Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

Changing Traditions – Sneak Peek!

November 25th, 2015

It is hard to believe that the holiday season is already upon us! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas right around the corner!

To celebrate the Christmas season, I just published my first Christmas novella, Changing Traditions. And yes, this is a continuation of my Woodsmall Sisters series!

“We traveled with the Woodsmall Sisters as they each come to age. Now for the first time, they are brought together in a heart-warming Christmas novella. Will changing traditions bring more grief then joy this Christmas season? Or will the Woodsmall sisters be able to embrace compromise?”

Changing Traditions is available on Amazon Kindle for only $0.99! Get your copy to read this Christmas season. 

Want a sneak peek? Read the prologue below to see what happens to Carolyn, Bethany, Laura, and the rest of the Woodsmall family at the end of the Civil War.


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Prologue – April 16, 1865

Dear Diary,

It should have been a day of rejoicing and I guess in a sense, it was. The war between the states is finally over. Poppa is home, and what a relief to see him safe.

My sister is reunited with her husband. Carolyn and Scott were married only a week before Scott left for the war. Watching them together brings tears to my eyes knowing how much my sister missed him.

But this is where it stings. Albert didn’t come home to me.

When he broke off our courtship before he left, I assumed that as soon as the war ended he would be back. I never quit writing to him. In fact that was what kept me going most days. Albert said he didn’t want to die and hold me back.

What stings is that he didn’t die. Nettie would have told me if that were true. Perhaps he realized that he only had a childhood fascination with me. Maybe I am just not important to him.

Or maybe I should keep writing him and wait for him to come to me.


Poppa’s voice broke through Bethany’s writing. “Now, where’s my Bethy?”

Pushing the mournful thoughts from her mind, Bethany hurried down from the loft, determined to put on a cheerful front. “Oh Poppa, I’m so glad you’re home.” In an instant, she was pulled in a hug that threatened to cut of all air flow. Not that she cared. Breathing in his woody smell, Bethany was sure she would be happy to stay right in his arms.

When her older brother Jesse came home early from the war with his leg amputated, Bethany began to imagine all sorts of things that might have happened to Poppa and Albert. It was bad enough to hear when Henry was killed.

As the rest of the family went inside, Bethany sat out on the porch step to wonder and think by herself. She wasn’t left out there long before Jesse was by her side.

“Penny for your thoughts, sister, though I can already guess they are miles away.”

How was it possible to have a brother who knew you so well? “I am so happy that Poppa and Scott have come home safe, truly I am, Jesse. But I am concerned for Albert. If it is true that the war ended, why hasn’t he come to see me?”

“I’m afraid I have no answer for you, Bethy. You could always go into town and see if he went to see his family first. That is always a strong possibility.”

“I can’t leave Poppa when he’s just returned.”

“Then why are you out here?”

Bethany thought about what Jesse said and then she stood. “How right you are, Jesse. Here I am, worrying for nothing, when I should be inside with Poppa. Albert will come and see me soon enough, of that I am sure.”

Jesse’s face relaxed some, but Bethany doubted the words that she uttered. Would Albert really come? If he didn’t come right away, did he not care for her after being away almost two years?

Into the evening, Bethany continued to look out the window, but still no sign of Albert. Would he ever come?

A Homeschooler’s Guide to Writing

November 12th, 2015

Thaaqib Acadia Academy cordially invites you toAre you aching to write a book, but don’t know where to start?

Here are 5 tips that I have found helpful in my writing that you can use to jumpstart YOUR writing as well.

1. Open Ears – Open Eyes = If you want to be a writer, you need to be perceptive to the world around you. Start by reading everything and anything. Broaden your horizon by reading fiction, non-fiction, and school books. You should also pay attention to the people around you. Take notes at their reactions to certain situation. Look at their emotions and the way the hang out with others. All those tidbits may have a place in your book.

2. Outline like the Pro = I love outlines. There is something satisfying at seeing your book planned out in the form of an outline. However, that doesn’t mean that I am against seeing where the plot will take me. Creativity and structure work so well together!

3. Research the Facts = Whether you’re writing fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, or any other genre, it is important to research the facts and make sure that your book fits in the genre you’re writing about. You can do this through going to your local library and finding books on the setting or time period. You can read books from that genre or even do a quick Google search. Either way, be thorough and make sure your facts are accurate.

4. Just Write = Now that you did all your preliminary work it is time to begin the writing itself. You already nailed down your plot in the outline, but make sure you KNOW your characters WELL. Then once you begin, don’t stop! Keep the momentum going. When you do need to take a break, stop at an exciting part that will make you excited to begin the next day.

5. Re-write for Perfection = Before you share your book with anyone (maybe with the exception of your mom!), it’s time to do a re-write. Begin to work out the kinks and check for plot holes. First drafts are typically terrible, but they are a great way of getting your thoughts on the page. And now it’s time to iron it out. Strive for making your 2nd draft the best it can be. Keep going for your best. Once you have your 2nd draft ready then you are ready to search for editors. But we’ll save that for another day.


What step is the most difficult for you? How about the easiest?


So what are you waiting for? GO. Write your book!

Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old