Thursday, January 31, 2019

Announcing Season 4 of Roseanna White Live!

The holidays are over, the set redesign has been (mostly) figured out, and I have been a busy bee brainstorming what content to bring you guys this year. The result?

Roseanna White Live is coming back soon!

February 25, to be exact.




And this season, we're changing things up a bit. The program will be less just me talking about my own books and more talking about things of interest to Christian readers everywhere! I'm really excited about the schedule I've decided on. I don't have all my guests and topics slotted yet, but here's the monthly schedule.

FIRST MONDAYS

"Face to Face"

Interviews with some of your favorite authors, leading with Kate Breslin and Stephanie Morrill

SECOND MONDAYS

"From the Bookshelves"

Reading a selection of a book (mine and others') and providing commentary--sometime serious, sometimes funny--on the passage, Mystery Science Theater style

THIRD MONDAYS

"State of the Booksterverse"

Hot topic discussions with other writers and readers on things like the presence (or lack thereof) of diversity in Christian fiction, what Christian fiction even is, the value of Christian romance as a genre, how authors should find the balance between happily-ever-after and reality in their stories, and more!

FOURTH MONDAYS

"At the Desk"

This will be when I talk about my new releases, my work-in-progress, projects I've been editing, and perhaps book covers I've recently designed

FIFTH MONDAY?

"Wildcard Week"

If a month has five Mondays, then the fifth one will be an extra of one of the other four segments, as voted on by the viewers. (There's been talk of a wheel we'll spin...we'll see if that works out, LOL)

And the season will end with (insert bugle flourish)...

An Awards Show!

More information on that will come later =)


I'm super excited about the new structure and lineup! And this season, it won't only be on Facebook. You'll also be able to watch from my website and our Roku channel.

Now...


I want to know which topics interest you most for the "State of the Booksterverse" episodes! I'd love it if you'd take a minute to fill out this quick form. And please feel free to add topics if there's something I didn't mention that you think would make for great conversation.






Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Launch Team Now Open!



Do you love reading and telling people about books? Do you love reading my books? Would you like to receive exclusive content and early access to my newest books? Apply to be an Influencer and you CAN! Sound interesting?

I am currently receiving applications for The Codebreakers Launch Team and would love to have you apply! Now, you may be asking yourself, "What exactly does an influencer do?" It's pretty easy, you will get a (free) copy of my books, read said books, and then you tell people about them. This can be by reviewing it, posting on social media, through email, or face-to-face. Don't worry, we'll help you out along the way. The most important thing to remember is that as an influencer, you will be helping me to create positive buzz about my upcoming books. Have I hooked you yet? Well, if not...

About the Book


Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.

Are you ready to apply now? Just click the button below to begin the application! Space is limited so don't delay!




Monday, January 28, 2019

Word of the Week - Puny


My kids' vocabulary books have this section at the end of each lesson called "Fun and Fascinating Facts" about the words or roots in that week's list. This one comes courtesy of Rowyn's book--and is something I really did find fun and fascinating!

So, puny. I know it as "small, weak." And that meaning has been around since the 1590s. But before that, puny meant "inferior in rank." And before that, it was used of underclassman in school situations. Why? Great question. ;-)

Puny comes from the Latin phrase puis ne--literally, "born after." This phrase was applied, in Roman days, to children after the firstborn, who would inherit the estate of his parents. So a second, third, etc. son was puis ne and therefore inferior in rank and considered less powerful in society's eyes.

Who knew?!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Thoughtful About . . . The Difference We Can Make


When God created the earth, what did He say? That it was good. What do we yearn for at the end of our lives? That He'll say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." Not only in the Bible, but in pretty much every piece of literature, ancient and modern, we can find this familiar theme. This yearning. This basic condition of humanity.

We yearn for approval. For praise. For confirmation.

This is not a matter of wanting to think we're better. Just a matter of needing--yes, NEEDING--that basic encouragement. That we are good. That we've done well. That our efforts are noticed and appreciated.

Given how basic this is, I'm sometimes surprised by how easily we seem to forget that others have this need as surely as we do. But all too often, this is something we neglect to give those around us--our spouses, our kids, our coworkers, our underlings, our superiors, our pastors, our teachers, our students, our...fill in the blank. And yet, it's been proven, time and again, that people respond better to encouragement than to chastisement. Sometimes we have to correct, yes. But if we don't also add those positive words, people aren't inspired to actually improve.

This baffles me. Kind words, encouraging words, edifying words are no more difficult than harsh ones. They don't cost us anything. So why are we stingy with them?

When I was in college, I worked in the admissions office of my school, and I would make it a point to give my coworkers compliments. It didn't start as pointedly. It just started as an honest exclamation. Something like, "Oh, I love those shoes!" But this coworker seemed a bit startled at the compliment. And very much pleased. So I started looking for things to compliment her on as the weeks and months and years rolled by. At one point, she mentioned how she appreciated my attitude, and I replied with a laugh, "Hey, compliments are free! Why not spread them around?"

This holds true with all encouragement. It costs us nothing to praise our family when they do something well...even if they've also done something else not well. And you know what? When we receive praise for the thing we've done right, we want more of it. So we're going to do a better job on that other part too. We're going to try harder. Over and again this has been proven as a better tool for motivating than just correction.

And I think that, as believers, this is even more important. We're called upon to speak nothing that will tear each other down, but rather only that which will build each other up (Ephesians 4:29). Are we doing that in our churches? In our Bible studies? In our classes? In our committees?

As a writer, I'm keenly aware of the power of words. And as a reader, I will steer clear of authors whose stories don't offer me hope, edification, and encouragement through their characters' lives. But this is something I need to remember in all aspects of my life.

Our words make a difference to those around us. So are they making a difference for good...or for ill?

I'll leave you with this wonderful quote from a Quaker missionary. Something to keep in mind--that we need to seize each moment's opportunity to share those good words, because now is the only time we know we'll be able to.
"I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
~ ETIENNE DE GRELLET, Quaker Missionary



Monday, January 21, 2019

Word of the Week - Aroma


This time of year, I do a fair amount of baking--love a little added warmth in the kitchen! And I have to say, one of my favorite things to bake is bread. I love the process of making it--kneading the dough, finding that perfect texture and moisture level, then letting it rise...there's just something lovely about it. And if there's anything better than the smell of baking bread, I've never discovered it!

But I'd never paused to wonder about the word I use for that--aroma. High time I looked it up!

Aroma entered the English language in the 1200s, and while it did mean something "sweet-smelling," it also applied specifically to spices. This is because, though the Latin word just means "a pleasant smell," the Latin is actually borrowed straight from the Greek--in which, it didn't just mean a fragrance. It did actually mean, specifically, "seasoning; a spice or sweet herb."

So while today we might use the word for anything that smells--pleasant or not--it has a very particular root! Not just a smell, not just a pleasant smell, but one that comes from spices or seasoning.

What are some of your favorite aromas?

Friday, January 18, 2019

Book Sale!


 After sharing a bit about this story last week, I decided to offer the SIGNED PRINT copy from my store as this month's sale.

About the Book

A gift that has branded her for life

Zipporah is thirteen when the Spirit descends upon her, opening her eyes to a world beyond the physical goings-on of the villa outside Rome she has always called home. Within hours, she learns what serving the Lord can cost. Forever scarred after a vicious attack, she knows her call is to use this discernment to protect the Way. She knows she must serve the rest of her life at Tutelos, where the growing Roman church has congregated. She knows her lot is set.

Yet is it so wrong to wish that her master, the kind and handsome young Benjamin Visibullis, will eventually see her as something more than a sister in Christ?

A Visibullis Story


An Hour Unspent eBook is still on sale too!

Below are a few retailers that have the book at $0.79 and $0.99. Please verify the price before you purchase the book as retailers may change the cost. 





Thursday, January 17, 2019

Thoughtful About . . . Not Just a Laborer


This past week in our church Bible study, we were on the well-known parable of the workers in the vineyard. You know the one--where the landowner hired people at the start of the day for an agreed-upon amount. Then throughout the day, he goes back to the marketplace and hires more people. At the end of the day, he pays everyone, starting with the new arrivals. When he gives them the same amount he'd promised the earliest hires, those who had been working all day expect more--and get a bit irritated when they're only given a denarius as well.

The landowner's response is, "Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go your way. I wish to give to this last man the same as to you. Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with my own things? Or is your eye evil because I am good?"

The parables are often taught all on their own; and in this one, I've pretty much always read it as, "Those who repent in the last hour will receive salvation as surely as those who've been serving the Lord for a long time." And I don't think that view of it is wrong

But last weekend, as I looked back over the conversation this parable was a part of, something new struck me.

What came before? Well, first you have the rich young ruler asking what he needs to do to gain eternal life. Jesus tells him, "Obey the commandments." 

To which he says, "Yep, I've done that. Am I missing anything?"

And Jesus says, "Well, if you want to be perfect, then sell all you have and follow me. If you do that, you'll have treasures in heaven."

We all know that story really well too, right? And we probably recall that Peter, after the young man has gone away, says, "Hey, we've given everything up to follow you! So what will we have?" (One has to assume he's asking "what treasures in heaven.")

And Jesus answers that they will have quite the positions of power and authority in heaven. That anyone who makes a sacrifice for His sake will receive a hundredfold, AND inherit eternal life. THEN he launches into the laborer-and-vineyard parable.

So here's what struck me: the denarius is salvation, yes. Given to all who follow him into that vineyard. No matter when they joined Him. (Note, however, that this landowner did NOT go back to the marketplace at the end of the day and give out coins to everyone still waiting. You have to follow him in.) This is that "AND" part--they receive eternal life.

But Jesus repeatedly speaks of a hierarchy in heaven. Of those who lay up treasures there. Of those who will receive greater or lesser reward. 

And it occurs to me that in the vineyard parable, this might be about what happens the next day. Do those first laborers go off in a huff, grumbling because the lord wasn't fair, according to their own definition? Do they figure, "Hey, I'll just wait around until 5:00 tomorrow evening and then come in and get that denarius anyway"? 

Are they content to get just enough? Get that salvation by the skin of their teeth and put in no more work toward the vineyard, the kingdom, than necessary?

Or do they see the mercy of their lord and think, "Wow. If this guy has such a loving heart that he'll grant the full wage to this dude...what will lie in store for me if I serve him faithfully for weeks and months and years?"

This, my friends, represents a key difference in the thought of us, His workers. Do we view what we do for Him as mere labor for a wage? Do we count the hours we put in and the reward we see at the end of the day and grumble and complain? Is it enough to simply have been given that salvation? Is it enough to know we'll get into heaven? To get that final paycheck?

Or do we view it instead as heirs to that vineyard? In ancient society, the most faithful of servants were quite often given an inheritance along with the sons. This is what Jesus speaks of us receiving too, and which Paul expounds on even more. We are co-heirs with Christ. That means we're not just laboring in that vineyard for a day's wage. We are laboring because we want it to thrive. Because we want it to grow. Because we know that our futures are linked to it. We serve because we love our Lord, our Father, and want Him to look at our work and pronounce it good.

We do not earn salvation, other than by joining Him in His vineyard, by accepting and believing in the gift He offers--but there's more to eternity than simply being there. There's that hundredfold. There's listening for and hearing His call, and then obeying it. There's sacrifice. There's giving up what the world says we should want in favor of what He says we need in order to attain perfection. There's going into that vineyard every day, going above and beyond, not because we think we need to earn that denarius--but because we are invested in the vineyard and in the landowner.

I don't want to be just a laborer. I don't want to view this life that way--that I'm just toiling every day for a wage. 

I want to work for Him because of all He's done for me. 
I want to sacrifice for Him because of how He has already sacrificed for me. 
I want Him to look at me and not see someone who will do the bare minimum to get salvation. I want Him to see someone He knows will come running when He has a task that needs attention. 

I want to be one of His trusted servants, faithful...an heir.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Word of the Week - Companion


So we all know what a companion is...but if you're anything like me, you've never paused to examine where the word came from.

Com is Latin for "with." Okay...making sense so far. A companion is someone you're with.

But I'd never stopped to realize that the panion part is from panis--the Latin word for "bread." So a companion is literally "someone with whom you eat bread."

Just goes to show that as far back as you care to look, when you live or travel or spend time with someone, food is going to be involved. 😉 Sharing a meal has always been one of the most important aspects of our social bonding. Cool to see that it's the root even of the words for it!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Thoughtful About . . . the Inspiration


We serve a gracious God, don't we? Not only has He given us His Son, His Word, but He continues to speak and minister to us today. As a creative, I can tell you in all honesty that there are many days when I just have to squeeze my eyes shut and say, "Give me the words, Lord. I'm not sure I have them otherwise." And He does. Because He is oh-so-faithful.

As someone who pretty much lives and breathes the publishing industry, I know this is pretty common. And I know many, many of us have been given stories to tell by the Lord. Now, that's not saying these are Scripture. But they still contain Truth. They still have something in them that will minister to His children. This is a sacred calling, in my mind. 

But this can come with danger, too. As an author, editor, and designer, I talk to a lot of authors. Whether they're working on novels, non-fiction, screenplays, poems, or songs, writers are always going to be seekers of inspiration. And there's something I've heard more often than I can count. Some variation of:

God gave me this story.
God downloaded this story straight to my brain.
God told me to write this.

Maybe people say that because they want everyone else to be as excited about it as they are. But...here's the thing. All too often, people use inspiration as an excuse for laziness. They think that because God provided the idea, that they don't have to do anything other than write it down. 

Oh, my friends. Please. Please don't treat the Lord's whisper so cheaply!

There's a story of a missionary who, as a young woman, realized that God was calling her to serve as a doctor to the women of a remote area of India, where the women were otherwise not permitted to seek medical care if it would involve a male doctor tending them. This came to her like a bolt. An epiphany. A sure calling.

But she did not, therefore, stroll out into the village at the age of eighteen and say, "Okay, y'all, God told me to be your doctor, so here I am! Come be doctored!" That would have been ridiculous, right? She had to first go to college, then to med school. She had to do internships and residencies. It took her years before she was ready to make good on that call. That inspiration. And she did it because that's what it took to answer God's call. It took WORK.

Why do authors sometimes think the stories or ideas He gives us deserve less? Or that they can never be changed or edited or tweaked?

Here's what I've discovered: God gives us the inspiration we need to get started. But that just the beginning. Not the end.

My own example exists in A Soft Breath of Wind. If you want to talk about God "downloading" a story to your brain, this is the one I'd had that experience with. We'd just moved back home after living in Annapolis for years. Xoe was a few months old. A Stray Drop of Blood was just a few months older. I'd had no intention of writing a sequel to it, but as I rocked Xoe one morning, it came to me. Who Quickens the Dead, it was called. That sequel I hadn't planned to write.

Benjamin and Samuel, all grown up. Two young women, one with the gift of discernment, one who was demon-possessed. In the course of the next two days, this very long and involved story came to me in full detail. I'm talking, sit down and write pages and pages of notes detail. I had full scenes in my head. The complete cast of characters. The themes, the plot, the beautiful Truths I wanted to draw out.

In that lovely frenzy of inspiration, I sat down and wrote a chapter. And then I screwed up my nose. Because it stank. I knew enough to know that. This, though it exactly followed the inspiration God had given me, was not good enough.

Years went by. I wrote other books. This one was always there, waiting, and a few times I drew it out and fiddled with it. I learned more, I wrote more, I did more, I got other contracts, Stray Drop began genuinely selling. But every time I considered this God-given story, it didn't take long for me to realize that the time for it wasn't ripe yet. I wasn't ready. Maybe I had the inspiration, but I didn't yet have the ability to make it what it deserved to be.

Seven years later, the moment finally came. And in such a way there was no mistaking it. I was hard at work on a historical romance, just getting started on it, when I had a Skype call with a book club who had just read A Stray Drop of Blood. Now, it had been seven years since that book released--let's just say, my brain wasn't really in that mode. But as I talked to these ladies, He moved me to tears at how He was still using this story. And when they asked me if I had a sequel planned and I gave my usual, "Yeah, I have one planned out, I just haven't had a chance to write it" speech, something stirred within me.

It was time. In the next week, I came up with a more compelling title and designed a cover. I drew out those old notes, and I gave it an overhaul to make it more powerful.

And then God gave me the time to write it...in the form of a cancellation of the contract I'd been under. Not exactly how I expected that to happen, but He really couldn't have been any clearer! I'd prayed, "Lord, I know You want me to write this, that I'm capable of it now, but I just don't have time..." and there we go--He made time for me, LOL.

So I wrote the book, WhiteFire published the book. And I'm pleased with how it turned out. But you know what? It's not identical to that idea I got when my daughter was a baby. Things changed as I wrote it. And they changed for the better. What God gave me was raw material. I had to cut it and polish it and turn it into something worthy of the passion He'd given me for it.

I think we often have this idea that, when God whispers to our spirit, if we change anything at all, we're disobeying. 

I can't believe that's true. God gives us what we need. But as we work, we grow. The visions and ideas that got us started often evolve into something even more amazing that we could have imagined--because that's how God works. He takes our humble offerings--our time and hard work and passion--and adds His glory to them.

Our job isn't to cling to the raw materials and claim they're the end-all, be-all. Our job is to work them. To give them the love and care they deserve. To make them the best they can be. And to admit that maybe we don't always know best--which might mean we don't even know exactly what He gave us. 

Sometimes it's only through the exploration of a calling that we truly learn what it was He gave us at the beginning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

EBook Sale - An Hour Unspent


For the first time ever, one of my new releases is a featured ebook sale! If you haven't read Barclay's story yet, now is the perfect time to snag the ebook. Available for a limited time from selected retailers for just $0.79!!! Check out the links below for your preferred retailer. 

About the Book

With Danger Creeping Ever Closer,
Do Their Dreams Still Matter?

Once London's top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war, including keeping an eye on a talented engineer working as a clockmaker. But not until he rescues the man's daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly dreamed and worked for independence, but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end their engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clock repair with her father, she can't help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges deeper into war, the race is on for any technological edge, and Evelina's father's ideas have captured the attention of many--perhaps too many. As danger seems to encroach from every side, it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape.

Below are a few retailers that have the book at $0.79 and $0.99. Please verify the price before you purchase the book as retailers may change the cost. 






Happy Reading!


Monday, January 7, 2019

Word of the Week - Auld Lang Syne



I know, I know, I'm a week late for this one. But on New Year's, my family asked what in the world this song means, so I figured it would be a great feature for my first Word of the Week post in January!

I've never really looked too deeply into this song and the subsequent popularization of the phrase, but the credit for it goes to Robert Burns (he would be the one in the header image), who wrote it in 1788. The words auld lang syne are Scottish dialect, literally meaning "old long since." Which is more or less, "the good old days" or "days long ago." The entire poem (set to a melody already known by the time Burns wrote this), is basically saying, "let's drink a toast to the good old days."

If you're like me and have never bothered learning all the words to this one, here's a side-by-side of the original word including the Scottish phrases, and the English translation:



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Word of the Year - Promise


As the old year draws to a close, I always pray for a word for the new year. Something I ought to keep in mind through the coming months. Something God whispers to my spirit.

Sometimes I get one. Sometimes I don't.

For 2018, there was no word that stood out. And given 2017, I didn't mind that. See, the last word I received was Overcome. An encouraging word, a word of promise. But a word that was also a warning. Even as I got it, I was hedging. "Maybe it's not for me to live--maybe it's for me to give." And it was, in a way. In May of 2017, my sister was diagnosed with lymphoma. I sat down to write her some encouraging cards to take to the hospital with her for her first treatment and was looking up scriptures to include, and one of them was the very verse that inspired that Word of the Year. I got chills, let me just tell you. And I knew. I knew that word had been for my whole family, and I knew my sister would overcome this cancer--that God would overcome it. I wrote to her about how God had given me that word six months ago. And I was so, so glad He did.

Even so, when no whispers of yearly words came to me in 2018, I kinda breathed a sigh of relief, LOL.

But I was praying yet again for a word this past week. Usually when they come, it's when I'm busy. Often in church. During a song or a sermon, a word will just LEAP at me. This time, I sat down and prayed, "Lord, would You give me a word for 2019?" In usual fashion, my thoughts went something like this: "I remember when You gave me Shine. And then Mine. And..."

Promise.

It wasn't a leap, a brilliant flash. It was the softest of whispers. Soft enough that I kinda went, "Huh? Was that me or You, Lord?"

Given that I still had a week left in 2018 at that point, I let it simmer and stew. I waited for something louder, brighter, more energetic. But every time I drew that word back out, something settled softly around my heart.

Promise.

We all know what it means. A declaration of what we mean to do. A reason to expect something. But when I sought out a Bible verse to go along with the word, something else struck me. That in the Bible, promise isn't just used in that way we use it. It's used in the same way blessing is--a word that itself has power. God gave the PROMISE to Abraham. And then God gave the PROMISE of His Spirit after Jesus. God gave the PROMISE of salvation and eternal life and a return of His Son.

Promise doesn't just carry expectation, but power.

Biblegateway.com recommends 2 Peter 3 when one does a keyword search on promise:

...scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?" ...
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

What struck me about this passage is that what mankind sees as a breach of promise, God sees as its ultimate fulfillment. When time drags on and we think He's forgotten us, that's when He's exercising His mercy. He's giving us time. He's preparing us. He's drawing us to Him. 

I don't know how the word promise will play out in 2019. But it will have me waiting with expectation. It will have me clinging to His Spirit and welcoming His timing, be it long or short. And it will be a constant reminder that He knows the plans He has for me...even when I don't.

Do you pray for a word for the year, or perhaps make resolutions? If you'd like to share, I'd love to hear!