and your best friend or get one of your old favorites. (For the purposes of this contest, your best friend must be human.)
  2. Between now and December 11th, share the picture in one or all of the following ways:
    1. Post it on Facebook and tag us. Here's our author pages: Stephanie Morrill, Roseanna M. White
    2. Post it on Twitter and tag us. @StephMorrill @RoseannaMWhite
    3. Post it on Instagram and tag us at Stephanie Morrill and Roseanna M. White
    4. No social? No problem. Email the photo to us (not as an attachment, but in the email, please) and
    5. Do all four to get entered to win FOUR times!
    6. Link to the giveaway in your social post to get entered an additional time PER post. 
    7. Please make sure to tag us! If you don't tag us, we don't know you're doing it!
  3. On December 12th, we will email winners to get names and mailing addresses for you and your best friend. Gift wrap is available upon request, and we will even jot a note to your BFF to let them know how much you love them! (Due to the harsh reality of international shipping prices, this giveaway is only available to U.S. residents.)
  4. Have fun!

Learn more about the books!
(Click on the covers to see descriptions)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Word of the Week - Advent

This weekend, advent begins. And so, it seemed the perfect word to study a bit this week. =) And then we'll focus on holiday-themed words throughout our December Mondays!

Advent means, of course, "coming." It's from the Latin adventus, and specifically in Church Latin refers to "the coming of the Savior." Since the days of Old English, it's been the word used for the season leading up to Christmas. But it's certainly worth noting that it doesn't just mean that coming of the Savior--it's also the word traditionally used when looking forward to when Jesus returns.

I love keeping that in mind each Advent season. That we're not only looking backward, to when our Lord became man, but also looking forward, to when He'll return for His church.

Final note on the word--these days it's also used to mean any "important arrival," but that generalization wasn't accepted until the 1740s. Before that, it was exclusively used in the sacred sense in English.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know I've been terribly silent on the blog the last couple of weeks, but I wanted to jump on to wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of wonder at how good is our God. To all who joined me on Monday for my chat on the holiday, thank you! I had such a fun time hearing about what you're all thankful for this year, and sharing the stories I had on my heart.

Today, just a quick prayer.

This prayer comes from a volume of Puritan prayers entitled The Valley of Vision, compiled by Arthur Bennett. He doesn't say who wrote each one, but I am always struck by the sincere, heart-wrenching faith of those who penned these words. I pray this one speaks to you today.

Praise and Thanksgiving

O my God,
Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admired, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee
in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding,
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.

I love thee above the powers of language
to express,
for what thou art to thy creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time
and eternity.


May you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Thanksgiving Books and Blessings!

I intended to have a thoughtful post today, but with two deadlines within five days, let's just say time for other things has gotten away from me, LOL. But I did want to pop on here long enough to invite you to come chat with me today at a Facebook party!

I'm part of the Thanksgiving Books and Blessings event, which can be found here on Facebook from 10-4 Central Time. My slot is 12-12:30 Eastern/11-11:30 Central.

There will be games, giveaways, and lots of fun ~ a way for us authors to thank you, the reader, for all your support and enthusiasm throughout the year. Hope you can make it!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Word of the Week - Science

These days, when people say science, they have a particular thing in mind, right? Chemistry, biology, anatomy, physics, etc. But did you know that science used to be a far more general term?

The word dates from the 14th century, from the French word of the exact same spelling, and it meant broadly "what is known; knowledge acquired by study; information." The French, in turn, came from the Latin scientia, which means "a knowing, knowledge, expertness." This most likely came from scire, which means "to divide; differentiate."

Back in the 1300s, this word was used for general book-learning. By the end of the century, it was that learning especially gained by observation. The modern, restricted sense of science didn't come along until the mid 1700s and was commonly called philosophy as well.

Don't forget that tonight I'll be chatting on Facebook Live about the inspiration and behind-the-scenes of Giver of Wonders! Hope to see you all there at 7 p.m. Eastern. =)

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fridays from the Archives - Stray Mittens

Time for another Fridays from the Archives! Today we're looking back to January 2010, when Xoe was only 4, and Rowyn only 2. I actually went looking for this one, because it's something I think of from time to time. I in fact recently regaled Xoe with the tale of how she refused to put matching mittens beside each other, and she thought it was utterly hilarious.

And though now she's a bit more fashion conscious and will play by the rules, that creative streak is still definitely present--and still such fun to see!

I know, I know. You look at the title to this post and think I'm going to talk about my kids' propensity to lose one of each and every set of mittens in the house. And they do, I assure you. But that's actually not my point at all. =)

On Tuesdays I take Xoe to Story Time at our library, which she loves. It's the usual setup--the librarian reads to them, they sing some songs, there's a craft or snack. The past few weeks, one of the songs has made use of the felt-board and cutout paper mittens in different colors. When the song calls out the color of then mitten you have, you run up and put it on the board. Simple, right?

I've noticed something these last few weeks. Whenever Miss Liz says, "Put them here" and pats the board, every other child--I'm talking every . . . single . . . one--puts their colored mitten where she points. The first to get there will put it by the edge, the second (there are two of each color, go figure) right beside it.

Except Xoe.

Naturally, my little princess must be different. On Tuesday, she put her white mitten right in the middle of the board, though the first child to get there with with white put it by the edge, under the red ones, just like the librarian indicated.

I watched carefully when it was her turn again. By the time yellow was called, the board was mostly full. Again, another kid got there with yellow before her. Again, started a nice, neat row.

Where, I wondered, would my little deviant put this one? There wasn't much room left, other than beside its match. Would she conform?

Er, no. She put it in the spot still open beside the first white one, which was all lonely because her white one was off by itself.

I nearly laughed. There it was, this lovely rainbow of mittens, surprisingly well ordered by a bunch of three-year-olds, and the only oddities in the pattern were those two mittens my daughter put up, one white, one yellow. Two bright, cheerful slaps in the face of conformity.

Now, as a mother of a preschooler, there are a lot of moments when I think, "Can't you just do what you're told? Please? Must you make waves? Must you do things your own way? Don't you see that your outfit looks ridiculous, that you've made your 'art' over top of an actual picture, that you've undone all my cleaning by creating this 'obstacle course' of toys?" Especially in public. Especially around other mothers with their well-behaved children who come to the library appropriately dressed.

But you know . . . on Tuesday, something in me cheered. Something said, "Yeah, go Xoe! Make a new pattern! Color outside the lines! Wear red and black Minnie Mouse shoes with a pink and yellow kitty-cat dress! Be you!"

Now, I would like to note that my daughter is darn good for a 4-year-old. She can color inside the lines, follow precise directions, and pick out a pattern. She can clean up her toys, pick out presentable clothes, and charm the socks off any adult she comes across.

But she can also create. She can go around for a full day, narrating a story in her mind that incorporates everything she's actually doing. She can turn a boring tan rubber band into an intricate bracelet.

She can turn a paper mitten into a bright spot. And this mommy, who sometimes just wishes she would listen, couldn't be more proud.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Word of the Week - Romance

Last week, in talking about the word novel, I mentioned that novels were previously referred to as romances, which of course set us up perfectly for this week's Word. =)

Since around 1300, romance meant "a story, written or recited, of a knight, hero, etc." Why were they called romance? Because they were told in the everyday, vernacular language of a place rather than in Latin, and romance was also the word used for everyday, vernacular French. This comes from the Vulgar Latin romanice scribere, "to write in a Romance language," which is to, one derived from Latin. (I daresay most of us have heard of "the romance language" of Spanish, French, etc.)

By the 1660s, the literary definition had expanded to mean "a love story." Interestingly though, it wasn't applied to an out-of-literature love affair until 1916--who knew? Romance novels have only been a recognized genre in an of themselves since 1964.

Also interesting is that the verb, to romance someone, is only from 1934. Before that it meant "to invent fictitious love stories."

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Thoughtful About . . . A Living Water Faith

There's an old-world definition of "living water"--it means water that moves. Dead waters are stagnant--you don't want to drink from them, and sometimes things can't even live in them.

For instance, the Dead Sea. Now, this place is pretty amazing in a lot of ways. The salt content in so high that nothing can live in the waters. So high that you get salt cubes littering the shore and chunks of it floating in the water like icebergs. We've all probably heard the stories about how easy it is to float, and how quickly the water heals cuts or scrapes on your skin.

Why is the Dead Sea so salty? Because the Jordan river flows in, but then it stops. There's no outlet. The water simply evaporates in the heat. It's dead, not just because the salinity is so high that nothing can live there, but because the water doesn't move.

In contrast is the Sea of Galilee, which is fresh water. The same Jordan river flows in, flows out. Plus, it's fed from underground springs. This is living water. Fresh and clean and teeming with life.

That's what our faith is supposed to be.

My dad preached on this last weekend, and it really spoke to me. He started with John 7:37-38:

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (Emphasis mine. NKJV)

 Somehow, through all the times I've read John, I'd never caught that before. Whenever I think of living water, I think of it being Jesus--I remember the woman at the well, and how our Lord promises that He can give a living water that will make us thirst no more. Jesus is the living water.

But then there's that part in bold above. He comes into the hearts of those believe in Him--and then what?

Out of [our] hearts will flow rivers of living water. 

 Living water--moving water. Fresh water. He comes in . . . and He needs to flow out. We need to be fed with His words, with His truth, with His salvation, yes--but that can't be the end of it. We can't just hold it all in and think we're good. That we're saved, so that's all that matters. 

We can't stagnate. We have to move. Our faith has to move. It has to flow back out to the rest of the dry and thirsty world.

In our Bible study on Wednesday nights, we've been reading Romans. In 2:16, Paul is talking about about how the law is written on the hearts of men and that God will judge them, through Jesus, according to "my gospel." My husband, ever amazing at digging deep into the wording, asked "Why does Paul call it his Gospel here? Isn't it usually called Christ's gospel?"

We went back and forth with it for a while, and eventually I said something I thought was kinda simplistic, but which everyone loved: that Paul is owning it. He's taking the Gospel inside him and then sharing it, so fully unashamed, so fully committed to it that he's willing to call it his own.

That's the living water faith we all need to have. The kind that takes it in. That lives through it and by it. And that sends it out again to nourish others.

Father, let your Living Water spring up within us. Let it fill all the parches and empty places in our souls. And let our spirits' cups then so overflow with you that we have no choice but to spill out your goodness for those around us. Let us be the fresh spring in a bitter world. The life among the dead. Let us be a fountain of your glory.