When the Words Don't Come

February 28, 2015

It's not a necessarily "dry" season...much as I hate it I've cried more than I like to admit in the last month. But the words just won't come. They don't come. But perhaps it's me not letting them.
Because they're far from perfect. They're far from, "God is good all the time and life may be tough but I'm happy."

My fiction I haven't touched in far too long. And I miss it but I just don't feel it some days. I miss the characters, miss my excitement I had for the story...but I know if I try writing I'll fail miserably.

Not fail at writing--after all no one writes a perfect first draft. *drives that nail deeper into brain*
I fail my expectations. I compare. I worry about how much revising I'll have to do.
And I'm worn and distracted right now.

But I know when the words don't come that typically that's exactly when I need to let them out.

When the words don't come I grow frustrated. Restless. Anxious. Angry. Bummed. Then I'm tempted to throw in the towel and just not write. But I can't. If I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing. My characters. This blog I do love so much. All the stories I have yet to write that come in blips and waves.

When the words don't come especially when I have a rare stretch of time to write, I have a choice. To write, to try hard and write a crummy first draft, or to not bother trying since I'm not in an "ideal" frame of mind/heart.

When the words don't come I wonder what's wrong with me and think of the countless other writers I know who are wives and mothers and homeschoolers and who have less time than I do but who are so successful and amazing and still real. I shake in my boots and wonder if I'm a poser; I have only completed two novels and am struggling with a sequel. And I call myself a writer.

When the words don't come they swirl around in my head in ridiculous circles and questions and wondering...when I really should be shutting my mental mouth and hiding in the shadow of the Almighty. Letting Him comfort me and letting Him be my words and identity.

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust...”
God speaks here:
“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.
Ps. 91 1&2,14-16

Where I've Been

February 20, 2015

It's been a month today since my grandfather had a routine PCP appointment and was admitted to the hospital that same day. 

Of banding together. Pitching in. Trying to thrive in the midst of surviving family crises. A lot of tears, and not just mine. I've done a lot of cooking, which has been kind of fun. Spending more time with my youngest siblings has had it's fun moments too. And we're all human under this roof, and don't pretend to be otherwise, so yeah.
We have our moments.
I haven't written a blessed thing as ya'll can probably tell, but I've needed to. SO much.
Mum: "Just write. You don't have to publish every blog post. Just pour it out and don't bottle your words up!"
She's wise and I need to listen to her more.
I don't think I've ever felt more of a mess...okay, let me amend that. I have never felt like my life (my circumstances) is a mess, more so than this winter. 
Me, by myself and I?
I'm trying hard to remember that I am a beautiful mess.
Anyone else struggle with remembering ^ this  ^ ?

Coming soon to A Northern Belle: 
The InkpenBelle 2015 recap with lots of pictures.
It was a terrific Valentines Day weekend with Rachel and her family and I did not want to leave.
Because of their incomparable hospitality and warmth. Because of the fun.
And because of real life at home. If I could've stayed longer, I would have.

Have to run and check on some simmering mushrooms on the stove for dinner.
I'll be back soon.

Cover Reveal | The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White

February 10, 2015

Today I am happy to share with ya'll the gorgeous cover for fellow historical novelist Roseanna White's forthcoming release, The Lost Heiress. 

Brook Eden has never known where she truly belongs. Though raised in the palace of Monaco, she’s British by birth and was brought to the Grimaldis under suspicious circumstances as a babe. When Brook’s friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, Brook leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to travel to the moors of the North Sea to the estate of her supposed family.

The mystery of her mother’s death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the rest of the family and the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook’s life is threatened do they draw close—but their loyalty may come too late to save Brook from the same threat that led to tragedy for her mother.

As heir to a dukedom, Justin is no stranger to balancing responsibilities. When the matters of his estate force him far from Brook, the distance between them reveals that what began as friendship has grown into something much more. But how can their very different loyalties and responsibilities ever come together?

And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession—and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her.

When I first saw the cover, and then read the back cover blurb, I was enchanted. It's very reminiscent of Downton Abbey to me, with the upstairs and downstairs folk of an English estate, complete with intrigue and mystery. Without further ado...the beautiful cover.

Roseanna M. White pens her novels beneath her Betsy Ross flag, with her Jane Austen action figure watching over her. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two children, editing and designing, and pretending her house will clean itself. The Lost Heiress is Roseanna’s tenth published book. Her novels range from biblical fiction to American-set romances to her new British series. She lives with her family in West Virginia. Learn more at www.RoseannaMWhite.com

Website: www.RoseannaMWhite.com
Blog: www.RoseannaMWhite.blogspot.com

Add The Lost Heiress to your shelf on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22383696-the-lost-heiress

Pre-order at ChristianBook.com: http://www.christianbook.com/the-lost-heiress-roseanna-white/9780764213502/pd/642135?event=ESRCN

Sign-up for Roseanna's newsletter to get updates on availability at other retailers, like Amazon and B&N: http://eepurl.com/hIvJw

For Such a Time as This

February 9, 2015

So. Chick flicks. You know how there's always that moment nearer the end where the charmingly relatable heroine has a sort of epiphany and changes her life? She gets herself out of the rut, stands up for herself, realizes what she really wants...and usually lands the guy of her dreams. 
Life doesn't work like a movie. And sometimes those "stuck in a rut" times are long seasons that don't end after 120 minutes and a "Happily Ever After." Some days they only get longer. Slow, steady seasons are not to be thought of as stagnant--and I'm speaking to myself here. They are easily confused with that depressing word, but like any other season in life, our circumstances are fleeting and are only used by God to draw us deeper into His embrace.
Beyond that, think for a second that maybe exactly where you find yourself in life, exactly what you're working at day in and day out, is exactly where you need to be thriving. You are where you are for such a time as this. Life's not perfect and doesn't go the way we like to think it should. Me? I've felt...trapped, by that truth. So stuck in it that I haven't taken much time to look beyond it to the One who's working in the wings on my future, and using me in the present. Two huge dreams of mine have yet to come true. And it very well may be years until they do. Whether they ever come true or not, so long as I keep trying to do what God's called me to do, I'll be all right.

I may not have a novel published with a publishing company. But the story of my heart is out there in living color and ink and paper, and God is using it. I confess to having the thought once or twice of, "Why bother writing?" but the fact of the matter is, I can't stop. Nor should I. 

My heart may sometimes ache with the space reserved by God for the man I marry and the children I'll one day bear, but my fierce loyal, nurturing spirit will not be flipped "on" when I one day say "I do." God's using it in the sometimes mundane, sometimes rushed, sometimes crisis-mode times of living at home with my family. and helping out as needed. My parents, my three younger siblings who bring me so much joy; they see me in the good, the bad and the ugly and love me anyway and treasure and value me. Not because of how much I do, but simply because I'm their daughter, their sister.

Maybe, just maybe, I am where I am, doing what I'm doing, being me for just such a time as this. All it boils down to is me choosing to see myself the way God sees me. Choosing to obey Him. Choosing to find my identity in Him and His perfect will alone. 

I am claiming this as my moment. My chick-flick heroine epiphany moment that, please Lord, will only deepen into a more abiding love and trust in the Author and Perfector of my faith Who calls me to approach the throne of grace with confidence. Who calls me to not just keep breathing, but thrive in the freedom of His grace.

Currently | February

February 7, 2015

This short month is a week old, but yet still this winter drags on. It's a cycle of, do the next thing, breathe, fret, wonder, let go, do the next thing, breathe, and repeat. But then there are those grace upon grace moments I often miss. Like meals from caring, generous friends that first crisis week. Grace from those wonderful people in the form of chili, a casserole, pizzas...it helps. 
Grace in the fact that my grandfather is regaining strength, slowly but surely, on his right side after the stroke that happened at some point right after/during the triple bypass two weeks ago. Keep up the prayers for him, and our family.


Reading: What a Girl Wants by Kristen Billerbeck. Truly laugh out loud relatable, this chick-lit is uplifting, encouraging and convicting. And just the ticket to an escape through pages of a book.
Writing: The sequel to Amongst the Roses, slow but sure and not as much as I'd prefer. And a historical romance set in 1830's England. Think the era and fashion of Wives and Daughters, with the countryside of Sense and Sensibility thrown in. And a Colonel Brandon-esque character, of course.
Creating: Baby afghans! A bunch of friends and acquaintances are expecting bundles of joy in the coming months and I am having so much fun crocheting unique afghans tailored to each individual color scheme.
Loving: this post from Relevant mag. I wanted to shout, "YES. THANK YOU" after reading it.
Listening to: this latest single from Christina Perri. Be still my hopeless romantic heart. And the video has a handsome OUAT pirate in it as well. Bonus!
Looking forward to: meeting this fabulous chica for the first time over a long Valentines Day weekend.

Linking up with Anne and Jenna for their Currently Link up

Glass Slippers | Unwritten pt. 6

February 4, 2015

New to the story? Catch up here:

If I didn't try on another pair of shoes as long as I lived, I would be happy. However, if my godmother had her crazy way, we'd hit three more stores before dinner time and after night fell. I stumbled over to the storefront window in my designer stilettos and peered out to the throngs of people pulsing across every conceivable surface of New York City. Times Square was just barely visible from where we were now—our fifth stop of the day—and I yearned to breathe unrushed air and fully take in the city in all its glory. At my own pace.
I fingered the charm on my necklace as a sales associate came over to pack up our countless pairs of shoes. I was recovering from both sticker-shock and my godmother's extravagant taste and generosity. Aunt Bettina herself had "splurged" and bought herself a new pair of shoes she was just sure would match her gala gown exactly.
"What do you fancy for dinner, Elle?"
Aunt Bettina had quickly fallen into using my blogger pseudonym but I was still getting used to it. Jolted out of my dazed reverie, I dropped my necklace and hefted the umpteemth bag over my arm so we could make a beeline before Bettina got distracted by another crystal-encrusted shoe.
"I'm not picky…do you think we could go to Chinatown?" My sense of direction had been turned upside down and backwards upon our arrival into the city three days ago, so I had no idea what we were close to. I knew Times Square was north of our current location, but places like the theater district or the stock exchange were blurs as we taxied from store to store. I had not spotted a single historical site I had hastily jotted down on my Must See list in my notebook on the long drive from Mayville to Aunt Bettina's penthouse in Greenwich.
"Sounds lovely! I know the best sushi place there, and we're fairly close. Oh!" Bettina gasped as we drew near the doorway and did a complete one-eighty. I bit back a groan and followed her. She rattled off the famous designer name and the exquisite work on the shoes that made it appear to be shards of glittering, mirror-like glass. They were pretty…but completely useless and fragile.
"It's quite uncanny, Nora. Your glass slipper necklace is almost the exact style of these beauties." I startled at her use of my usual , and touched my neck. Sure enough, the only article I could claim from my birth mother was the exact type of shoe as the pair dangling from Aunt Bettina's glittering hands.
"I helped your mother pick out that necklace for you before ..."
Suddenly in tune to the words from my character of a godmother, my heart thumped louder in my ears as I stepped directly in front of Bettina—forcing her to meet my gaze. "I didn't know you knew my birth mother…you're a cousin of Mom's, aren't you?"
Bettina fluttered and flailed, her shopping bags swinging precariously on her  wrists. "Why, of course I am…I only meant to say that your necklace looks like something I would have chosen for you. Come now. Let's get these shoes wrapped up and grab some dinner."
I trudged dutifully behind her the rest of the day—hardly getting a word out from my aunt who seemed to suddenly have grown mute. If she knew my birth mother…I bit my lip, thinking of how many questions now aching behind my heart could possibly be answered if Aunt Bettina would be honest with me.

The real question was—did I really want to hear the truth? Was I even ready for it?