Monday, June 3, 2013

I'm a sojouner

I am constantly amazed at the things God does for me. He has opened up unexpected doors in unexpected places.

Recently, without revealing too much of my personal life, I received a medical diagnosis that was more than earth shattering. I was rattled to the core and fear took hold of me like never before in my life. I cried and couldn't sleep. I met with a specialist that assured me I will be fine, but will have to go through a long summer to be on the road to recovery. The next year will be focused on me.

In the midst of all this trouble, the day I met with my doctor, I came home and read a message from the president of my agency telling me bestselling author Gilbert Morris had chosen me to collaborate on a novel series about the Pilgrims with him. I was flabbergasted. (Like that word? It's pretty awesome.) I just couldn't believe it. I am writing a novel now, and plan to finishing it. And then more work is presented to me, figuratively on a silver platter. How could I turn it down?

I said yes. My agency understands fully what I am going through and facing. Encouragement and prayers, and compassion are surely there. So my first task? Rewrite the proposal. My first step? Research. I plowed into it, and I'm still finding information. The Pilgrims were not Puritans. They are two different religious groups. The Pilgrims were separatists seeking a life where they could worship God without the control of government, and to live and love the Word of God unfettered by the dictates of a monarchy . Puritans wanted to purify the Church of England. The King since the reign of Henry VIII had been the head, and years later Charles I was beheaded and Cromwell a Puritan was set up as 'The Lord Protector'.

So I have a lot of work to do. I'm not going to cower to the situation thrown at my mortal body. That is not to say I am not scared at times, that I haven't shed tears. But I know fully in my heart God has watched out for me. He gave me a loving husband, who has been with me to every office visit, held my hand, held me close. My diagnosis would have been missed if I had gone in earlier. My best friend gave me a book of promises with the verse I needed. My doctor's office gave me a prayer shawl. A girl in the grocery store gave me an embrace. The lady behind the counter where I got my blood work told me her testimony of healing of the same problem. And today another author sent me a plaque with Joshua 1:9 on it. The list goes on and on - the tenderness of the Lord and how he is working in people. I am living by what the scripture says in Jeremiah 30:17, the one my bff gave me.

I will restore health to you, and heal all your wounds, says the LORD.

If you whisper a prayer to Heaven for me, to the Lord Jesus, pray that verse on my behalf. I may not be on my blog much, but I'll try to keep my readers updated. God bless. 

Friday, May 10, 2013



Hello Everyone! Well the day is over and rain is beginning to fall on my garden in Maryland. I'm so glad you were able to come by today, and stepped through my garden gate. Yes, that really is my gate and my cat Pookee.

For ambiance that reflects the era in which these novels were written, here's some music by that legendary composer of the 18th century, Mozart, and the soundtrack from the movie The Patriot.

Have a virtual glass of sparkling apple cider from McCutcheon's Apple Store, a locally owned shop in historic downtown Frederick, Maryland close to where I live.

Help yourself to a Cheesecake Cookie cupcake. Here's the recipe. 
How I wish we could for be together for real. But here we are together, when years ago this would have been impossible, let along imaginable.

I will be taking requests for e-signed, 'suitable for printing and framing', book covers. I'll include a personal note to you alongside my author signature.  I'll email you your signed cover as soon as possible. Just leave your request in the comments section with the cover(s) you'd like along with your email address.

Also, in celebration of the book's release, I'll be giving Thorns in Eden & The Everlasting Mountains away for FREE today only in Kindle ebook

Monday, May 6, 2013

Online Garden Party and Book Cover Signing on Friday

I'm celebrating the release of Thorns In Eden & The Everlasting Mountains in ebook and paperback with an online garden party, book cover signing event on Friday, May 10 from noon to 8. I hope you will come by my blog in the comment section for some fun fellowship with readers and other Christian authors. 

We may not be able to be together in person, but thank goodness for the Internet. We'll have a virtual glass of champagne together, and for those who do not partake in the 'bubbly' we will have glasses of sparkling cider, along with cake and a few recipes. (See the one below.)

I will be e-signing a 'suitable for printing and framing' book cover, for anyone that would like one, with a personal note to you. Get on the list, and I'll email you your signed cover.

All you have to do is stop into the comment section on Friday via the post that will be up and tell me you'd like a personalized cover, leave me your email address, and I'll get it to you asap.

A Luscious Cake for a Garden Party from Hershey's Kitchens

European Mocha Fudge Cake


  • 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
  • 4  eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  •   CREAMY COFFEE FILLING (recipe follows)
  •   Chocolate curls (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter bottom and sides of two 9-inch round baking pans. Line bottoms with wax paper; butter paper.
  2. Melt butter in small saucepan; remove from heat. Add cocoa, stirring until blended; cool slightly. Beat eggs in large bowl until foamy; add salt and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, beating well. Add cooled chocolate mixture; blend thoroughly. Fold in flour. Stir in pecans. Pour mixture into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not overbake. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Carefully peel off paper. Cool completely. Spread CREAMY COFFEE FILLING between layers, over top and sides of cake. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired. Refrigerate 1 hour or longer before serving. Cover leftover cake; store in refrigerator. 10 to 12 servings.

    1-1/2 cups cold whipping cream
    1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee

    Combine all ingredients; stir until instant coffee is almost dissolved. Beat until stiff. About 3 cups filling.

    MAKE AHEAD DIRECTIONS: Cooled cake may be wrapped and frozen up to 4 weeks; thaw, wrapped, before filling and frosting.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

In Ebook ~ At Last

Writing these two novels was an adventure in itself. Years ago, it was on my heart to write a story about the Revolutionary War era in the area I live in, Frederick County, Maryland. I dove into big leather-bound books in the library archive and read some harrowing accounts of settlers in the 1700s that gave me goosebumps.

There were the great Indian Wars and the hopes of the British to bring the Nations onto their side to fight the Americans. Chief Logan, a peacemaker, joined in the hapless war after his family was massacred. Settlers fled east, and the fervor of the American's to be independent grew to a fevered pitch.

Back in Britain, families were torn in allegiance to either the King and his policies, or their American cousins, some of which were family members, sons who had gone to the fruitful land to build their fortunes.  

Both these books were first published in 2003, unabridged and unedited, and were out of print by 2005. After I had become vetted as an author, after writing and publishing through Abingdon Press four novels, my agent and former editor recommended I edit the books and bring them back to my readers. And so, I deligently worked on revisions, and have brought them back in a 2-in-1 collection first in ebook with Kindle. Later, in a few weeks, in paperback.

My husband formatted the book and did all the uploading. My son Paul designed the beautiful cover. It was so fun making this a family effort. I'm thrilled to have reissued these books on my own, combined, with a cover I approved, with a price that is sure to make readers happy, and a story that will last with them a long time. The reason for the latter is not merely due to the story between patriot John Nash and the young British girl he falls in love with, but that the story is laced with events that actually occurred, some of which you will not find in history books today, fictionalized to flow with the story.

Here is a synopsis.

John Nash, has built a new life in the Maryland frontier, and journeys back to England to see his father before the first shots of the Revolution are fired. Rebecah, a young woman who has known little more than the solitude of an isolated manor has lost her father and is now under the control of a domineering patriarch. As their romance unfolds, they become trapped in the schemes of her uncle and immersed in one of the most infamous Indian wars in Colonial history. 
As the firebrands of Revolution grow hot, they marry and work together to build their estate, Laurel Hill. Facing a strange new world, Rebecah experiences the prejudice of being English, but finds friendship and acceptance in the wilds of the Maryland frontier. Joy reins at Laurel Hill when she announces she is carrying a child. Nash, known as Jack, is captain of a band of rangers who protect the frontier families from Indian attack. His friendship with Chief Logan has not prevented the Indian War from reaching their peaceful home along the lush hills of the last outpost.  
Can he protect his wife from warring Indians and from a man who has no allegiance to any nation, tribe, or creed, wanted for robbery and murder, who has vowed vengeance? In Thorns in Eden and The Everlasting Mountains, love and faith are the sustaining forces that cannot be overtaken by the vines of adversity.  

 In EBook for $2.99:
Paperback to Follow.
Praise for 'Thorns in Eden & The Everlasting Mountains.

Rita Gerlach captures the feel of Colonial America in her sweeping saga, Thorns in Eden. With lush descriptions and well-drawn, captivating characters, Gerlach creates a story I won't soon forget. ~ Author Jamie Carie

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Writing 'After the Rain' with heart palpatations.

This has been the coldest April I can remember. But it is keeping me inside at my desk. I put on a sweater on this morning, and worked on 'After the Rain' all day, except for a lunch break. I listened to the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack and others while writing. Music stirs my imagination more than silence, and the dialogue flowed out of me.

 I am loving writing this novel. I just finished a scene that got my heart pounding. I could see the look on Louisa's face when her grandmother told her she was leaving, and the anxiety Jackson felt when his father told him he had tickets for the train going west toward the Blue Ridge Mountains.

From Louisa's scene

Without making a sound, she left and went to her room. She changed her clothes, and when the cab arrived she went downstairs with Millie trailing behind her. She had no way of knowing what calamity would face her the next time she came back through it.

Jackson's scene:
           Jackson hurried to the peg on the wall and grabbed his hat.
            “Where are you going?” his father asked.

            “There is something I’ve been wanting to say to Miss Borden, Pa. This might be my only chance for a long time.”

            He pushed on his hat, drew his coat on, and stepped back out into the cold.

What I know is ahead is my heroine is about to hear some devastating news that will have a ripple effect and cause her comfortable world to come tumbling down. My hero will be faced with a challenge he never expected.

When writing a novel, you have to see every scene in your mind's eye as if a movie were running through it. You have to be able to feel what your characters are feeling, touch what they touch, taste what they taste, hear and see what they hear and see. Otherwise they will fall flat.

When you write, do you feel? Does your heart swell inside you? Do you cry when it is a sad scene, smile when there is joy in your characters lives? Writer, you are an actor. Did you know that? You are acting on paper. You are everyone of your characters, because if you are a good writer, even a great one, you will be 'in character'. You will be your heroine and your hero. You will see their world through their eyes. 

Robert Frost wrote: 

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” 

If you are not a writer, but you find a novel that accomplishes this for you, puts you right smack dab in the book, send a note to the author and tell them. You'd be surprised how much a note from a reader encourages a writer to keep writing.

 I recommend the book 'Getting Into Character' by author Brandilyn Collins.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

THE FINALE! The Making of a Book Cover

 Book covers are the first thing readers see when considering purchasing a book. Book covers are the first step in whether a reader is drawn to the story. A poorly designed cover can prevent a novel from being a success.
If it isn't selling maybe it is the cover that is not attacting readers. Some may not agree, saying it shouldn't matter what the cover looks like, but it does. You know the old saying, 'Don't judge a book by it's cover'. When this saying came about, books were hard bound and simple, some with a bit of gilding and fancy scroll work, but  not like the graphic designs we see today. If you have any old books on your shelf, like I do, you know what I mean.

 It is in our nature to be drawn to beauty. We are in awe at a vivid sunset or a golden sunrise. We soak in the glory of a starry moonlit night, or the allure of an open rose. 

In this post, I want to share the production of a novel I plan to have released this May. It is a two-in-one historical drama of romantic love and frontier adventure beginning in 1774 in Georgian England and Colonial Maryland.

The cover is extremely important to me. So I conducted a poll, and everyone said 'have the heroine on the front'. As a result, I began searching for the perfect model. I poured through online stock photos. Nothing but a lot of cheesy stuff

Finally, after a long search, I found a young lady's page on Flicker. She makes and models period clothing. When I saw the photo above in her turquoise gown, I knew she was exactly the model I was looking for. She perfectly represents my heroine, Rebecah Brent, in demeanor and looks. So I emailed her and asked if I could have her permission to use her for the book cover, and she promptly replied and sent me other photos to choose from.

The aqua color of her gown was wrong for the period. My designer, who happens to be my oldest son Paul, changed the dress color also because it was too bright for the emotion we were aiming for. Then he used two of my photos, a sunset and a farm field, and inserted them. There were tweaks to be made and he wanted to make a new banner for the title, and we chose black for the spin to match her choker.

We were on our way to an awesome book cover that readers would love. How do I know that? I placed the cover on Facebook and asked. The response was enthusiastic. One last point, I highly recommend Amazon's KDP program for authors who want to bring their out of print books back to readers. Visit this site to see how some bestselling writers have done just that.

Here is the final cover. 

As a reader, what do you look for in a book cover? What makes you want to pick up the book and read it?

(Thorns in Eden & The Everlasting Mountains to be released May 1st to Kindle and in paperback, exclusively through Amazon.)

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why the Bother?

What motivates a writer to seek publication? Why do they go through the disappointment of getting  rejection letters? Sometimes our feet get in the door a little ways when an agent or editor asks to see a partial. Then the door slams and bruises our toes.  If we are lucky, we may get a request for a full. Rejoice! Our foot is in the door. Then another rejection comes with a 'thanks but no thanks'. Or we may get an acceptance and lots of hard work begins.

Why do we put ourselves through it?

When I walk into a bookstore and my eyes scan the rows and rows of novels, a sense of awe and longing overcomes me. It is difficult to explain the feeling. I'm sure I'm not the only writer that feels this way. The question that comes to my mind the most is this. How did all these writers get past all the roadblocks and make it to publication? There could be a hundred answers to that question, but one thing is certain...they did not give up. I guarantee you, every author you've read has had been rejected.

The writing process is an incredible adventure. But when I write 'the end' and have polished a story, a stark

Why do I want to be published? Perhaps to affirm that what I'm doing, all the time I've put into writing, is worth it. Perhaps it is to scratch out a bit of a living. But more so, it is because I want to take people away from their daily grind to an imaginary place where they can escape the world for a while, just as I have done while writing the story.

A stark white manuscript is not an end in itself. I can't let that document full of words and letters sit in a file. I seek publication because I am compelled to see my story as a 'book'.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Up and Coming Release

Coming later this spring, Thorns In Eden & The Everlasting Mountains, a 2-in-1 collection will be released in Kindle and paperback. This is a reissue of one of my earlier books in a revised version.

An American patriot and an English high-born lady, hold fast to their love amid a harsh wilderness and the drumbeats of war.

I was really lucky to find the model for the cover and obtain permission from the photographer to use her image. My son designed the cover, changed the dress color to match the scenery. 

I'm excited to bring these two books back to my readers in one volume. It's a great time for authors. With the Amazon Kindle programs many of us are reissuing past titles that have been out of print for years, titles we never thought would be available to our fans again. 


Colonial born, but English bred, John Nash, seeks to build a new life in the Maryland frontier. In 1773 revolution is certain. Called Jack by his fellow patriots, he decides to return to England to see his family before the fighting begins. There he meets Rebecah Brent, whose dreams of happiness seem unattainable, until the day she meets the courageous patriot and they fall in love.

Trapped in the schemes of Rebecah's uncle, Sir Samuel Brent, they are forced apart. Jack has no other alternative than to return to America without Rebecah. There he becomes engaged in one of the most infamous Indian wars in Colonial history. His biggest battle is to let Rebecah go…a fight he knows he cannot win, as his love for her grows stronger.

Will love bring them together again? Will forgiveness strengthen the bond between them? And when faced with the trials of war, will a place called Laurel Hill remain their refuge?

If you would be willing to help get the word out about this book when it is released, please let me know. I'm putting together a list of bloggers who would be willing to post about the book. I'll have all you need. All you will have to do is cut and paste. 

Another way to help will be to post on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. If you are a member of a book club, I can send you book club questions and bookmarks.

Fondly, Writing from the Frederick Valley in Maryland,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beyond the Valley Characters

When I begin a novel, I like finding photos of actors that fit the characters if the book was made into a movie. Plus they give me a visual besides my imaginary one. 

Here's my poster for the characters in Beyond the Valley.  

Can you name all the characters (not the actors' names) in the poster that are in Beyond the Valley
Try to name as many as you can for a chance to win a signed paperback copy of either titles in The Daughters of the Potomac Series, Surrender the Wind, or The Rebel's Pledge in ebook.

Winners will be drawn at random. USA only please.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How I define Inspirational Historical Romance

For the writer who is penning inspirational historical romance:

Inspirational historical romance is meant to touch the heart of a reader and to remind them there is hope in our most challenging moments. As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. Historicals are more than stories with dates and events. Historicals are meant to take the reader back to a time and place where people went through things we go through today. We write it to entertain, yes. But our novels should also enhance what readers know historically. 

Our books should be a safe haven from the secular novels that glorify the flesh and push lust rather than self-sacrificing love. Faith is an element, and a part of our characters lives, without preaching a sermon. Inspirational historical fiction allows the reader to 'see' the sermon, rather than 'hear' one.

What readers want:

They want the love between the hero and the heroine to be from the heart as they face adversity. In most secular historical romances lust is often the foundation of the characters’ relationships and the conquest of the hero to conquer the heroine. Readers of inspirational fiction want the absence of explicit sexual content and offensive language. Readers are looking for stories of hope.

Secular historical romances leave out the spiritual. They are written for readers who do not want a faith element in the books they read. That sums up the difference in a nutshell—the absence of the spiritual. 

I do wish more secular readers would give Christian fiction a try, especially historicals. In days long ago, people were more religious than we are led on to believe. Even in romances such as Sense & Sensibility and Jane Eyre, there are spiritual aspects that are carefully woven into the stories. Colonel Brandon is compassionate and caring, so much so that his love for Marianne is withheld so she may find her own happiness. He is self-sacrificing, and in the end it is his love that is shown true, opposed to Willoughby who is a lustful, self-serving man. 
In Jane Eyre we have a loving, virtuous heroine, whose challenge on many levels is her feelings for the  tortured Mr. Rochester. It is obvious Jane’s purpose is to rescue Rochester from depression, self-loathing, and deception.  Instead of living with him, she leaves him, and he is confronted with his depravity. 

Not long ago I read a blog by a Christian man slamming Christian romances, warning girls should not read them because they fill their heads with expectations that are not reality. This may be true for some romances that are dulled down from adversity, where everything is perfect and sweet. But not for all. Many Christian novels address the realities of life that people face today so readers can relate to the character's dilemma. Perhaps there are not as many as readers would hope. This is where readers come in.

 Tell us what you want. 
What issues would you like to see Christian novelists address? 
What is it that keeps you engaged and turning the pages? 
Authors will listen. Let's hope publishers will as well.