April 2020 New Releases

We hope that you’re all finding plenty of time to read…and if you need new suggestions, here’s a fantastic list for you! These new releases are great for a night in, because once you start them, you won’t want to stop! If you’d like to test out the author’s writing style, click on the covers below to read an excerpt. And if you’re interested in buying them, each title is linked to the Baker Book House website, where they’re offering free (US) delivery for online orders while their store is closed. Enjoy!

 

Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Plot Summary: After many matchmaking schemes gone wrong, there’s only one goal Lauren is committed to now—the one that will make her a mother. But to satisfy the adoption agency’s requirements, she must remain single, which proves to be a problem when Joshua appears. With an impossible decision looming, she will have to choose between the two deepest desires of her heart.

 

Daughter of Cana by Angela Hunt
Jerusalem Road #1

Plot Summary: When a wedding guest tells Tasmin to have the servants fill the pitchers with water, she reluctantly obeys and is amazed when it turns into the finest wine ever tasted in Cana. But when her twin brother, Thomas, impulsively chooses to follow the Teacher from Nazareth, she decides to follow the group and do whatever she must to bring her brother home.

 

Kings Falling by Ronie Kendig
The Book of the Wars #2

Plot Summary: On a mission to recover the Book of the Wars, Leif and his team are diverted by a foretelling of formidable warriors who will decimate the enemies of the ArC, while Iskra uses her connections to hunt down the book. As they try to stop the warriors, failure becomes familiar, and the threats creep closer to home, with implications that could tear them apart.

 

Dead End by Nancy Mehl
Kaely Quinn Profiler #3

Plot Summary: When multiple corpses are found, their remains point to a serial killer with a familiar MO but who’s been in prison for over twenty years—Special Agent Kaely Quinn’s father. In order to prevent more deaths, she must come face-to-face with the man she’s hated for years. In a race against time, will this case cost Kaely her identity and perhaps even her life?

 

Have you read anything this month that you’d want to recommend to others? Tell us about it!

Ask BHP: What Goes into Your Instagram Account?

Recently we had a reader write in, “I love your Instagram! What goes into all the fun book pictures and videos, and how do you decide what books to feature?”

Hello, it’s Rachael, here! I’m the copywriter and “Instagram guru” at Bethany House. My main responsibility is to write back covers, ads, bookmarks, and almost anything else that isn’t within the pages of a book. Though, when I started working at BHP, I launched our Instagram account and was given the title “Instagram Queen.” Capturing fun photos, shooting videos, and interacting with readers has become one of my favorite things about coming into work every day.

When I saw today’s Ask BHP question, I was elated! I love talking about our Instagram account almost as much as I love the fun I have with it.

ask bethany house

One of my favorite monthly features that we do on our Instagram account is the cover design videos. Our Senior Fiction Publicist, Amy, and I sneak into our Art Director’s office and steal his files on the books she wants to discuss, and we record short videos where she talks about photoshoots, shows the sketches our designers make before the cover is designed, and tells her theory about ancient helicopter technology that left a character at the top of a snowy mountain (see the video for Hope’s Highest Mountain). I don’t get to sit in on any of the meetings where cover decisions are made, so I’m constantly learning new things when we record these videos. You can find our cover design videos under the IGTV tab or in the “Cover Design” highlight on our page.

Photo Mar 26, 8 32 04 AM

Deciding on which books I’ll be featuring for the month is simple. I keep a list of the books we are releasing every month and make sure that each one is featured on our Instagram. I’m usually found wandering around the office asking coworkers for small knick-knacks they have in their office so I can use them for Instagram photos, or “hiring” hand models to hold books for me while I snap my photos. I love the dollar section at Target because that’s where I find my best props, and Amazon sells fantastic flat lay backdrops!

I also enjoy featuring our readers’ photos on our page, so if you “bookstagram,” tag us on Instagram and use the hashtag #BHPFiction and your photo could be chosen as a Feature Friday!

Photo Oct 26, 3 01 41 PM

I’d be lying if I said that we take our Instagram completely seriously because when it comes to taking photos, I’m usually found in the middle of a new shenanigan. I’ve been caught standing on chairs to get the perfect angle, hauling my entire bookcase into our sitting area for a “great idea,” and making use of the glass from a broken lamp. And since the best lighting in the office is right by our kitchenette, I’ve been caught every time. So when someone walks by and asks, “What could you possibly be doing this time?” I point them to the letter board hanging above my computer that says, “It’s an Instagram thing; you wouldn’t understand” and give them my trademark cheesy grin!

Photo Aug 08, 1 22 48 PM

If you haven’t already, follow our Instagram page at @bethanyhousefiction for sneak peeks at our cover design process, behind-the-scenes glimpses of our photoshoots, ebook deals, and weekly book recommendations! Don’t be afraid to send us a message if you have any questions, or simply want to say hi. I love hearing from our readers!

Photo Mar 26, 8 26 21 AM

I love trying new things, so what would you love to see on our Instagram in the future?

*To ask a question of your own, fill out the form here: https://forms.gle/MyzL6QPGh3JQKzyE8 

You’re Invited to a Game Night!

In the midst of all of the stressful news about cancellations and shut-downs, here are some pieces of good news from Bethany House:

  • Our nonfiction teams are putting together a list of ebook specials on books related to prayer and anxiety to help people who might be reaching out for hope in a stressful time.
  • It’s been fun to see readers sharing online about using responsible social distancing practices to catch up on their reading.
  • Some authors have emailed me letting me know that being freed from social obligations might give them what they need to meet a deadline without pulling their hair out.
  • Others are updating us with prayer requests for additional concerns in their lives right now, from at-risk family members to kids unexpectedly home from school and making uninterrupted writing time harder to sadness over canceled research trips. That may seem like bad news, but it’s a great chance to encourage each other and pray for one another.
  • And, last but not least…We’re hosting our first-ever Bethany House virtual game night, and you’re invited!

Many of our fiction authors wanted to do something fun and cooperative given all that’s going on in the world right now, while still encouraging everyone to be safe. So even though in-person author chats may be cancelled, you can stop by the Discussion tab of our Facebook event tonight, March 19, at 7 PM Central to play a few online games hosted by our authors.

We’ll be giving away books (or book retailer gift cards), challenging our brains (a little), and laughing (a lot) as we play word games, trivia games, and drawing games together. Hope to see you there!

If you’re interested in more game-related fun, Jaime Jo Wright is putting together a landing page for COVID-19 Boredom Survival, including a list of board games you can play virtually that I compiled based on years of experience living ten hours away from my game-loving family. Be sure to check it out!

Do you have a creative approach for fighting boredom during COVID-19 downtime?

7 Reader Survey Results

Recently, we’ve been putting up fun, reading-related polls on the Bethany House Facebook page. (Be sure to vote on them—they go up on Mondays!)

Because I’ve gotten a kick out of looking at the results, I thought all of you might too. Enjoy!

 

When you use a bookmark, is it more likely to be…
181 – Some random flat thing
114 – An actual bookmark

Look at our split between the orderly people and the grab-what’s-on-hand ones. You’ll notice I didn’t give an option for…*shudder* folding a corner of the page down.

 

Have you ever read a book where the main character shares your first name?
27% – I have!
73% – Sadly, no.

It was fun to have people share their fictional namesakes in the comments, or explain why their unusual name just hasn’t come up. A place to go for inspiration for future author naming crises? Maybe so!

 

How often do you visit your local library?
39% – Around 1-2 times a month
61% – More often than that

Book people love their libraries! The “regulars” shared about their favorite programs and services that make their library a go-to location. (Did anyone else ever dream about getting locked in a library overnight? That was all I wanted as a kid, but my mom was too vigilant to let it happen. So sad.)

 

Honest truth time: have you ever walked out of a bookstore without buying something?
16% – Hahahaha…no.
84% – Maybe once or twice

Okay, so either there are more fiscally-responsible browsers out there than I’d realized or some people are deluding themselves. If the books don’t get you, the little bookish gift items certainly will!

 

How do you feel about the (mostly joking) term “book boyfriend”?
67% – Not my favorite.
33% – Love it!

This one, posted near Valentine’s Day, was a little surprising to me. Most people agreed that it’s harmless fun, but the ones who didn’t care for it thought it was weird to think of fictional people as being real-ish, while the ones who loved it just got carried away with enthusiasm for their favorite romance couples. To each their own!

 

Do you set specific yearly reading goals?
44% – Yes! It’s motivating.
56% – No, too organized.

This was actually the closest to a 50-50 split of our polls so far. Not surprising, given our audience…if we’d asked the world in general, I think the reading goal-setters would be outnumbered. Whether you’ve got a challenge or resolution to guide you or you’re totally winging it (like me), here’s to many good books in the year ahead!

 

Do you have a favorite genre of books?
67% – Of course!
33% – Don’t make me pick!

Shoutouts to all genres made it into the comments, although there were some people who read so widely they couldn’t call out one as their favorite. I’m glad we’ve got books of all kinds to keep all readers happy.

So, readers…did any of these results surprise you? And in which of these were you part of the loud-and-proud minority option?

Prayer for Authors: March 2020

Since it’s the first Sunday of the month, we’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Green, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in March:

Lisa T. Bergren
Mary Connealy
Connilyn Cossette
Jody Hedlund
Tracie Peterson

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established.”—Proverbs 4:25-26 (CSB)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the ability to look “straight ahead” without distractions in areas where focus is needed.
  • For many readers to find these books and recommend them to friends who don’t know God.
  • For inspiration and determination when approaching new marketing or writing projects.

We really appreciate you taking time to pray for these authors and their books, releasing into the world this month. Those prayers make a difference!

March 2020 New Releases

Here at Bethany House, March is a great month for historical romance! Get to know these five leading ladies, from several eras of history, as they uncover intrigue, find love, and make sense of the changing world around them. You can start reading an excerpt of each of them by clicking on the covers. Enjoy!

Secrets of My Heart by Tracie Peterson
Willamette Brides #1

Plot Summary: Reunited with childhood friend and lawyer Seth Carpenter, recently widowed Nancy Pritchard must search through the pieces of her loveless marriage for the truth behind her husband’s death after his schemes come to light. But as they pursue answers, their attraction to each other creates complications, and dark secrets reveal themselves.

 

The Runaway Bride by Jody Hedlund
The Bride Ships #2

Plot Summary: Arabella Lawrence fled on a bride ship wearing the scars of past mistakes. Now in British Columbia, two men vying for her hand disagree on how the natives should be treated during a smallpox outbreak. Intent on helping a girl abandoned by her tribe, will Arabella have the wisdom to make the right decision, or will seeking what’s right cost her everything?

 

Selah by Lisa Bergren
The Sugar Baron’s Daughters #3

Plot Summary: When a Methodist preacher with a call to serve the slaves of Nevis settles at Selah’s family plantation, their shared purpose brings them together—despite her guardians’ concern over a romance that promises little security. As the Revolutionary War builds in the States and starvation looms, the future of the plantation and its people hangs in the balance.

 

Woman of Sunlight by Mary Connealy
Brides of Hope Mountain #2

Plot Summary: After they’re forced off their land by a ruthless cattle baron, Mitch Warden follows his family to the mountain, but he doesn’t expect to fall smitten with a woman dressed like Robin Hood. Intent on reclaiming his land, he must journey to the city—and when Ilsa insists on joining, the mismatched pair find themselves on an adventure they’ll never forget.

 

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette
Cities of Refuge #4

Plot Summary: On a hunt for his daughter’s killer, Liyam’s last hope is a bargain to rescue a strong-willed woman who refuses to leave her mission uncompleted. Can Tirzah convince him to fight alongside her in the refuge city of her birth? Or will his thirst for vengeance outweigh his duty to his people, God, and the woman he’s come to love?

 

Which of these historical costumes would you be most interested in wearing? (Assuming everyone else around you wore a similar fashion.)

Ask BHP: What Are the Best Things About Working for a Book Publisher?

Greetings, readers! Rachael Wing—copywriter and fiction Instagram coordinator—here! This week, our publicist and blog host, Amy Green, is at our seasonal sales conference at HQ in Michigan where they are discussing our Fall 2020 releases and other important publishing topics. Meanwhile, I was given control over the blog for this week and discovered an intriguing question in the Ask BHP inquiries: “What are the best things about working for a book publisher?”

Instead of naming off all of my favorite parts about working at Bethany House (which are innumerable), I sought out answers from multiple BHP employees to hear what they love most about their jobs. Enjoy!

ask bethany house

One of the best things about working for a book publisher is getting to help create products that I enjoy outside of work. I’m fueling my own favorite pastime, and working with people who love it as much as I do,”—Kristen, Art/Design Coordinator

“Being surrounded by book people! I love that I can ask anyone, ‘What are you reading?’ and come away with a great conversation and probably some new book recommendations to add to my TBR pile.”—Jessica, Editor

“Reading has played a huge role in my life since childhood, and I admit that it’s a dream come true to work with books and authors each day. One of my favorite things is getting to know who each author is as a person—it makes me smile to be able to encourage them in their coffee/chocolate addiction and hear what’s new with them. I also enjoy that my role includes a broad variety of tasks, such as researching confetti prices or personalized matchbox vendors.”—Brooke, Fiction Marketing Assistant

“I like getting to go back and forth with the author about plot and setting and characters. How many times have you wanted to do that with books you’ve read?!”—Jen, Line Editor

“Knowing how many people it actually takes to create a book and get it into the hands of the readers. Authors often include acknowledgements pages that do at least hint at that, but so many readers, myself included, skip over those that it wasn’t until I started working at a publishing house that I had a true appreciation for all the teamwork necessary to make a book a success.”—Kate, Copyeditor

“Getting to read manuscripts extra early!”—Raela, Senior Acquisitions Editor

“I love that I am surrounded by people who love words as much as I do! In fact, we have a board of sorts on my office window where we record ‘vocab points’ and ‘fauxcab points’ (made-up words)—every time someone uses a fun word, we add a post-it note to the board. Some of my favorites are: recalcitrant, obfuscation, and ‘schimid’ (shy/timid).”—Rachael, Copywriter and Fiction Instagram Coordinator

“My favorite thing is having access to hundreds of books at all times! Also, I love that I get to help launch authors’ stories out into the world for people to read.”—Serena, Fiction Marketing Assistant

“For me, learning what goes into creating and publishing a book has been really fun to learn. Having the opportunity to see a book start as a manuscript and go through so many different processes and people to become a physical book that I can hold and read is amazing. Every time I get to learn about another piece of the publishing puzzle is a good day.”—Mycah, Nonfiction Marketing Assistant

“I like that everything we produce is ultimately intended for the edification of people, especially our fellow brothers and sisters wherever they are. To lift up people with words infused with Jesus’ message to His creation. Our books are designed to have a positive impact on the world—to educate, inspire, and entertain—to build up and not tear down. We are the privileged ones that get to carry the message of hope which emanates from the actual creator of the universe. And, we get to do that with the gifts He’s given us.”—Paul, Creative Director

If you worked for a book publisher, what do you think your favorite part would be? 

*To ask a question of your own, fill out the form here: https://forms.gle/MyzL6QPGh3JQKzyE8 

Questions Authors Don’t Really Want to Answer (And Some They Do)

It’s hard to believe some of the strange questions authors are asked. Since I (Amy Green, Bethany House’s fiction publicist) manage our social media, authors will often come to me with the trickier reader messages that show up in their inboxes. “What should I say?” they’ll wonder, and I try to be as helpful as I can.

Leaving off the super bizarre ones (“Let me tell you about a dream I had that would make the perfect sequel to your novel…will you write it for me?”), there are some questions that many fiction authors would like to avoid. Some might surprise you, so I thought I’d unpack them here so you can learn why authors might uncomfortably change the subject when the person in front of you at a book signing asks them a question.

Don’t worry if you’ve ever asked an author anything vaguely like this—it’s mostly about tone and intention. And, of course, all of these are just generalizations based on what I’ve observed working in publishing. Every author is going to be different, but following these etiquette rules will probably help you out.

 

RED: Don’t ask. Just don’t.

Why is your book so expensive? OR When will your book be free in ebook?

My go-to response on this is: Well, it’s always free in your local library! (If it’s not there, most libraries allow patrons to request books, and authors love it when you do that.) Authors do get this question fairly often. They totally understand that not everyone can afford to auto-buy an extensive personal library’s worth of books every year, but at the same time, since they make a living at writing, they (and their publishers) need to price books to be worth the months and even years of time they spent creating them. By asking for deals, it might sound like you’re not valuing the work they put their heart and soul into.

How much money do you make?

Some authors (especially ones who teach about writing and publishing) may be fine discussing sales with fellow authors, but most would find this just as weird as anyone asking about the paycheck/salary of a “normal” career. Unless the author is a personal friend or has offered to share information about the finances of publishing, it’s better to avoid this one.

Why did you include [XYZ] in your book? WHAT SORT OF TERRIBLE PERSON ARE YOU?

This is totally different than a review or blog post where you point out an aspect of a book that bothered you or that you felt uncomfortable with. That’s the appropriate place for content warnings or questioning an author’s choices. But going directly to an author (or tagging an author on social media) and venting your complaints about their book is almost never a good thing to do. Put yourself in their place. It would be hard to know how to respond, and you’d probably feel hurt and defensive.

YELLOW: Proceed with caution.

I need moooooore. What happens to all of your characters after the end of the story?

Chances are, you’ll get an answer like “What do you think happens to them?” Unless they’re imitating J. K. Rowling and putting out Twitter updates on past characters that become part of the canon, many authors like to leave any details not in their book up to the reader’s imagination.

You haven’t had a new book out in a while. Why not?

Most authors don’t mind at all if you ask if they have a book coming out in the next year. If they do, they can give you a date so you can mark your calendar. But if they say no, probably leave it at that without pressing for more explanation. They might be between publishers or need to focus on their families or just aren’t sure what’s next in their career, and that sort of stuff is personal and sometimes a bit touchy.

Can I have a free copy of your book?

Again, authors do have to make money, so there are only so many books they can give away. It’s fine to ask if an author has a launch team you can apply for, a group of readers who help promote their book, if you know you’d be able to enthusiastically and effectively promote. That said…be careful about how many launch teams you join. You don’t want to commit to so much that you can’t actually put in the work, or be posting about so many novels that hardly anyone is listening to your recommendations anymore. And most authors have a strict limit on the number of review copies they can give out, so it’s nothing personal if they say no.

I also struggle with [issue or theme contained in the book] just like your main character. Since you did a lot of research into this, do you have advice for me?

First, authors often love hearing that you related to one of their characters or were particularly affected by a theme or issue they chose to explore. That said, whether it’s related to medicine, mental health, social issues, or another complex topic, many authors don’t feel qualified (or aren’t legally able) to give advice to individuals. Their characters might have experiences that they haven’t, or they might not want to recommend a course of action without knowing you and your situation…and really, they probably shouldn’t.

GREEN: Feel free to ask!

I loved this book! How can I tell others about it?

Actually, most authors would just be thrilled to know you enjoyed the fictional world they created. That’s always a good thing to pass along. But I also know it makes their day a little brighter when you review their book on retail sites, share about it on social media, or recommend it to a friend.

You’re one of my favorite authors. Are you interested in answering a few questions for my blog/bookstagram?

Again, authors are busy and might say no, but it can’t hurt to ask if you’d like to include an interview on your platform to promote their books. Keeping questions easy to answer (rather than a 25-page interrogation, ha!) is super helpful here, but whether an author has time in their schedule or not, they’ll be thrilled that you thought of them.

Since I’m a new writer, can you pass on any good advice?

Most authors love to help out a fellow author who’s just getting started, but their time is probably limited. They won’t likely be able to give you feedback on your manuscript or answer a huge list of questions, but many can pass along words of wisdom, especially if you ask for something specific, like any good writing blogs to follow or what conferences they’d recommend to a newbie.

Would you like some chocolate?

If you’re seeing an author in person, the answer to this is pretty much always yes.

Authors, are these questions accurate? (Feel free to disagree with where I placed them!) Any that you’d like to add to any category?

Seven Bookish Valentines Gifts

Okay, so it may be too late for you to drop hints about what you really want for Valentine’s Day, but these romantic gifts could be great anytime. Or just get them for a reading buddy…or yourself. All the best gifts are made better when you add in books!

(Not a disclaimer: Bethany House isn’t associated with any of these companies. These are just fun things someone on staff liked and recommended!)

One: Adorable Floral Page Flags

Girl of All Work has several other cute designs too, from cuddly animals to retro looks. Perfect if you’re keeping your spot in a book, marking great quotes, or (for authors) marking edits in a galley copy!

Two: Bookish Bath Products

I’m including my favorite, Lord of the Rings inspired, but check out the whole MacBath line, including Three Musketeers face masks, Anne of Green Gables rose bath bombs, and more!

Three: Jane Austen Mug

You really can’t go wrong with any Austen swag, but this mug has the added benefit of being practical and perfect for some afternoon tea…while enjoying some literary zingers and profound thoughts.

Four: Enneagram Valentines

The Enneagram personality test is all the rage these days for understanding others (and creating characters), and these pretty prints and Valentines are perfect for loved ones who are just your type.

Six: Literary Chocolate

It’s a Valentine’s classic…but with books! The packaging and the flavors are themed for some of your favorite novels at Open Book Chocolates. Yum!

Seven: Cozy Book Candles

Frostbeard Studios has a number of book-related scents, but this one sounds perfect for a February night with a blanket and a book.

 

What literary gifts have you loved, readers? Tell us about them!

 

February 2020 New Releases

Forget valentines, what I want this February are more books! If you’re like me, then I’ve got some great recommendations for you. Women’s fiction, fantasy, historical mystery, historical romance…there’s something for everyone in this great lineup of new titles. Check out the plot summaries, or click on the covers to start reading an excerpt. You might just get pulled in…

More Than We Remember by Christina Suzanne Nelson

Plot Summary: After a life-altering car accident, one night changes everything for three women. As their lives intersect, they can no longer dwell in the memory of who they’ve been. Can they rise from the wreck of the worst moments of their lives to become who they were meant to be?

 

Cry of the Raven by Morgan Busse
The Ravenwood Saga #3

Plot Summary: As the war with the Dominia Empire begins, Lady Selene and Damien must use their gifts to secure the borders and save those devastated by war. But conflict, betrayal, and hatred begin to spread between the Great Houses—and the only one who can unite them is Selene. Will she survive? Or is she destined to fall like the dreamwalkers before her?

 

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green
The Windy City Saga #1

Plot Summary: As Chicago’s Great Fire destroys their bookshop, Meg and Sylvie Townsend make a harrowing escape from the flames with the help of reporter Nate Pierce. But the trouble doesn’t end there—their father is committed to an asylum after being accused of murder, and they must prove his innocence before the asylum truly drives him mad.

 

The Brightest of Dreams by Susan Anne Mason
Canadian Crossings #3

Plot Summary: Determined to keep his family together, Quinten travels to Canada to find his siblings and track down his employer’s niece, who ran off with a Canadian soldier. When Quinten rescues her from a bad situation, Julia is compelled to repay him by helping him find his sister—but soon after, she receives devastating news that changes everything.

 

What do you think is a sure way for someone to say “I love you” to a reader in their life, besides buying them books?