Saturday, May 31, 2008

I crack myself up...

For reason I'll keep to myself, I'm reading my old diaries. I gotta tell you, if you're a teenager or have a teenager, please, keep a diary or tell them to keep a diary.

I love pulling out my diaries and reading them. I laugh out loud every other page. I kept them for seventeen years and after I got married, moved more to prayer and spiritual journaling. Although, my tossed up diary prayers like, "Oh, God, please let him ask me out," could be considered spiritual. A-hem.

This from April 13, '77.

"Oh, guess what? Partner (a nickname for a co-worker) told me Mr. Fisher (Publix manager, name changed to protect the innocent) is being transfered, even demoted! I 'bout died. There goes the ole ball game."

ROFLOL. What sixteen year old writes, "there goes the ole ball game." In 1977. Too, too funny. Okay, maybe you had to be there. Maybe you have to be me, but I think it's funny.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Brad Pitt on Brad Pitt

I liked this quote.

[Time magazine, 10/13/97] You shouldn't speak until you know what you're talking about. That's why I get uncomfortable with interviews. Reporters ask me what I feel China should do about Tibet. Who cares what I think China should do? I'm a [bleeping] actor! They hand me a script. I act. I'm here for entertainment. Basically, when you whittle everything away, I'm a grown man who puts on makeup.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I am...

... listening to Christmas music.

I'm such a sap. ;)

In other news, my summer release from Thomas Nelson, Love Starts With Elle, is Romantic Times Book Club Reviews, TOP PICK for July. Well, one of three. I'm stoked. It's my first Top Pick.

All glory goes to Jesus! I really was worried about this book because I wrote it in third person which is not my favorite voice. But I learned a lot writing in first person, so I tried to add the close, personal voice to the third person narrative.

Here's the review:

Hauck is quickly making a name for herself as an insightful and thoughtful
author. It's great to catch up with characters from previous novels as well
as meet new ones. Elle is vulnerable, yet wise, and the romantic angle will
leave you sighing with delight.

Summary: Elle Garvey is eager to get married, so when her pastor boyfriend
of two months pops the question, she doesn't hesitate to accept. Although it
means moving to Dallas from South Carolina, Elle knows she can operate an
art gallery anywhere. But things don't exactly happen according to plan, and
when Elle meets Heath, her heart is tugged in different directions. Can she
trust God to show her the path to choose?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I was probably six or seven years old when I became aware of the Vietnam war. We lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma and my dad attended ORU and worked part-time as a youth pastor.

The teens then - oh, they seemed so old and mature to me - wore aluminum wrist bands with the name of their friends or family fighting a million miles away in unknown jungles. Perhaps they wore the name of a soldier they'd never met.

We moved a year or so later to a small town outside of Tulsa, Haskell. There, one of the young women in our church lost her fiance in Nam.

I'm sad to say I don't remember much about it, but since then, war has always impacted me. Not like some. I'm proud of our men and women who've given their lives for my safety and freedom.

"They stand on the wall..."

A semi-history buff, I stayed awake nights as a young teen reading no-holds-barred WW 2 books. I can remember slamming one of the thick, academic books closed as I read of the Nazi concentration camps, and the experimental labs, the testing they did on live humans.

I felt sick. I felt fear. And since then, I've loved our military and those who fought so men like Adolph Hitler don't succeed.

The world is still full of tyrants, of evil, and it's naive to believe "good dialog" will simply do the trick.

We need our men and women in uniform. I'm proud of America's strength because it is the thing that keeps us free.

That and the grace of God.

Many years ago while working near DC, I visited the Vietnam Memorial War. Standing before those list of names, I wept. But I am oh so grateful.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday afternoon napping

Sleeping... coming to now and then... watching Gilmore Girls reruns on DVD. (Thanks, Jodi!) It's a beautiful day here.

Worship went well this morning. I am blessed with such a good band! Nevertheless, God seemed to enjoy our singing.

Went out to lunch with a guest and I managed to stay within Weight Watcher's points.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What I've been up 2

So, you're wondering, "Rach, do you blog any more or are we just supposed to imagine what your life is all about?"

No indeedy, you're not. Please don't. I'm blogging, see, I'm blogging.

I've been busy, too. Working on a new synopsis for next book, working title Dining with Joy. How do you like it?

I'm reviving my celebrity "chef" idea. Only she's not so much a chef... Stay tuned. Susie Warren and I really hashed out the story this week with me pausing to get input from the lovely and gracious Ami McConnell, editor extraordinaire.

Tonight we had this whole story worked out, Suz and I giving each other a thousand mile apart high fives when I go, "Wait, we can't do that scenario. I've already done it."

I took a break to think and asked the Lord for an idea and ta-da, it came! God is so good. Called Suz to run it by her, check for holes, then called Ami and she said, "Sounds good. I like it." And I'm off to rework the synopsis. Yay!

Note to all you writers out there. If you are reworking a story from a previous synopsis. Don't. Just start over. It's too hard to reset the tone of the new or modified work. The more you try to edit from an existing synopsis, the more convoluted the story becomes.


Fire Dweller prayer was fab tonight. I love, love leading worship with Javier. We get this rhythm going, back and forth with antiphonal songs, weaving them in with the prayers being offered.

He was doing some jazzy stuff on the guitar tonight that was really good. He's so incredibly talented.

I love the flow of the Spirit between us. And that he's a good friend, a true brother.


Off to bed with a growling stomach, but I weigh in tomorrow for Weight Watchers. Must be good.


I love my husband. He's the absolute best. Just felt like adding that line on tonight. I can't begin to put into words what an amazing man he is. I am so very grateful to the Lord for him!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Welcome to the "Sweet Life" blog tour!

To celebrate the release of Sweet Caroline, I'm hosting a blog tour and a Scrumptious Baking Basket give away!

Fun! All you have to do is sign up for my newsletter here and you'll be entered to win the gift basket stuffed with a super cool apron, a signed copy of Pat Conroy's Low-Country cookbook, a pie plate, rolling pin, and oven mit. The contest ends 6/3 and the winner will be announced 6/5!

I'm super excited to be visiting these AWESOME blogs! What a blessing. Here is the schedule of blogs I'll be making stops at! Make sure to leave a comment on their blogs, because I'll be randomly selecting two people (who leave comments on these blogs during the tour) to receive a copy of Sweet Caroline.

Karla at Looking Towards Heaven

Martha at Our Familys Adventures
I enjoyed this book! It had great humor, a lively story line with great characters.

Trish at Books For Mom
Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck is all that and more! In fact, I have had to wrestle my own copy of Sweet Caroline out of the hands of my almost thirteen year old daughter's hands to even read it! She is addicted to it now, and I can't get it away from her!

Kathy at Sumballo

Angie at God Uses Broken Vessels

Deborah at A Cup of Joy
I loved this book! Such an enjoyable read. Of all the books I have read in my lifetime, some have made me cry…some have made me laugh…some have sent a chill down my spine…this one made me hungry!

Lena at A Christian Writers World

Amy at Random Thoughts Just have to tell you that the character of Caroline is soooo me. Her thought processes are just like mine. I loved this book. I loved the story. I loved that the author focused on how the character felt, dreamed and just lived.

Miralee at Coming Home

Melody at Kids, Cakes, Dishes, Laundry, In that order
The thing I loved most about this book was the cast of characters. Rachel Hauck has assembled a group of characters that are diverse, interesting, and highly entertaining. I fell in love with the staff of the Frogmore CafĂ© immediately, and when the book ended, I found myself wanting more. I didn’t want to let go of my new friends quite so soon, and I really wanted to know “what happened next”! To me, that’s always a sign of a good book…that it leaves me wanting to keep reading.

Laura at Texas Okie
The ending is not what you think. I thought this book kept the reader interested in the story line and kept you wanting more.

Tasra at Lessons From the Scrapbook Page
I will say this is now my favorite Rachel Hauck book. It was effortless to read and the story drew me in subtly yet strongly. I actually took my time reading it because I knew if I read it in one night, it would be over and I'd miss it. I actually practiced restraint in reading if you can believe that.

Margaret at The Cappuccino Life
I was very interested to note that one of the hard choices was the decision whether or not to sleep with a very persuasive boyfriend--and choosing not to. It's not often that a romantic heroine holds out for a better man and marriage. Even in "Christian romance" I've noticed heroines regularly make "mistakes".

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee
That special menu touch is one way that author Rachel Hauck draws the reader in and makes her care about what's happening to the characters and how Caroline will make out in the end.

Deborah at Papcuts
After reading Rachel Hauck's new book Sweet Caroline, I imagined what it would be like if her main character Caroline visited a library.

Jamie at Surviving the Chaos
I put this book away like a pint of Dove Unconditional Chocolate Ice Cream. I just ate. it. up.

Dena at Mother Inferior
...I'm rarely taken in by a book like I was with the one I'm promoting today. Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck is a fun, summery chick-lit novel, but it's more than that. It's also a well-crafted, lighthearted-but-not lighweight literary representation of the delicious grace of God, served up with lots of laughter. Simply put, I loved it!

AnneMarie at Not Just a Mom
I just finished this great novel about a woman who always tries to do right by everyone. Shes the kind of girl who never wants to let anyone down. Caroline has put her life on hold so many times; she’s not sure where to begin. But God has a plan.

Jill at Christian Work At Home Moms

Joy at the Five Js
I also appreciate a well-written book, and Sweet Caroline is definitely that—a well-written book. Rachel Hauck didn’t write a predictable, “I-gotta-fulfill-my-contract”, Christian romance novel. No, Rachel crafted an original story that kept me turning the pages to read more, even at one in the morning—when I really should have been sleeping.

Laura at Lighthouse Academy
The faith message isn’t preachy, but expertly woven in. The setting is so developed, it is almost a character. And the secondary cast is strong, each with their own voice. The writing is impeccable. Don’t miss SWEET CAROLINE.

Michelle at Edgy Inspirational Author
I wasn't sure what to expect with this story. At first I thought it would be a straight chick lit, and in some ways it was. However, Sweet Caroline touched me in a deeper place than most lits do. I actually got choked up a few times. I rarely do these days. There were some very funny moments, some truly enjoyable girl times, and some romantic interludes that sizzled and popped. Best of all, though, was a spiritual awakening and a discovery of one's place in this world that was breathtaking and yes, sweet.

Billie at Hearing the Music Amongst the Noise
I've only begun to read this book. And it's the perfect under the shade tree book!

Barb at A New Chelsea Morning will tell you simply, I loved this book. Reading about Caroline and her quirky friends and how she always puts them first, herself last and does what it takes to help them made me want to be a better person. I couldn't put this one down and the Christian theme running throughout the book makes it even more special. You know I wouldn't lead you astray - trust me when I tell you, you'll love this book.

Amy My Friend Amy
I really loved this book. It's sweet, authentic, and real. It isn't really your typical chick lit novel, it's very charming and a joy to read.

Melody at Slurping Life
Living in the south, the real south, I identified and fell in love with each of Rachel's characters and settings. I know all about buttery biscuits, low country cuisine and South Carolina beaches. I have even been to Gay Fish Company while vacationing on the South Carolina isles. Immediately after beginning to read the book I became absorbed in Caroline's life, her kind spirit and her faithfulness to friends and family.

Audra at Penning Prose
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and Rachel Hauck’s delightful story-telling style. This is the second book I’ve read of hers (Georgia On My Mind being the first) and I look forward to reading more of her books. Add this one to your summer reading list!

Jennifer at Snaphots
I always find my mouth watering when reading stories that have food as a subplot. The descriptions of the food at the Frogmore Cafe definitely provoked that response–Frogmore Stew with shrimp and corn, moist cake with buttercream frosting, coffee lightened with half and half, and most importantly, Bubba’s Buttery Biscuits.

Betsy at Writer At Large
This was a fantastic novel! I laughed, squealed, gasped, cried, and yelled right along with Caroline as I read her moving, heartfelt story. Talk about relatable characters! Anyone who has ever felt the need to please others at their own expense will find themselves shaking their fist full of Kleenex right alongside Caroline.

I truly couldn't get enough of the town, the diner, the was all so real. My only advice when you read this story is to read it slowly - you'll be so disappointed when it's over!

Revka at Our Family Porch
Sweet Caroline by Rachel Hauck is a fun read.

Lauren at Baseball and Bows
Sweet Caroline, by Rachel Hauck, is an enjoyable book. I appreciated that the characters seemed very real to me. Their lives were far from perfect, and their problems did not always work out nicely and neatly. The characters did, however, learn that they could trust in God, regardless of how messy their lives might be. That is a great lesson for all of us!

Cindy at Notes in the Key of Life
You'll enjoy finding out. Rachel Haucks writing is fresh, breezy and contemporary, and this book is as refreshing as an ice-cold root beer on a hot summer day.

Beth at The Writing Road
Rachel Hauck weaves an engaging story about the consequences of choices. The ending left me a bit surprised--but life has a way of doing that, doesn't it? Sometimes I think Hauck ended the book just right. Sometimes I wish she'd written a different ending. Hhhhmm. That's also a bit like real life, isnt it?

Joanna at Becoming His
I was sent a copy of Rachel Haucks latest release, Sweet Caroline...and I loved it! If youre looking for a novel to fill a little "me" time this summer, choose this one. As its title suggests, it is a "sweet" story. A lighthearted tale that isn't so light on the spiritual goods!

Patty at Girlfriends in God
I really liked this book. It is the type of book you dont want to put down. It had a great message on salvation, new beginnings and how much God loves us. The characters in this book are eccentric and fun to read about. This is summer time and what a great time to read some new books and this one will not disappoint.

Pam at Without Fear
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It's an easy read, because it quickly draws you into the lives of its characters and helps you to put yourself into their shoes without much effort. I can fully recommend this as a summer read for poolside or relaxing on the beach. You'll come away charmed by Caroline and her off beat friends at Frogmore Cafe...

DeeDee at Fiddledeedee
Recently, I received a copy of Rachel Haucks Sweet Caroline. I immediately fell in love with the small town that Rachels heroine, Caroline, calls home. The characters are vivid, and the story makes for a wonderful summertime read.

Lynetta at Open Book
Rachel Hauck tells such an engrossing, true to life story with all the Southern charm and wit one would expect in a chick lit novel. Caroline is an endearing character from page one—we are captivated by her dilemma—a sense of obligation and the desire for something big and exciting in her life. Hauck employs the present-tense, first person point of view typical in the genre, with seemingly little effort. As readers we are actually there with Caroline, watching her every move and hearing her every thought. This is by far the best chick lit I've read in a long, long time.

Tricia at Its Real Life
I loved the book! Make sure you add it to your summer reading list...if you can only read one--make it this one! You won't be disappointed.

Mindy at Ponderings of the Heart
This book delivered in all areas. It is love story in more than one way I think, and was all around an enjoyable read!!! The plot drew me in and the character's could have been friends of mine! I loved this book.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

She Always Wore Red

I'm honored to have my friend and fellow author, Angie Hunt stop by today to talk about her latest release from Tyndale House, She Always Wore Red.

Sounds like a great story, Angie. I love the cover. Can you give us a brief synopsis?

"I'd love to," said Angie.

Jennifer Grahamm, mother, student, and embalmer's apprentice, could use a friend.

She finds one in McLane Larson, a newcomer
to Mt. Dora. While McLane's soldier-husband serves overseas, Jen promises to support McLane, then learns that her tie to this woman goes far deeper than friendship.

When a difference of opinion threatens their relationship, Jennifer discovers weaknesses in her own character . . . and a faith far stronger than she had imagined.

A Romantic Times Top Pick! "Be prepared to shed a few tears in Hunt's emotionally gripping tale, the second in the Fairlawn series. With themes of family, friendship, and trusting God, the plot is enhanced by realistic and engaging characters. Jennifer's growth as a character is evident, and the supporting cast enhances the story in a significant way." --Melissa Parcels, Romantic Times reviewer

Congratulations on the Top Pick, Angie, but um, what's up with the funky photo?

Tee hee. It's my "serious author" photo. I snapped it myself, sitting at my computer. Notice the funereal pose.

Okay, now I'm going to have to try it. I'll email you later about the "scratch markings. I like it. But enough about me.

The first book in this series is
Doesn't She Look Natural? Do people have to read the first book in order to understand the second? (And congratulations on the Christy Award nomination for that title!)

Thank you--I'm honored. And no, people don't have to read the first book first, though it's always nice to read the books in order to get a sense of the story and background. But all the books will work as single title reads.

I also encourage people not to wait until all the books are released. Go out and by the first two now.

The Fairlawn series is set in a funeral home. Did you observe the embalming process in your research? I know for me, the more hands-on or the more information I have the better I can plot out the story and develop characters.

Did you read about embalming and interview morticians? It's fascinating.

Unfortunately, with the advent of all the new privacy laws (HIPPA, anyone?), I was unable to observe an embalming - and believe me, I was ready and willing. So most of my research came from books, photographs, and interviews (and once you announce that you're working on funeral homes, morticians seem to come out of the woodwork!)

It just so happens that one of my Tyndale editors grew up in a funeral home. She has been a great asset--she gave me the idea for the funny flower arrangements and the funeral singers, plus I had written a scene in book three where Jen and Gerald sit down to eat a steak in the prep room.

My editor said that didn't feel right. "Too weird?" I asked. "No," she said. "There's always an odor in that room . . . not very appetizing." Ah. That's the sort of thing you can't always get from a book. :-/

(So true!)

I certainly hope the embalming stuff didn't gross anyone out, and I tried to ease my readers into it just as Jen is herself "eased" into it. Book one - the barest trace, book two, a complete description of an arterial embalming, book three, the cavity embalming. And frankly, that's as far as I want to take it. Any more would be gross for grossness's sake.

I think readers are always intrigued by new and different topics. You're so good at developing unique stories, Angie.

id you and your editors disagree over how much of the body preparation process was acceptable to include? I ask because I find all that sort of thing fascinating, and I think that I would include far more than most people would care to read, initially.

Actually, the embalming you "see" is the embalming I put in. :-) After 20 years in this business, I think I've developed a pretty good instinct for knowing how much is too much.

And you can be descriptive in a way that is clinical rather than gross. For example, "She searched for the carotid artery" as opposed to "her stomach clenched as her gloved fingers eased into the warm opening and she tried not to think of fish guts." So actually, none of my editors ever remarked on the level of detail . . . and none of my readers have complained. Yet. :-)

I see what you mean. Nicely done! So, has this series changed your attitude about death?

I'm utterly at peace about it - not in a hurry to pass on, you understand, but very relaxed about the process and my final destination. Doing research has also convinced me that I want to be buried, not cremated, and that I'd be better off buying my casket online.

Can you give us a hint about what happens in the third and final Fairlawn book?

Sure. People die and Jennifer buries most of them. It's a funeral plot.

Ha,ha, you're so funny for one who writes about funeral homes. And besides, that's not much of a hint. Come on, give it up.

I don't like to give all the plot twists away! But, here's a blurb from the back cover copy (yes, the book is finished and handed in.)

She's In a Better Place, the third book of the Fairlawn series, Jennifer Graham is now running the Fairlawn Funeral Home. Her work takes on a new dimension when Gerald Huffman, her assistant and mentor, reveals that he has a serious illness. When she learns that he and his daughter haven't spoken in years, Jen decides to help them reconcile . . . but things don't go exactly as she planned. Once again, the mortuary is a setting for lessons of laughter, love, and life.

I like it. The setting - a funeral home - is unique, but these books are really about the typical challenges that face women today, right?

Oh, yes. Jennifer is a single mom juggling school, motherhood, and a career - and I think most modern women can relate to her. I certainly can.

Well, Angie, as always, it's been a pleasure to chat. Thanks for-

Um, Rachel, I think you're supposed to ask where they can buy the book.

I was gonna, I was gonna. (blush) So, please tell us how to get ahold of this book!

Thanks for asking! You can order it from your favorite online bookstore. Or, to make it simple, just click here:

For more information, visit

Be blessed, friend.

Readers, please, take time to get this series. I know you'll love it!

Friday, May 09, 2008

I like heavy metal?

Tonight a bunch of us gathered at church to just worship and tug on God for more of Him. We hunkered down in the kid's sanctuary because the youth-types had a metal concert.

Oh joy - Tony and I were fortunate enough to catch the last and headliner band, Black Regiment.

The lead singer shoved my Sunday morning worship mike into his mouth and sang like he's possessed. A deep, growling sound. Can you imagine? This rosy cheeked teen with shiny hair.

I liked the bass player. He looked all clean cut, but when the music got going, his stance widened and he bobbed up and down, up and down.

The electric guitar players did the head bob-hair twirl thing. Very '80s, but I loved it. Especially when the drums and bass got going. I even teared up. God was there.

Too fun.

Then there was drama with some kid who didn't pay and came at security with a nail driven baseball bat.

At our little worship service where we watched a Justin Rizzo worship DVD - it's the best - we had a good presence of the Lord. I kept feeling like oil was being poured over my head. Still do, in fact.

Working on a new story. How do you like this title? "Love Ends With E." Catchy? No? The opposite of "Love Starts With Elle."

Okay, okay, don't tomato splat me off the stage. I'm going, I'm going.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

My barking dogs

And I don't mean my feet. Hahaha, get it. "My dogs are barking..."

Well, okay, never mind.

My dog, dogs, you know them Pal and Lola, bark. Yep. Not all the time, but Pal lays by the front window looking out, then goes berserk when something goes by: another dog, a person on a bike way, way down the road, the school bus, and the piece de resistance (snicker,) a squirrel.

Yet when Lola first moved in with us two months ago. She didn't bark at things passing by the window. No siree Bob, she didn't. But Pal taught her. Nice doggy.

She has this shrill kind of bark that makes my heart pound. But I'm so happy she's participating in family traditions, I hardly mind.

When I open the back door from them to run out and bark, Lola fires into the yard with Pal, rou-rou-rouing away.

Pal looks at her, she looks up at him, "Isn't this fun?"

They are good friends. Nothing like the turmoil with Jack and Pal. I couldn't have handled  another second of that gig.

Pal seems to endure Lola, if not appreciate her at times.

Red, on the other hand, is still an ornery cat and behaves as if all the world is his on a silver platter.

Off to Fire Dweller. Got to fill those "bowls!" Rev 8

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Author Intrusion

This happens to me frequently. I wake up in the pre dawn and in a twilight sleepy wakefulness, God speaks to me.

Story idea. Plot resolution. Encouragement. Ideas. Words for other people.

This morning, He spoke to me about "author intrusion." I shared it with our congregation as I led the way to Him in worship.

Author intrusion is when the story writer invades the story, telling the reader something the protagonist doesn't know. Often we see this written, "little did he know..."

Or, "By Tuesday, Jean would never want to see Frank again."

Really? How does Jean know. Trust me, I try to "see" into the future and so far, I'm blind about it.

Yet, a lot of older and classic fiction is infused with author intrusion. My guess is they used it as a way to build suspense. There are some modern, main stream writers who do this, but it's a technique I advise new writers to avoid.

Most books today are written in "third person limited" point of view. Meaning, the reader cannot know anything the protagonist(s) doesn't know. If Fred doesn't know what is going to happen on Tuesday, then neither should the reader. Unless, the clever and creative author switches to another point of view, Jean, where she confesses she's going to break up with Fred on Tuesday.

But the Lord spoke to me about author intrusion. HE, the author and perfecter of our faith wants to intrude our lives. He wants to take over in areas where we can't see. He wants us to trust He's writing a good and great story for us. About us.

But we struggle in our "third person," or "first person" limited point of view. If we don't know it or understand it, we don't believe it. Or think it exist. Or that "it" can happen.

But God is saying, "Yes it can. Trust Me."

Sometimes we just plain ole struggle with control and sin. We want to be in charge, dictate the story, tell God how it's to go down.

I always cringe when I hear writers say, "the characters just took over the story and told me how it was going to be." This is usually followed by questions of how to get out of their plot problems.

My characters say things all the time I didn't plan, but they never, ever change the direction of my story. I've deleted some really excellent dialog and scenes because they took the story to a place I couldn't use.

Let God write His name on your heart. Let Him author and perfect your faith. Listen to His story and believe. He is for you. He loves you. He has your very good in mind.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I've concluded this

It's about Jesus. Keeping our eyes on Him. No matter what the circumstances, no matter what's going on around us, gaze at Jesus.

He is love. He is willing. He is able.


This morning, I sat on the beach as the sun claimed the day and thick waves crashed the shore.