Word of the Week – Author

Word of the Week – Author

I can’t believe I’ve never looked this one up before, but…clearly I hadn’t, LOL. Because I was completely surprised to learn that author did not originally mean “writer.” Did you know that??

Author has been in use in English since the mid-1300s, taken from the Latin auctor (via French), which means “promoter, producer, father, progenitor; builder, founder; trustworthy writer, authority; historian; performer, doer; responsible person, teacher.” Literally, “one who causes to grow.” So originally, author was used for any creator!

However, it didn’t take long for it to take on special meaning for those who write. By the end of the 1300s, it was being used to differentiate one who created a written work from people who transcribed, translated, or compiled it.

Even more interesting is how it relates to the word authority…which we’ll look at next week. 😉

Word of the Week – Temper

Word of the Week – Temper

Anyone else like to watch Forged in Fire? If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a competition show where smiths are forging knives. So fascinating! Watching that show has taught me that one of the most important things for steel is that it’s well tempered.

Yeah…important for people too, we just don’t do it through heat-treating!

But have you ever wondered how the same word has come to be applied to both our temperaments and things like steel?

Temper, the noun, comes from temper, the verb, which has traveled through the various forms of English from the Latin temperare, which means observe proper measure, be moderate, restrain oneself; mix correctly, mix in due proportion; regulate, rule, govern, manage.” So whether you’re doing it to yourself or to something else, the idea is that you’re reaching the correct measure or balance.

If you look at the root, you’ll notice it also looks a lot like tempus (time), which is no coincidence either. Etymologists aren’t exactly certain when tempus shifted from its root “stretch” to the time-sense of “measure,” but it’s definitely a change that happened back in the Latin days and has traveled forward into English for us.

It gained the meaning of “disposition” around 1590 in English, and by 1600 was specifically used for “calm state of mind” (a good temper). It wasn’t until 1828 that it’s recorded as being used for “bad temper.” That one surprised me, since it’s the primary usage today!

Quiet Warriors

Quiet Warriors

One year ago, I shared about “The Day That Changed Everything…and Nothing” — the day my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. That day that, had we lived in the eras I so love to write about it, he would have died. I know I’ve mentioned this new life a few other times since, but I try not to inundate you all, LOL.

However, it’s November, which means Diabetes Awareness month. It’s exactly one year since I shared that super-long, super-vulnerable post linked above. It’s been 13.5 months since that Day. I thought it would be a good day to invite all of us to pause and look at the quiet warriors among us. Those with invisible diseases that they fight every day. Every…day. Those who wage wars most of us would never dream. Those who fight with faith and hope under burdens so very heavy. I’m not just talking about T1Ds here, I’m talking about all those quiet warriors.

I remember years ago, my best friend was getting her son ready for Halloween. He had epilepsy, and they were on the crazy-intense medical keto diet to try to give his brain a chance to heal itself (and it worked, praise God!). She was telling me about how, all around the country, there were people who put out teal pumpkins–something she’d never paused to think about until it was her kid who needed it. Teal pumpkins, you see, are filled with non-candy treats in consideration of kids with extreme food allergies. And since part of the diet is absolutely NO sugar, this was imperative for her son–candy was an absolute NO. As they hunted through their neighborhoods for teal pumpkins, she was so, so touched that people cared enough about these kids who couldn’t have candy to do that. I also remember her lamenting how her son looked perfectly normal from the outside, so people didn’t know how dangerous life could be for him. That at any moment, he could have a seizure and topple from the playground equipment and seriously injure himself.

That was when I first began to appreciate these quiet warriors among us. Maybe they’re the kids sitting next to yours on the bus. Maybe it’s the woman three cubicles over who has that annoying alarm going off all the time. Maybe it’s the older gentleman holding the door open for you as you rush into the store.

You can’t tell to look at them. But they’re fighting. They’re fighting diseases that are trying to silence them forever, and they’re doing it with bravery, with hope, with strength of spirit. They’re accepting the fact that there are all these lists of things that are “cannot”s for them. For instance, my son:

  • Cannot eat without giving himself an injection
  • Cannot eat without counting all the carbs
  • Cannot eat without measuring everything out exactly
  • Cannot go to bed without taking his long-acting insulin
  • Cannot leave the house without his “go-bag” of insulin and sugar-laden supplies to bring up low blood sugars
  • Cannot enjoy swimming or other activities without either pre-loading himself with sugar and protein or checking every few minutes to make sure he’s not dropping too low (low blood sugars can make a diabetic pass out or have seizures or, in extreme cases, die)
  • Cannot take a shower within 30 minutes of taking insulin

These are just a few of his “cannot”s. These are the limitations that come with his particular war. It’s different, of course, for others. But no less a battle. No less a challenge.

Here’s the thing I’ve witnessed, though, in this last year. These warriors don’t focus on the negatives–they focus on what they CAN do. My son is stronger than he has ever been–physically and emotionally and mentally. He may sigh in frustration, but he does what he needs to do. I can count on one hand the times in the last year he has complained about anything diabetes-related. He gets up every day, and he faces it. He forgives me when I forget something he needs, puts on that stiff upper lip, and just waits for us to get home so he can eat. He laughs with me when we have to make an 8 a.m. detour to three different pharmacies in a strange town to try to find the needles that I didn’t put back in his bag. He learns. He adapts. He takes care of himself. He does not, for one minute, let this disease define him.

And that is the same sort of fortitude I’ve seen not only in other Type 1 kids and adults, but in so many others who have learned to live with what seems to us to be “too much to bear.” They do bear it. And they bear it with strength that inspires me…that inspires me not only to be strong, but to be considerate.

Because I never know what invisible war that person beside me is fighting. I never know if I’m putting them at risk with my actions. I never know if my assumption that they are “normal” because they look “normal” is adding a burden to their battle. I can’t know.

But what I can know is that everyone has some battle they are fighting. Whether it’s chronic illness or disease or depression, whether it’s any one of a thousand different things, they are a warrior. YOU are a warrior. And as a mom of such a warrior, I don’t just salute you–I support you. I will ask myself how I can protect you. How I can make your life easier. How I can consider what you need instead of how those needs may inconvenience me.

As a Type 1 family, we are praying for a cure, and we are so encouraged by the medical advances and studies going on even now (like this, as one example). We pray that someday there will be a solution that will manage this disease for my son, so that all those “cannot”s don’t always rule his days. But we also know that even if that day never comes, he will be a champion.

How do we know? Because we see all the champions that have come before. That are walking this same road even now. We see all the quiet warriors, breaking through enemy lines and seizing the day, chasing their dreams, trusting that even in the worst, there’s Someone holding them.

To all you quiet warriors, I pray God’s strength upon you. And I thank you. Your example has gotten us through this last year. And I can only pray that my warrior’s example will do the same for others.

Fight on!

The JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) is the nation’s leader in fundraising for this cause. They not only support research all across the country, they also provide networking and community opportunities for those living with Type 1.

Word of the Week – Tennis Bracelet

Word of the Week – Tennis Bracelet

We recently celebrated my daughter’s 16th birthday, and one of her requests was to get her ears pierced. I got mine done when I was five, but I actually stopped wearing earrings after high school and just never picked the habit back up…so I thought, “Oh, I’ll go through my jewelry box” on her birthday and pull out any pairs I still had lying around to pass along to her. Well, while I was digging, I found some other jewelry I had put in there when the kids were small and grabby, LOL, including…the diamond tennis bracelet that my husband gave me on our wedding day. I was a bit appalled at myself for having left this beautiful gift hidden in the bottom of my jewelry box drawer for YEARS! I got it out and put it on and delivered the earrings to my daughter, who then asked (of course) “Why is it called a tennis bracelet?”

I had no idea, so looked it up.

As it turns out, the phrase is quite new. It all started with a tennis player named Chris Evert, who played professionally from 1972 – 1989. She wore a diamond in-line bracelet created by George Bedewi, not even taking it off for matches. In one heated match, the bracelet broke–and they actually halted the game to recover it. This put both the bracelet design and the jeweler who created it into the spotlight and brought instant fame to this new bracelet of design…which came to be termed the “tennis” bracelet because of the tennis match that gave it such attention.

I’m quite happy to have rediscovered mine and have it on even as I type this. 😉 Do you like tennis bracelets, diamond or otherwise, or do you prefer another design?

Cover Reveal ~ Shadowed Loyalty

Cover Reveal ~ Shadowed Loyalty

Back in August I shared the announcement about Shadowed Loyalty, my 1920s Chicago story, that will be coming from Chrism Press in May of 2022. Well, not long after that, I had the joy of working on the cover for it!

It isn’t often that I get to design my own book covers, and while Chrism Press is a branch of WhiteFire Publishing (the company my husband and I own), the designs are all done by the amazing Rhonda Ortiz, so I was fully prepared to come, hat in hands and eyes wide, to beg her to let me do this one, LOL. But she beat me to the punch by saying, “You’re going to do yours, right? You do ‘Roseanna covers’ better than I could.” To which, of course, I said, “YES, PLEASE!!!”

Honestly, I’d already been searching for images. I thought I’d do a “pretty dress” cover with that iconic 1920s style…an authentic era gown, even. So I went to my usual sources for genuine era gowns with public domain photos…and I found nothing. Nada. So by the point that the task was officially handed to me, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Until Rhonda said, “We totally need something with the same vibe as Stephanie Landsem’s In a Far Off Land.”

To which again I said, “YES!!!!”

I absolutely adore this cover of Stephanie’s (and the book is amazing too!), and while it’s set a decade after mine, in Hollywood rather than Chicago, the vibe is allll kinds of right.

So off I went, searching for 1920s styled models. And hilariously, I found the exact one they used on In a Far Off Land. At first I thought I’d better avoid her for that very reason–I don’t want it to look too much like hers, after all. But then I thought, “Well, let’s see what I can do to make it unique.” So I chose a different position…I darkened her hair…I changed her lip color…I added a hat. And of course, I put a historical Chicago background behind her.

When I announced the book, I had quite a few comments that mentioned how much they liked the feel of the image we used in the blog–dark and mysterious, with a gangster flair (this is about the Mafia, after all). So I wanted to make sure I captured that air of mystery, of the underworld. And when I showed it to a few people, I got some great reactions.

Are you ready to see? I hope so! Here it is, and be sure to scroll down to the text afterward to get more info or pre-order a signed copy!





So as you can see, I went with some deep shades, toned in blue. I focused on the headshot, but we still get a glimpse of her fabulous beaded dress and her era-signature cloche hat. I use an Art Deco accent and font, but not a full frame, the better to leave room for her lovely face.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

When I showed it to the Chrism editors for approval, one of the first questions was, “Are you going to be selling those earrings in your shop? They’re fabulous!”

I do totally agree. I also love the matching bobby pins…and I found a necklace from the same jeweler that matches the description of one that plays a key role in the story too! So I’m excited to offer all three items in my store. (As of this posting, I have the items ordered from the jeweler, though they’re not in hand yet. I will fulfill any orders that come in as soon as I get them from the acclaimed Sweet Romance Jewelry shop!)

And of course, if you’d like to pre-order, you can do that EXCLUSIVELY from my store right now! It will begin appearing elsewhere in the new year, but why wait to reserve your signed copy? 😉 Pre-order pricing will only last until release!

As a reminder, though, placing the order now will charge your card now but the item will not ship until May, when I have them in hand.

Pre-Order Now

About the Book

Sabina Mancari never questioned her life as the daughter of Chicago’s leading mob boss until bullets tear apart her world and the man she thought she loved turned out to be an undercover Prohibition agent. Now she sees how ugly the underworld can be. Ambushes, bribes, murder, prostitution—maybe Lorenzo, her straitlaced fiancé, had it right when he said it is better to stay far removed. And maybe, if she can understand him and his baffling faith, he will give her another chance.

But Lorenzo isn’t sure he’s ready for that. All his life he has loved Sabina, only to realize she had never felt the same about him. While he’s relieved to see her pursuing God, the Prohibition agent is pursuing her father just as intently, and it falls to Enzo—and his legal skills—to keep trouble at bay. He wants to believe that Sabina can change…assuming they can stay alive until their wedding day.

Shadowed Loyalty, set amid the glitz and scandal of the Roaring Twenties, examines what love really means and how we draw lines between family and our own convictions, especially when following the one could mean losing the other.