Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old

National #ReadABookDay

September 6th, 2017

national read a book day

Today is National #ReadABookDay which is one of my favorite days! 

 

Growing up, reading has always been one of my absolute favorite past times and I could almost always be found with a book. Even as the school loads got busier, I still love to read and it can be such a place of escape from the real world.

 

On the National Day Calendar website, it says: “Reading improves memory and concentration as well as reduces stress… Books are an inexpensive entertainment, education and time machine, too!”

 

I don’t know about you, but if reading can reduce stress I’m all in! But seriously, reading has a way of taking your mind of whatever is worrying you and allowing you to “get lost” in another world.

 

Reading has a way of taking your mind of whatever is worrying you and allowing you to get lost… Click To Tweet

 

My favorite books to read are fiction and if you are looking for some new books to read,  head over at my book review blog, Rachel’s Back Talk! Currently I’m reading Tamera Alexander’s To Wager Her Heart and Elizabeth Camden’s To The Farthest Shores.

 

How about you? What book are you reading now?

Summer Reading List

June 8th, 2017

Summer Reading List
So I’ve been a little MIA (classes ending, a trip to Ireland, and a homeschool fair kept me quite busy!). BUT I thought how better than to get back into the swing of things then to share with you some of my favorite books that I’m excited to read this summer!

 

Summer equals reading — at the beach, at the park, or pretty much anywhere in the sun!

 

Summer equals reading -- at the beach, at the park, or pretty much anywhere in the sun!… Click To Tweet

 

Here are some of the books, both fiction and nonfiction, that are on my reading list this summer:

 

FICTION

  1. A Name Unknown by Roseanna White
  2. To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
  3. The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck
  4. True to You by Becky Wade
  5. To Wager Her Heart by Tamera Alexander

NONFICTION

  1. The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn
  2. Proofreading Secrets of Best Selling Authors by Kathy Ide

 

How about you? What books will you be reading this summer? Share in the comments!

 

You can see what books I end up reading this summer on my book review site, Rachel’s Back Talk. Maybe you’ll find some books there that you want to read too!

 

Happy Reading!

A Day in Lancaster

April 13th, 2017

A Day in LancasterOne of my favorite spots to take a field trip is Lancaster! It’s been a bit of a tradition among my family to take rather frequent trips out there and it is so much fun finding new spots!

 

This year, the Christian Homeschool Association of Pennsylvania’s (CHAP) convention is in Lancaster! So if you and your children come out for the convention, why not take advantage of being in Lancaster County and plan a day for a field trip too? One thing my parents taught me – you can make a field trip out of wherever you are!

 

*Note– all of my time references are based on the convention center as a starting point which in in Lancaster!*

 

The first stop that I recommend is Lititz, which is about 20-25 minutes from the convention center. Plan on spending at least the morning here!

 

Visit the first commercial bakery in America, the Julius Sturgis Pretzel Factory (www.juliussturgis.com). This bakery dates back to the beginning of the Civil War when founded in 1861 by Julius Sturgis. When you tour this bakery, you can see old tools that were used in pretzel making. You also have the opportunity to make your own “old style” pretzel!

 

Next, visit the Wilbur Chocolate Store (www.wilburbuds.com). Unfortunately, you can’t tour the factory in Lititz anymore, but you’ll be able to see the factory building located right across the street. In the store while obtaining a free Wilbur Buds sample, check out some of the old chocolate making equipment, which is pretty cool. Here’s a fun tidbit – Wilbur Buds (bite-sized molded chocolate resembling flower buds) were first fashioned in 1894 by Henry Wilbur; however, the chocolate factory, H.O. Wilbur & Sons, had opened ten years earlier in 1884.

 

Now, take some time and just walk around Lititz. You’ll find many cute little coffee shops and other specialty stores. Along the way, you’ll find Olio Olive Oils & Balsamics (www.oliooliveoil.com), and for curiosity sake, you’ll go in. Inside the store, you’ll sample a wide variety of oils and balsamic vinegars (recommended for children ages 10+).

 

Next, travel to Honey Brook, and visit September Farm Country Market and Sandwich Shop (www.septemberfarmcheese.com). This is about 40 minutes from both Lititz and the convention center in Lancaster, but it is a great place to have a bite to eat for lunch!

Lancaster County offers many attractions and field trip options! #ADayinLancaster Click To Tweet

September Farm is owned and operated by the Rotelle family. What started as a small store on their farm grew into a flourishing cheese business! After you’ve sampled the cheese and ate lunch at their sandwich shop, you can go to the back room where you can watch cheese being made. It is such an interesting process! And if you’re new to September Farm, be sure to purchase their freshly made cheese tarts. You won’t regret it!

 

As you travel back to the convention center, a fun place to stop is Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn (www.emmaspopcorn.com) in New Holland. This is 15 minutes from the cheese farm but on your way back to Lancaster. You may think you are merely twisting and turning along some back country roads, but the stop at the end is very much worth it! Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn makes many fun flavors of popcorn, ranging from sweet to salty, plain to chocolate. A great snack to be enjoyed by the whole family on the way home!

 

Finally, if your time allows, visit Kitchen Kettle Village (www.kitchenkettle.com) in Intercourse. This is 10 minutes from Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn and only 25 minutes from the Lancaster County Convention Center. There are forty unique shops to visit in this village; some offer some delectable treats for the children! Perhaps you even want to take a horse and carriage ride or an Amish buggy ride for a full Pennsylvania Dutch experience.

 

Lancaster County offers many attractions and field trip options; find more great things to see and do in and around the area at DiscoverLancaster.com. I hope that it will become one of your favorite spots like it is mine!

 

Previous published in the CHAP Magazine 

Copyright, 2017, Rachel Rittenhouse 

Organizing in OneNote

February 2nd, 2017

organizing in one noteI am definitely a pro-organizer! If there is something I love doing, it is planning things out — and re-planning it out.

 

Something new that I found this year is organizing my schedule in OneNote. 

 

What’s nice about OneNote, is that you can keep lots of different notebooks and many notes in each notebook. When I first started in OneNote, I was trying to keep my writing schedule more organized. And it worked!

Then I moved to OneNote for my school and I still love it!

Each time I have a class, I start a new page for that class. Then I divide my classes up in weeks and organize everything I need to get done in that week.

As time went on, I decided that I wanted to color-code as well. As you can see from my picture, I color-code according to the day of the week.

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The nice thing about doing my organizing in OneNote is that I can move things around if I need to. This gives me flexibility that I can change my schedule around if I something comes out.

Of course, there is still something about a hand-written a schedule, which is why I love my whiteboard. But another plus of OneNote is that I can see my schedule on my phone as well!

What do you use to organize your schedule? 

A New Year

January 5th, 2017

a-new-yearHappy New Year! I can still scarcely believe that it is 2017 already!

 

As I was getting ready to leave work, I caught sight of this sunset and immediately my mind jumped to Psalm 19.

 

The heavens do declare God’s majestic glory — the intrinsicness of the design and just the absolute beautifulness of it. 

 

But the Psalmist continues – “They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth and their word to all the world” (v.3-4). And isn’t that so true?

 

The sky didn’t tell me to look — I just did. I stopped for a moment in the busyness of my life to admire the handiwork of God. 

 

I stopped for a moment in the busyness of my life to admire the handiwork of God… Click To Tweet

 

That is, what I feel the beginning of a New Year does. It allows us to stop and think about what we accomplished this past year and take time to think about what we want this New Year to represent.

 

2016 brought with it many joys, struggles, and tears. No doubt 2017 will do the same. And while sometimes it is easy to fall into a pessimistic attitude that 2017 won’t be that great or maybe 2017 is already not great. Why not look on the bright side?

 

Choose Joy. Choose God. See what the God, who creates masterpieces all around us, can do with this new, blank year ahead.

Holiday Gift Guide for Teen & YA Girls

November 10th, 2016

The Christmas holiday is my absolute favorite time of year! Just ask my co-workers — I love listening to Christmas music, decorating, and basically everything that has to do with Christmas! But what I really love is celebrating the meaning of Christmas and giving gifts to those I love.

 

The Christmas holiday is my absolute favorite time of year! #givinggifts #HolidayGiftGuide Click To Tweet

 

Do you have a teen or young adult girl in your life? Here is a holiday gift guide if you’re looking for some fun gifts this year (okay, and some of my favorite items as well!!)!

1. A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck – because what girl doesn’t love reading about a modern-fairy tale?!

2. Vera Bradley: Turnlock Crossbody

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3. Inspire Bible NLT: The Bible for Creative Journaling – one of my favorite gifts has been this Inspire Bible. I love Bible Journaling! (Read my post on Bible Journaling).

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4. “Abide in My Love” Necklace – from Ellie and James  – I just got this necklace for my birthday and absolutely love it! Sure to make any girl feel special and loved 🙂

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5. Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens – my #1 favorite pens I use for literally everything!!

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Plus,  I’m giving away 1 copy of my paperback Christmas Novella, Changing Traditions!

To enter, leave a comment about your favorite gift to give or why you love giving gifts at Christmas time! A winner will be drawn next Friday 11/18 (US entries only).

*Some links may be affiliate links, but I only receive a small portion of the sale and your price it not affected. Thanks 🙂

Rachel Recommends – Tip #7

October 27th, 2016

rachel-recommends-7It’s time for Rachel Recommends: Tip #7 – “Edit like crazy – don’t be afraid to change your plot.” 

Everyone has a different opinion of what you should keep or change in your first draft. Your job is figuring out which opinions matter to you and your story. Some editors will tear your story apart, while others will think your story is great. It is important to go through as many edits and rewrites as you need in order to get different perspectives. Don’t just settle for the opinion of one editor, especially if they made a remark on the content of your story. The bottom line is this: editing is vital.

The bottom line is this: #editing is vital #RachelRecommends #10StepsToWritingAndPublishing Click To Tweet

But, how do you know what changes to keep and what to disregard?

  • Do the changes affect the plot (fiction) or main point (non-fiction)? If someone gives you a suggestion (whether an editor, beta reader, or friend), figure out how it furthers your plot and adds to the meaning of the story. What makes the plot better? If the suggestion is taking your book where you do not want it to go, than you can merely disregard it.
  • Are the changes spelling or grammar corrections? If so, accept them all! Everyone catches something different, so the more people reading your draft, likely means fewer mistakes.
  • Are the changes about your character? Readers will have opinions about your characters. Ask yourself why the reader does or doesn’t like a certain character. If it aligns with how you intended your character to come across, then you should keep the character the way they are. If you can change your character to make him/her more likeable or unlikeable to the reader, then you should adjust accordingly.
#Editing is a step that can be repeated over and over and over again. #RachelRecommends… Click To Tweet

Editing is a step that can be repeated over and over and over again. Feel free to repeat this process as much as you want until you achieve the desired result.

 

from A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing

 

Is editing a struggle to you? What do you do to make the job more enjoyable? 

Rachel Recommends: Tip #6

September 22nd, 2016

Rachel Recommends #6It’s time for Rachel Recommends: Tip #6 – “Be concise when you revise.” 

Completing the first draft – what a sense of accomplishment. Writing a book is challenging and time-consuming, and to say that you actually finished your draft – well, that is a great start.

But you’re not quite finished with this draft yet. In fact, you are far from it.

You succeeded in getting your thoughts and ideas into written words on the page. Now it is time to rework and finesse them into something beautiful. A masterpiece.

Re-writing can sometimes be a step that is overlooked or avoided because it seems “too difficult.” Let me assure you that this step is vital in making your book truly wonderful.

I have found that revision, though it may seem exhausting, ends up improving the final product even more than what I could have imagined. Revision is something to be proud of and the time you spend revising is always well spent.

Revising your story can be an adventure. You can move scenes from one chapter to another. You can modify a certain character to better serve the situation. You can reword phrases to make them more precise. You can change sentences and eliminate words that aren’t developing the book.

Revising your story can be an adventure. #amwriting Click To Tweet

Anything is possible in rewrites. After all, this is your creation – YOUR STORY

 

from A Student’s Guide: 10 Easy Steps to Writing & Publishing

 

Do you enjoy revising your book? Why or why not? 

Back-To-School Tips

August 25th, 2016

Back-To-School TipsAt the beginning of the summer, I posted my summertime to-do list. I don’t know if this is your experience of not, but summer always flies by and before I know it, it is time for school to start up again!

Some of the highlights from my summer included

  • Beach trips! ~ There is something marvelous about sitting on the beach or wading in the ocean, feeling the salty air in your hair. It’s one of my favorite experiences ever!
  • Camping ~ Does it seem to you that whenever you want to go camping, it’s either rainy or cold? Day 1 of my camping experience resulted in rain, but it managed to clear up by day 2, making it a beautiful weekend for exploring God’s creation.
  • Vacations ~ I love going to different places whether it is to visit friends, field trip, or just relaxing! This summer, my family went out to Indiana for a family reunion and we also made a pit-stop is Pittsburgh! 🙂

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But at the end of summer comes school and how is one to drastically shift paces and adjust to a different life-style?

Here’s some tips to help you get back into the school swing:

  1. Develop a Schedule – Know when you have to do school and when it’s time to have “fun.” You should always plan a little fun during the school year to keep your mind focused. Because you have a schedule, you know when it’s “school-time” and “down-time.
  2. Stay Rested – As tempting as it may be to stay up late and wake up early every night/day, it is important to get enough sleep so that your mind stays alert. If you run on not enough sleep, it may be hard to do the best that you can do when doing homework.
  3. Spend Time with your Family – Even though you are busy with school and hanging out with friends, spending time with your family is so important! They are your biggest supporters and will always be there to encourage you, so it’s important to show them that you care about them too. Help your mom with the dishes one night before going out for ice cream with your friends! The joy that comes with it is so worth it!

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Do you have any back-to-school tips? Share in the comments!

Rachel Recommends: Tip #5

August 11th, 2016

Rachel Recommends #5

 

 

It’s time for Rachel Recommends – Tip #5: “Attend writing conferences to learn and grow as a writer.”

This tip seems fitting especially after I just came back from a writer’s conference! I love the days after a conference when my mind is just bursting with new ideas!

At this conference in particular, I had the advantage of being on faculty and also attending the different sessions!

 

 

 

3 Reasons Why I Love Conferences: 

1. Learning – One of my favorites classes was attending Rachel Hauck‘s continuing session on “The Story Equation.” Seriously though, if you haven’t read any of her books, I would highly recommend it!

I love coming home and reviewing all the notes that I may have taken throughout the conference. Whether on marketing, writing, editing, or publishing, I found something to apply to ever area of my writing career.

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Me with Rachel Hauck

2. Motivation//Encouragement – Being a writer, it is always possible (and highly probable) that you may fall into periods of self-doubt. You may think that no one understands your writing quirks.

Here at a conference, everyone is in the same boat as you — they love to write or they feel called to write. I always leave a conference feeling motivated more than ever to work on my next book!

Speaking at TeensWrite

Speaking at TeensWrite

3. New Friends – And as always, you always have the possibility of leaving the conference with more like-minded friends than what you would’ve started with!

I met up with one of my friends that I made at a previous conference. We were surprised to see each other there and we decided to email periodically to check up and encourage each other on our writing journeys.

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Me and Abigail

And as nerve-wracking rooming with someone you don’t know, my roomie became such a good friend after that past weekend! The wonderful Angela Schans is an inspiring lady and it was wonderful to share like-minded stories and tips about CreateSpace.

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Me and Angela

 

Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? 

If you love to write, I would encourage you to check out the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference next year!!

Rachel Rittenhouse

Christian fiction for ladies young and old