Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Remember When . . . King Edward Reigned?

Confession: I knew the Edwardian era followed the Victorian, and that it was because King Edward VII followed Queen Victoria on the throne of England. But it took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize that King Edward = Prince Albert, known as "Bertie" in the reign of his mother. I'd researched Victorian England. I knew about the prince. But I didn't realize he'd changed his name upon taking the throne, LOL.

That was a pretty easy lesson to learn about the Edwardian days, though. But even that had some details I didn't realize!

In my research for Scotland, I found this awesome book: Edwardian Scotland by C. W. Hill. It's proving to be invaluable! And one of the first fun facts I learned was that, not only did Queen Victoria specifically request that her son not change his name, but Scotland as a whole objected to the one he chose and refused to acknowledge the "VII"! They claimed that the first three King Edwards of England were not monarchs of Scotland, and in June of 1901 they began collecting signatures for a petition against the name--which eventually filled five volumes.

Who knew you could object to such a thing?? Not that King Edward gave a whit what anyone else thought of his choice, LOL. He's called "the merry monarch," and much of the British empire was a bit torn about him. On the one hand, he eschewed the morals his mother had drilled into them--he was a gambler, a womanizer, and showed blatant disregard for many of the principles they held dear. But on the other hand, he was affable, amiable, and made no major blunders as a ruler. So all in all, he was well-loved...but not a role model.

Of course, one of the best-known traits of the era named after him is the extravagance that the nobility enjoyed. Edwardian Scotland helped put that in perspective for me. When the gentlemen went grouse hunting, they regularly bagged thousands of pheasants. Thousands, in one weekend! And the king's meals went like this:

Breakfast - haddock, poached eggs, bacon, sausages and kidneys, chicken.

Morning snack - lobster salad and cold game or chicken

Luncheon - eight or ten courses (more if there were guests); the king's favorite foods were game, so one would often see duck, chicken, York ham, chops or steaks...or for a humbler option, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.

Tea - scones, crumpets, muffins, tarts, cakes, gateaux

Dinner - twelve to fourteen courses (!!!), with more game. This was they broke out things like the "turducken" of their day, like a pheasant stuffed with a snipe stuffed with truffles and garnished with sauce. What did they call that, I wonder? Pheasniples?

And apparently the Kardashians are far from the first celebrities to lend their image to products. ;-) Okay, so we knew that. But I had no idea that the nobility in the Edwardian era--and even the king himself!--were featured in ads. He famously posed for this one for Horniman's Pure Tea.

Of course, as the title of the book suggests, Edward didn't confine his time to England--he vacationed every winter in the Highlands, where he kept company with Andrew Carnegie and British nobles in Scotland. He was unfortunately deceased by the time my book starts, so no mentioning the king in the neighborhood for me (pout, pout), but I'm interested in seeing what the royal family was up to by the time my story begins, once I get further in Edwardian Scotland. In the meantime, I'm soaking up all the awesome minutia!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Readers Needed

We're less than four months from the release of A Soft Breath of Wind. Aaaaaggghhh! Exciting, but also a little panic-inducing. See, it's been a long time since WhiteFire has put out one of my books. And as I'm one of WhiteFire's editors, I'm a little paranoid about the editing on this one, LOL. Because we all know authors can't find all the mistakes in their own books. And while I trust our other editors implicitly, having many sets of eyes on a book is still vital.

So I decided that this book needs some beta readers. Beta readers are folks who agree to read a digital version of the book and note any mistakes they find. I'm also, of course, going to need some endorsers and influencers.

Are you interested in reading an advance copy of A Soft Breath of Wind (you can find a blurb of the book at the bottom of this post)? If so, email me at roseanna at roseannawhite dot com and let me know which role you'd like to fill. The breakdown and time requirements are as follows:

August - Endorsers

In just a few weeks, I'll send out copies in your choice of format (digital or paperback), for you to read (either partially or in full) and consider for endorsement. To endorse, you must be:
  • A published author with a decent following (preferably in historical fiction)
  • A high-profile reviewer
Endorsements will be due back by September 1. There will be space for one or two on the cover of the paperback version, and the rest will go on an interior fly page. If you also wanted to post a review to websites and blogs after release, you wouldn't hear me argue. ;-)

September - Beta Readers

These spots are filled - unless you're such a fabulous editor that I just can't pass you up. ;-)

In early September, I'll send out digital copies of the book (your choice of format) and you will:
  • Find typos
  • Let me know any places that aren't clear
  • Mark any other mistakes you see
  • Give me your overall impressions
  • (Optional) agree to post a review once the book releases, if your opinion is favorable
Beta readers must agree to have a list of things to be fixed emailed to me within two weeks of receiving the book, to give me time to input these final changes before finalizing the manuscript.

October - Influencers

Spot left only for digital copies!

In late October, I'll send out your choice of format (digital or paperback) of final copies of the book. In return for this free book, you agree to read it and do at least a couple of the following:
  • Post reviews on retailer and review sites (Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc.)
  • Buy a copy for everyone you see in the grocery line
  • Blog about it (assuming you have a blog)
  • Have the cover tattooed across your forehead
  • Talk it up to all your friends (and book clubs!)
  • Take out an airplane banner ad for it
  • Request your library stock it
  • Invest in a giant blinking sign for your roof that says "Buy A Soft Breath of Wind!"
  • Request your bookstores stock it
  • Leave some bookmarks/postcards with libraries or stores or in waiting rooms
Now, all those influencing suggestions (ahem) hinge on you liking the book. As a reviewer who gets copies through the publishing house, you are welcome to post a negative review. But an influencer is not meant to be unbiased--an influencer is meant to be Team Roseanna. So if you read the book and hate it, just don't ever breathe a word, LOL. If you like/love it, please spread the word!

While it's obviously best if you can do some of these (the reviewing at least) as close to the November 15 release date as possible, there's no time limit on this one--a positive review and word-of-mouth is helpful at any time! So while I appreciate you getting right on this, I'm not going to get mad if life gets in the way and you don't get a review up for a couple months. =)

Are you interesting in taking on one of these roles? Or a couple (you could both beta and influence, for example)? Please let me know ASAP! (Influencer space is limited) Again, my email address is roseanna at roseannawhite dot com, or you can leave a comment below with your email address and I'll contact you. =)

About A Soft Breath of Wind

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?

Samuel Asinius, adoptive son of a wealthy Roman, has always called Benjamin brother. When their travels take them to Jerusalem for Passover, the last thing he expects is to cross paths with the woman who sold him into slavery as a child the mother he long ago purged from his heart. His sister, Dara, quickly catches Benjamin s eye, but Samuel suspects there is something dark at work.

When Dara, a fortune-teller seeking the will of a shadowy master determined to undermine the Way, comes into the path of Zipporah, a whirlwind descends upon them all.

Only the soft wind of the Spirit can heal their scars...with a love neither divination nor discernment could foresee.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Word of the Week - Backfire

Don't you hate it when plans backfire?

Ever stop to wonder how long they've been doing it--with that exact word, anyway? No? Well, pause to wonder. ;-)

One of the first meanings of backfire to find its way into English was a literal fire--one lit on a prairie to stop the advance of a wildfire and deprive it of fuel. This backfire joined the language in 1839, as a noun, with the verb of this meaning following in the 1880s.

But that's certainly not what we mean by it in casual conversation today, right?

The next familiar meaning is fro 1897, that of "premature ignition of an internal combustion engine." So the car that backfires. Sure.

What I find interesting is that the figurative meaning of "to affect the initiator rather than the intended object," from 1912, is the newest meaning...from the oldest one. This of course alludes to the back-firing of a fire arm, when there's an explosion from the breech of a gun--which dates from 1775-1780 in America. Backfire is, then, it seems, a word from the American Revolution. Who knew? (And okay, so I'm extrapolating that from the dates, but it seems logical, LOL.)

(The photo above is a normally operating flintlock rifle, not a backfiring one. Just FYI)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . A Year

Well, I've done it. I finished my read-the-Bible-in-a-year program. A smidgeon late, I grant you--those weeks of working on the old house happened to fall during a stretch with looooong assignments that I could never finish, so I got behind.  But I finished my Chronological Bible in a year and 3 weeks.

When I undertook this last year, it was because I knew my daily reading had slacked off, and I knew I wanted to spend more time with Him. As I sat in a service at my church's association meetings and listened to the conversation on how we should set aside time for Him, the conviction settled in that this was something I could and should do. So I went home, got out my Bible, and edited the schedule in the back of it to begin in July rather than January.

I've read all the way through my Bible several times before, but it's pretty amazing to realize how much of it I'd totally forgotten. Or just never registered perhaps. I've learned a lot. About history, about God, about faith. I can't hope to put it all in one blog post, but I want to dwell on some of those lessons, if only a few right now.

God is Deliberate
He doesn't direct us randomly. He doesn't say "Yeah, do whatever. I'll make it work." He has a very particular plan, and when you don't obey it, then you can't expect His blessing. We might not always understand why says "do this" one day and "don't do this" same thing the next day. But there's a reason. And we need to seek Him first, not after we've already made our decisions.

Details Matter
That's the thing I took most from all the descriptions of the ark (Noah's), the ark (of the Covenant), and the temple. Each detail was given with precision. Each detail was carried out with precision. Each detail was worth recording with precision. We as readers millennia removed might find some of those details boring. But they matter. Every detail of our lives matter. And we, as living temples of the Lord in this day of the Spirit, need to remember that. If God was so particular about the articles brought into the temple and how each was to be used, don't you think it matters what we fill our hearts and minds with?

Obedience is a Sign of Our Hearts
Sometimes we might be confused by why Cain's offering was refused. Or why the sons of Aaron were struck dead for getting a few details wrong in the sacrifice. Why touching the Ark of the Covenant to steady it killed a guy. But it's like this--God tells us very particularly what to do and what not to do. If we disobey knowingly, it means we think our way is better than God's way. Talk about pride! I've gotten over thinking God was cruel to do what he said he's do--I'm more amazed that it doesn't happen more often.

God Cares About our Little Things
Like the ax head, for which He rewrote the laws of physics. The missing coin of the woman at the well. The short man who just wants to see over the heads of the crowd. He cares. He meets those needs. Sometimes in simple ways--"Come down, Zachias, I will dine with you today."--and sometimes in miraculous ones. But no matter how, He answers.

God Is Everywhere
We learn about His omnipresence as kids, right? God can be everywhere in the universe at once. Sure. But what really matters is that He's where we are. In exile in Babylon. In the depths of our sorrow. In the bottom of a lion-filled pit. In a fiery furnace. In a depleted storeroom. In a drought-choked field. In a flooded valley. God is there, in whatever problem we're facing. He's there, in the shouts of victory. He's there, waiting for us to reach out, to call, to cry for Him. He's there, waiting to tell us when and how and where to move.

God Knows Us by Name
Maybe that sounds silly. But this read-through also reminded me of the power in names. Exactly twice in the Bible we hear that God told His true name to someone. First an angle who was given leave to slaughter the disobedient in the camps of Israel, and a few chapters later, to Moses. His name gave those two creatures power to do what no one else in history has done. The name of Jesus will make knees bow in all the universe. The names He gives to his servants signify their hearts and their purpose. And He knows us by name. Not just the name our parents chose for us, but the name that encapsulates all we are. All we can be. All we will ever do. He knows that name. He whispers it to us when we need it most. He calls us Rock when we feel pretty tempestuous. He calls us Deliverer when we feel like a coward who has run away. He calls us Wise Teacher when we feel like an outcast in a strange land.

Sometimes I wonder what my true name is...or where He's leading me next...or if the small details of my life are pleasing to Him. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever conquer my weaknesses...or learn to fully, truly, always obey. Sometimes I wonder if I can ever be what I know I should be.

But you know, reading through those old stories...I learn anew that whatever I am, if I lay it at the feet of God, if I cling to the hand of the Savior, then it's enough. Whatever I have, it's enough--so long as I give it back to Him. Not just my extra, but my best. All for Him...because He is all to us.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Remember When . . . The Kids Learned?

It was with great shock that I realized a few days ago that we have only a month of summer break left before school starts up again. I'm not ready to be done with my summer...but I gotta say, I'm looking forward to this next school year. We're studying early American history, and the books are just awesome. When I unpacked the box when they arrived a month ago, I kept going, "Oh, wow! We're reading this? Yay!"

So for my post on Colonial Quills today, I decided to answer that "So what about early American books for kids?" question once and for all. ;-) I've posted our entire reading list, complete with links and pictures.

We're also hoping to visit some east coast landmarks and historic homes, so if you have any favorites do let me know!

Early American Reading for Kids

by Roseanna M. White
I'm a homeschooling mom. That means that, while we're still basking in the joys of summer, I'm also planning out the next school year (less than a month until it begins!). While my family is planning vacations purely for fun, I'm trying to figure out how to turn them into field trips. And I admit it--I'm excited about next year. Why? Because we're starting 2 years of American History. =D

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Word of the Week - Hillbilly

I had no internet yesterday, so the Word of the Week is coming to us a day late. But I found a fun one, quite by accident. =)

Growing up in West Virginia, I've heard the term "hillbilly" plenty of times. And of course, there are the famous ones from Beverly Hills. ;-) But I really had no idea where the term came from. Turns out it's pretty straight forward--"hill" (the southern Appalachians, to be precise) plus the proper name "Billy." But the fun part comes from some of the earliest quotes using the term.

First is the original one, from 1892:

Then again, I do not think It will do so well. I would hate to see some old railroad man come here and take my job, and then, I don t think It is right to hire some Hill Billy and give him the same right as I just because he was hired the same time I was. ["The Railroad Trainmen's Journal," vol. IX, July 1892] 

And this one from 1900 is even more interesting:

In short, a Hill-Billie is a free and untrammelled white citizen of Alabama, who lives in the hills, has no means to speak of, dresses as he can, talks as he pleases, drinks whiskey when he gets it, and fires of his revolver as the fancy takes him. ["New York Journal," April 23, 1900]

If that is, indeed, the definition, then I gotta say I don't know a single hillbilly, LOL.

Hope everyone's having a good week!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thoughtful About . . . Right and Wrong

There is absolute Right. There is absolute Wrong.

I believe this, absolutely.

There are things we should never, ever do, and things we always should. There is sin. There are consequences. There is righteousness.

Then there's the gray. Sometimes it blurs up against the edges of Right and Wrong, but most of its existence lies spanning the fuzzy gap in between. The gray doesn't deal with sin, just With our own decisions. Our relationships. Our countless day-to-day, minute-to-minute being.

I shouldn't have changed my cat's food--now she has a UTI. I shouldn't have yelled at my kids before I realized what the problem was. I should do the dishes. I should make that phone call.

Things, good and bad, but not Right and Wrong.

Years ago, when Rowyn was nearing a year old and still waking up every couple hours through the night, I was nearing wits' end. I was exhausted, sleep deprived, and had no energy left. I felt snappish and cranky through much of the day. There were times when the constant little hands grabbing at me made me want just five minutes without being touched. I was burned out. And in my mind, someone should have seen it and helped me. My husband should have gotten up more with the kids. He should have given me a morning now and then to sleep in. A grandmother should have seen how I struggled and volunteered to take the kids for an hour--without me asking.

My head was full of should-haves and should-not-haves. And eventually, I accused. I don't honestly remember how the argument started, but it was linked somehow or another to my exhaustion. To my frustration with no one helping. With my total and complete conviction that I was right to want what I wanted, and the rest of the world was wrong not to give it to me.

My husband disagreed, LOL.

I don't remember what he said, or what I said in response. I just remember seeking solitude in the night-darkened living room and deciding I would pray. Desperate for peace, I started out kneeling by the chair and ended up stretched across the floor, with my face to the rug. I cried--rare for me. And I begged God to show him, them, anyone. To show them where they were wrong.

That's when the whisper came, in the recessed of my being. The one that said, And what about where you're wrong?

I went still. The tears slowed. My breath eased out. And that's when the epiphany came. That in much of life, it doesn't matter who's right-er or wrong-er. It doesn't matter which side of the argument is most compelling.

What matters is that I cannot make another person's decisions. God does not choose to make another person's decisions. They are free to do what they will. They are free to be who they are. I can't change it.

All I can change is me. My reactions. My responses. My heart.

My heart.

My heart wasn't pretty at that point in time. It was tired and stressed and felt so alone in my exhaustion. But God showed me that night that He was there. That my family was there. That just because no one was doing what I thought they should, it didn't mean they weren't doing what they needed to. They had their own reasons, their own frustrations, their own exhaustions.

I could choose to be resentful--or I could choose to be thankful.

I made a conscious decision that night to choose gratitude. To choose not to be resentful when I didn't get what I thought I should. I chose to find peace in the quiet mornings with my ever-wakeful little guy. I chose to find joy in granting my night-owl hubby those morning hours to rest before a stressful day at work. I chose to do what I could in where I was rather than always wishing for something more, or less, or different.

I chose surrender.

There are so many days when I still think of that shadowed living room floor and the realizations that filtered in that night. So many days when I choose not to argue because I know it's not worth it. That even if I think my opinions the better ones, that doesn't mean I'm Right. It doesn't mean the other party is Wrong.

I don't have to be the victor in the argument. Most times, I don't even have to argue. I just have to stop. Take a breath. Ignore the glaring, blaring insistence inside that says BUT I'M RIGHT! and ask, "But where am I wrong? Where am I hurting them by insisting? What will I actually lose if I put aside my pride and stop arguing?"

The answer is usually "nothing." Maybe a bit of comfort now and them, and a sliver of that pride--but I have more than enough of that to sustain me, LOL.

But what I stand to gain...that's something different altogether. I'm not a pushover, but I'm often silent in a conflict--because I'd rather not fight than hurt someone I love. My husband often pushes me to talk through things when I'd rather not--because he knows relationships stall in silence. God often whispers in those recesses when I'm being stubborn--because He knows that there are things that matter a whole lot more than clinging to my own determination.

I'm not perfect. I'm still tired sometimes. Still stressed, still exhausted. I still have occasional moments where I just want a bubble around me for an hour or two, with no demands on my person to feed someone or clothe someone or teach someone or even talk to someone.

But never, since that night, have I ever felt that despair again. Because I let go of a stumbling block when I said, "You're right, God. Please, show me where I'm wrong."

I never like the answers when I ask that question. But oh, how I cherish the results.

photo credit: gato-gato-gato via photopin