Saturday, September 29, 2012


. . .is a source for inspiration. Why is that true for a writer?

Place sets the scene.

Place brings the story alive in the writer's mind even before the writing begins.
Place helps the reader visual the actions in a story and the characters moving through it.
Place provides the atmosphere.
Place can become a character in and of itself.



When I think of 'place' in great literature, I think of Tara in Gone With the Wind, Thornfield in Jane Eyre, Manderley in Rebeccah. Then there are titles such as Northanger Abby and Wurthering Heights.

In a recent interview I was asked what inspired me to write the Daughters of the Potomac Series. I answered . . .It is never ever one thing for me, but a combination of things that inspire the development of a story. But if I were to narrow it down to the barebones, I’d have to say the Potomac River. I live in a historically rich area. The Potomac is not only beautiful but it is rife with history. Everyone has heard about Harpers Ferry. Within a few miles south and a few north of there, is the major setting for all three books. 

On the Virginia side, there is an overlook, and when I visited there and looked down into the deep gorge, across to the Maryland Heights, my mind drifts back to the past. So, instead of a person or a historical event being the inspiration for this series, I found it in a place where the water flows placid over boulders and joins with the Shenandoah nestled between the lush hills where three states meet.

Here are photographs I took of the Potomac River area. Below are a few photos where my heroines journey in England.

The Hope Valley in England...

How important is 'place' to you in a story. 
Share in a comment your favorite 'place' in a book you've read. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012


After a long anticipated wait BESIDE TWO RIVERS has been released! Book 2 in the Daughters of the Potomac series.

From the banks of the Potomac to the misty moors of England, comes a tale of love won and love lost, and the faith to find it again.  

Vaguely can Darcy Morgan recall the day her father returned home from fighting in the American Revolution.  When he discovers his unfaithful wife had borne a child in his absence, the marriage is broken, and Darcy’s quiet childhood along the two rivers was changed forever. 

She grows up believing her mother dead and that her father journeyed west to the lands beyond the Blue Ridge. Her indulging Uncle Will, excitable Aunt Mari, and her five female cousins, cannot shield her from thinking of the mother she loved and the father she barely knew, nor can she escape the fleeting images in her memory of the babe Ilene and Ilene’s surrogate mother, Sarah, or the grandmotherly servant, Fiona Goodall.

In this dramatic saga that began with 'Before the Scarlet Dawn', Darcy seeks to unravel a lifetime of memories unaware that the young Englishman who loves her holds the answers. Her search takes her far from her beloved home along the Potomac, to a manor house in faraway England. Soon the secrets of the past slowly rise to the surface. Will she be reunited with the most important people in her life? Will Hayward and Eliza find peace and reconciliation? Will Darcy's faith sustain her to make the difficult choices, and will the love she and Ethan share endure?

Beside Two Rivers is the sequel to Before the Scarlet Dawn.


"Beside Two Rivers is much more than the sequel to Rita Gerlach’s popular Before the Scarlet Dawn. It’s the heart-rending story of true love threatened by secrets and deceit, of family torn apart by tragedy, and most of all, of the redeeming power of love and faith. Filled with vivid descriptions of life along the Potomac and rural England during the late 18th century, this is a story that will linger in readers’ memories." - Amanda Cabot, author of Summer of Promise and Christmas Roses

"Beside Two Rivers stirred me like no other book has. Rita Gerlach has an epic style to her writing that is guaranteed to sweep you away to another place and time. With a deeply emotional storyline, characters of uncommon depth, heart-throbbing romance, and the boundless love of family lost and regained, this is truly a magnificent novel!" - MaryLu Tyndall, author of the Surrender to Destiny Series and Veil of Pearls

"This is the epitome of romance with a flavor of Persuasion. I definitely had a flavor of regency in the wilderness that touched me like no other. Bring in a mix of Jane Austen with a kick of Laura Frantz and I'm on every page. Goodness, just looking back at my thoughts I feel like Rita Gerlach is presenting the best of all my favorite authors on the page! That and with Darcy's wit she even gives me a humor worthy of Mary Connealy. Could it get any better?” - Margaret Chind,

"What do you get when you combine authentic history, picturesque settings, dynamic characters and a feels-like-you're-there storyline? You get a Rita Gerlach novel, and in Beside Two Rivers, book two in her Daughters of the Potomac series, she delivers all that and more. My advice to readers: Make room for this one on your "keepers shelf." My advice to Rita: save space on your "awards wall," because this tale is sure to earn a bunch!" - Loree Lough, best-selling author of more than 85 award-winning books, including Honor Redeemed, book two in the First Responders series

 Actors Rita would choose if Beside Two Rivers was made into a movie…or her dream of a Masterpiece Theater Series.    
 British actor Dan Stevens as Ethan ~ British actress Imogen Poots as Darcy    

 Beside Two Rivers is available in both ebook and paperback in bookstores everywhere.
For purchase online.


 Side Note: Book 3 in the series, ‘Beyond the Valley’, will be released February, 2013, and is available for preorder.


After a long anticipated wait, Beside Two Rivers, by Rita Gerlach, book 2 in The Daughters of the Potomac Series, is now available. Beside Two Rivers is a tale of love won and love lost, and the faith to find it again. Eliza's daughter seeks to unravel a lifetime of memories and the absence of her parents, unaware that the young Englishman who loves her holds the answers. 

If you would like to help me promote this book, please feel free to copy and paste this post with the book covers to your blog.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I'm excited to announce book 1, Before the Scarlet Dawn, in the Daughters of the Potomac Series, is FREE on Kindle. 

I'm not sure for how long, so if you want a free copy, hurry.

If you don't own a Kindle you can download the free version for your PC and laptop.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Christian Book Club: Poll

Christian Book Club: Poll:

Book for the Month of October: Cast Your Vote! For next month's book, we have two historical romance titles for you, both releasing in October.

Stop by the link and vote for 'Beside Two Rivers'.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Beside Two Rivers, Book 2 in the Daughters of the Potomac Series Launch, Part 1

Dear Readers,

Within the last eight months, I have received numerous emails and messages from readers telling me they were frustrated they had to wait so long for the sequel to 'Before the Scarlet Dawn' --- 'Beside Two Rivers'. You'll only have to wait a few more weeks before it is officially released on October 1.

Beside Two Rivers continues the story from book one, taking readers on Darcy's journey as she searches for answers regarding her parents. It is also a continuation of Eliza and Hayward's story. 

What you will find in this series are characters that struggle and make some terrible mistakes that lead to terrible consequences. Yet there is always hope, and sometimes it comes in unexpected ways.

Perhaps this describes your own life, or the life of someone you love. So if you are looking for novels with a lot of romantic fluff, this series may not be for you. But if you like stories that are character driven, you will like these books.

I hope you will read Before the Scarlet Dawn, before Beside Two Rivers. The first in the Daughters of the Potomac series, follows Eliza Bloome as she longs for acceptance and leaves behind all she has in order to follow her heart and the man she loves into the Maryland wilderness. What follows is a struggle for survival and a journey of faith.

From USA Today: Rita Gerlach has created an achingly vivid frame on which to stretch the canvas of her new series. Tracing the painful path a life takes when innocence and love are taken for granted, Before the Scarlet Dawn is an artfully hewn tale of romance tempered by fear — and the hope of love, devastated by war.

From Fresh Fiction Book Reviews: Gerlach's novel is an immensely emotional read with surprising twists I never anticipated. Although the ending was far from what I expected, Rita Gerlach has penned a stunning, tear-jerker novel which will touch the hearts of anyone fortunate enough to pick up this delightful book.

My books are available in ebook and paperback.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


People have asked me what kind of books I write.

What they are not:
  • My books are not in the category of formula romances. 
  • They are not fluff, erotic, preachy, nor are they syrupy sweet stories focused solely on a courtship.

What they are:

  • Romantic Historical Dramas. You will find romance, stories about relationships, forgiveness, redemption, loyalty, and the power of love. 
  • Stories where the characters have good points, but are also flawed. They make mistakes and fall hard, and at some point struggle through the adversity, dust themselves off and move on. 
  • Stories that reflect the historical period. Life was different in so many ways that we in the 21st century cannot comprehend. Women had few rights. Children less.There were the haves and the have-nots. 
 Who are the characters in my books:

They are people that fit their times. Faith and family are important to them and the foundation of their lives. You will not find feminist heroines. Instead you will find virtuous women who are independent without being overbearing or mannish. You will find strong heroes who are willing to lay down their lives for others, who are not caught up in careers and money.

What my stories will give you:

§ A chance to escape into a world long ago, with all the trappings of historical detail.

§ An enjoyable read with elements of romantic love, that leads to and extends into marriage.
§ Taken back in time to see how people leaned heavily upon their faith to get them through tough times.

While my novels focus on relationships both marital and within a family, they are in every sense of the word  historical novels with the historical ambiance of the period in which they are written, with twists and turns that take readers back to a time of raw courage and ideal love. 

What elements to you long to find in a novel? If you are a writer, what elements do you strive to include in your storyline?