Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

Thanksgiving Through the Years

November 27th, 2014

ThanksgivingWhat do you know of Thanksgiving? Did you know that Thanksgiving as we know it today wasn’t declared until 1941?

 

To the people of our past, Thanksgiving wasn’t a fun holiday to go shopping and eat lots of food, instead it was a time of remembering all the blessings that the Lord has blessed them with.

 

*And this began all the way in 1621. This date is the most familiar when asked about Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims have arrived in America from the Mayflower. They have suffered a long winter and experienced many hardships. An Indian chief, Massasoit, arrives at Plymouth. We all know how the Pilgrims invited the Indians to a feast to celebrate with them all of the Lord’s blessings.

 

*But 1621 wasn’t yet the national holiday. In fact, in 1777, George Washington set aside December 18 as a Thanksgiving day. This was a time for the 13 colonies to celebrate their victories in the Revolutionary War. Historians consider this the “first day of thanksgiving in the newly formed United States of America.”

 

*It was in 1863 that President Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November Thanksgiving Day. This came as a result of two different thoughts. The first was because of the present Civil War. The President wanted to celebrate the Union’s recent victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. The second reason was because of a lady named Sarah Hale. In 1846, Sarah Hale began a letter writing campaign to make Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. She continued doing this for 17 years, until Lincoln read her letter.

 

*Then in 1939, President Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to the next-to-last Thursday of November. This was done in order to have an extra week for Christmas shopping. As you can well imagine, this was very confusing for the people of America.

 

*Finally in 1941, President Roosevelt makes Thanksgiving a national holiday on the fourth Thursday of November, which is how we know it today.

 

Talk about a confusing holiday for something that promoted such a simplistic idea. Who knew that there could be so many variations!

 

For me personally, Thanksgiving is a time to spend time with family and reflect on all that God has blessed us with. I love sitting around the table at both of my grandparents’ houses and going around sharing one thing that we are each thankful for.

 

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to just name one thing?! Usually, I like to spend some time before the dinner really reflecting.

 

Here are some of the things I am thankful for from the past year:

  • A new season of life with many opportunities presenting themselves
  • The blessing of friendships that have grown and strengthened into something that will last for years (hopefully forever!!)
  • A country that we can freely worship in and the freedom that comes with that
  • A family who is supportive to all my dreams and plans

 

 

So, what are YOU thankful for this year?

 

*http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/feast/

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving#mediaviewer/File:Thanksgiving-Brownscombe.jpg (picture)

 

Interview with Rachel Hauck

November 20th, 2014

I am so excited to be writing this book review today! In the middle of October, I was one of three winners to get an Advanced Readers copy of Rachel Hauck’s newest book, “How to Catch a Prince”!! This book is the third book to her Royal Wedding series of which I have read the first two and absolutely loved them both! After the book review though, I have also had the privilege of interview Rachel. She is a wonderful lady and I hope you enjoy “meeting” her as well!

 

From the Back Cover:
Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder—if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could’ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife’s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever.

 

My Review:

5 – award winning covers!

I absolutely fell in love with “How to Catch a Prince.” Rachel’s writing completely drew me in, making me wish for more and unable to put the book down! By the end of the book, I was melting. Nothing turned out how I thought it would, yet it was a perfect ending.

The third book in the Royal Wedding series focused on Prince Stephan who we briefly saw in book one, “Once Upon a Prince.” I loved that he was brought back, because I always felt like I wanted to know what happened to the younger prince! Corina Del Rey was an American heiress and her personality was genuine and unassuming. I love how Corina tried to always keep her focus on God even though sometimes He was asking her to do some rough things.

The spiritual aspect of the story was so moving. Without spoiling too much, near the end of the book when Prince Stephan came to God, I had tears in my eyes. It was so moving to see how he just surrendered everything to God. He wasn’t afraid anymore of the past, the future, or what anyone thought of him.

This story was a beautiful love story about forgiveness and redemption. Corina’s example of loving well inspires me to do the same when my Prince comes along!

 

 

Interview with Rachel Hauck:

 

RR: Hi Rachel! It was great to get to know another like-minded “Rachel” author! When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

 

RH: I wanted to be a writer since I was a girl. In fact, I started a book about a girl and her pony when I was ten. Then when I was twelve I wrote about a working girl living in New York City. Ha! Chicklit before it was chicklit. I was inspired by the Mary Tyler Moore show.

 

RR: That sounds just like me! It is so great when writers have always known they wanted to be writers. How would you describe your writing process? Are you more of a planner or free-writer?

 

RH: I’m a blend of both. Plantser. I do a lot of planning, blending the character journey with the physical journey. It’s important to know where you’re going before starting the journey. A writer can waste a lot of time trying to discover the story while writing so I try to do that first.

 

RR: I completely agree. I always seem to work best when I know where I am going, even if I do end up changing courses along the way. So, when is your best time in the day to write?

 

RH: Afternoon and evening. I try to be in my chair by noon, writing. I hit a good stride around two or three and I like to work until seven or eight.

 

RR: That sounds awesome and very productive! How do you know when you have a great story idea?

 

RH: Good question! Sometimes I don’t know if it’s a good idea until you tell it to someone else. But with most of my stories, I know it’s a good idea when I can encompass it in one sentence. When I know if it’s culturally relevant, like the prince stories. I knew they’d be a good idea because Kate Middleton awakened our love for royals. And usually, I get that giggly feeling in my belly. “I love this idea!”

 

RR: Definitely! And for the record, I love your royalty books! It is wonderful to imagine about marrying our “prince” someday. Out of all your books, which has been your favorite to write?

 

RH: I love them all. They’re like my babies. But the second book, Softly and Tenderly, that I wrote with Sara Evans is one of my favorites. And I think when all is said and done, How To Catch A Prince will be special to me. I had to power through that book, writing through an unexpected physical issue. The Lord so got me through!

 

RR: That is amazing!! It is really neat to be able to have experiences like that and I am so glad you were still able to write the book! 🙂 So moving on to your most recent book, how did you come up with the story idea for “How To Catch A Prince” and the other books in the Royal Wedding series?

 

RH: I got the idea for the series after watching Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. She was so poised and confident, I thought, “I want to write about this.” And how fun, you know, to look into the royal life. How To Catch a Price actually came when a friend and I talked about Prince William carrying around Princess Diana’s sapphire ring, waiting to propose. “What if he lost it?” That core idea didn’t work out, and ultimately I wanted to do something different with the “catch” idea.

 

RR: I love it! Are the characters of Corina, Stephan, Nathaniel, and Susanna based off of anyone you know?

 

RH: Not really. Just a combination of real and imagined royals. 😉 And people I dream up.

 

RR: Sometimes dreaming up characters is just as much fun as basing them off of real people. You can actually make “new” friends that way! How much time was spent researching verses writing in this book in particular?

 

RH: For the third book, I did most of my royal research but I had a big rugby learning curve. So I spent a bunch of time watching and reading about rugby. I also research as I write when I need something or a fresh idea.

 

RR: There are times when you just don’t know what research to do and the best is just to do it while writing! Well, as we close, is there one tip that you could share that has really benefited you in your writing that you could share with other writers and readers here?

 

RH: I made up my mind I was going to write and I devoted myself to learning the craft, to a writing schedule and to networking with other writers. Those three rally combined helped me launch my career.

 

RR: Wow, that is a great way to end! Thank you so much for being here, Rachel. And I hope everyone else enjoyed the time spent with you as well. If you have any other questions you would like to ask Rachel, feel free to leave a comment below!

 

 

 

dreamy-beach-227x300Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, best selling author of critically acclaimed novels such as The Wedding Dress, Love Starts with Elle, and Once Upon A Prince.

She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

 

 

3 Step Method to Planning and Plotting YOUR Book

November 13th, 2014

3 Step Method to Planning andRecently, I’ve been in the process of planning and plotting out my next book. Sometimes this can seem a rather daunting task, but really, it’s not so bad. In fact, being the organizer and planner that I am, this is my favorite step in book-writing!

Today I am going to share with you my 3 step method to planning and plotting your own book in an simple, yet effective way. Are you all in?

 

1. Figure out your main characters and their personalities

This is personally my favorite step! I love figuring out the names of my characters. Sometimes, I may have the name before I even begin writing the book, other times, I have no idea. When that is the case, my go-to spot for picking out names is www.babynames.com. I will either go with a letter that I think I want or I can pick a meaning or nationality. When I am figuring out their personalities, I’ll start putting together a running list so that I have some base to go off of but that I can add to while I’m writing too. Usually for personality, I pick out their age, hair/eye color, relationship with parents/siblings, best friends, hobbies/interests, etc. There is really no limit of possibilities to this list! Treat your characters as real people and they will become real to your reader.

 

2. Decide on a setting (and the details!)

If there is one thing that I learned from my beginning books that it is so important to know everything about the place before you delve into writing! It is very confusing if you have your characters living in Georgia at one point and then later in Florida. Or if your character constantly hears a train whistle, but then later in the book, there is no train near their location. To avoid this confusion, I have actually started drawing a map of my location. Even though I’m not the greatest drawer, it creates a picture in my mind and then I know throughout the book different details about where this character lives or the direction so my facts of location remain consistent through the whole book. I wouldn’t want to give my readers whiplash!

 

3. Give yourself an outline of some sort to go off of

As I said before, I am a natural organizer. For whatever reason, I don’t typically outline my stories. Usually, I have an idea and I run with it. But my idea doesn’t get me very far and I get stuck somewhere around the middle. Sometimes I know where I want to go, but I don’t know how to get there. Now, I write an outline. Sometimes more detailed than others, but a list of plot ideas that will get me through each section so I know where I am going to go and how I’m going to arrive. Things do happen and plans can change course, but at least I still have my outline that will help me along if I get stuck.

 

Are these tips helpful for you in your writing? What do you do when plotting out a book?

Birthday Memories

November 6th, 2014

Birthdays are

 

 

Tomorrow will be my 18th birthday. The time has gone by so fast that it almost seems surreal to me. I’ll be an adult. Those who know me well will tell you that I love to reminisce. I enjoy looking back on picture books and reliving what I have done. I am also very much a traditionalist. I enjoy making traditions that are celebrated each year and those always hold special memories in my heart.

 

 

 

Would you take a trip down memory lane with me?

 

 

blog pic 1Age 4 ~ I don’t remember much about this birthday except that all my family was there. As a young girl, I would make huge wish lists of presents just to make sure that everyone had options. 🙂

 

 

 

blog pic 2Age 7 ~ This was the birthday that I received my first sewing machine. Until then, I was learning how to sew on my mom’s machine.

 

 

 

 

blog pic 3Age 9 ~ My mom, dad, sister, both grandmothers, aunts, cousins, and I went to the American girl place in NYC! American girl was a big part of my childhood and so I was absolutely ecstatic to finally go to the American girl place!

 

 

 

 

blog pic 4Age 13 ~ My first birthday having “helpers.” My cousin was 2 1/2 and she loved helping me open presents, and I loved having her help me!

 

 

 

 

blog pic 5Age 15 ~ The first time I shared my birthday party with my brother! We are 4 days apart (and 10 years!) so it seemed natural!

 

 

 

 

394013_287197684730585_1445356565_nAge 16 ~ My surprise sweet 16 birthday party shared with my dearest friend who is a week older than me! It was such a lovely time to see all my friends come out that have made a difference in my life in some mode or fashion. This experience is one that I shall remember for the rest of my life!

 

 

Well I’m sure I could recall something pleasant from each birthday! I am blessed to have both sets of grandparents, both of my aunts and uncles, and my six cousins at my parties, usually happening for a Sunday lunch. My parents are also wonderful in that we have a “birthday” supper the night of my birthday with a special dessert.

 

Overall, I feel blessed. I’m excited to be moving on in this next stage of my life and it has been wonderful recounting all the special moments from past birthdays.

 

ALSO, IN HONOR OF MY BIRTHDAY, I AM HOLDING A KINDLE SALE OF MY BOOK, Finding Faith! GET IT ON AMAZON FOR ONLY $0.99 ONLY UNTIL SATURDAY NIGHT! DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS CHANCE!

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old