Celebrating the Christy Awards: Dragonwitch Giveaway

Update: Here are our randomly-chosen winners! Please email me, Amy, at agreen@bethanyhouse.com with your mailing address so I can send you the book (and the other goodies). Loved reading all the answers, by the way!



Last Monday night, as I watched the liveblog of the Christy Awards, I cheered out loud when Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s Dragonwitch was listed as the winner of the Visionary category. I’m a big fan of her Goldstone Woods books, so I entirely agree with the judges that the award was well-deserved. You can take a look at all of the Christy nominees and winners here.

12543-DRAGONWITCH christy memeIn a land besieged, an unlikely hero discovers his destiny: he alone can wield the sword that will slay the Dragonwitch—and save them all.

Here are some fun “extras”if you want to learn more about Dragonwitch and Anne Elisabeth’s other fantasy novels.

  • Stop by Anne Elisabeth’s blog. There’s always something fun going on there, whether it’s a fairy tale writing competition or a music contest.
  • Read an excerpt of Dragonwitch and see why one of the Christy award judges said, “Very few books compel me to stop midway through and track down and buy the author’s backlist. Dragonwitch did.”
  • And, finally, what better way to celebrate than by giving away books? We’ll be hosting a giveaway here on the blog. Five winners will receive a copy of Dragonwitch, along with a bookplate signed by the author, a few Goldstone Woods bookmarks, and a shiny Christy Award seal on the cover.


Here’s how to enter: just comment on this blog post with an answer to this question, “If you were given the opportunity to step into a fictional world, which book would you choose to enter and why?” (It doesn’t have to be a fantasy book.)

Winners’ names will be posted in an update to this blog post next Thursday, July 3rd, so be sure to check back to see if you won!


Behind the Scenes of a Book Trailer

You’ve probably watched book trailers—short “teasers” made to give you a quick visual glimpse at upcoming books. This week on the blog, we have Torrey Sharp of Faceout Films, the film production company Bethany House uses to create some of our trailers. He answered a few of my questions to give us a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the creation of a book trailer.


Amy: How are you able to direct the actors in the trailers in a way that gets them to convey the personalities of the characters in the book?

Torrey: Before we cast talent for a production, we make every attempt to understand the story line and characters. We do this by reading the manuscript and talking with the publisher and/or the author. If we’re casting for a speaking role, we hold an audition and might listen to 15 to 25 actors read for the part. This gives us a great idea of who might be best to fill a role and who might fit the character’s description the best.

Once the publisher has selected an actor, we spend a lot of time ensuring they have memorized the script, understand the story and character, understand the storyboards, and are clear on all the production day details. We make every effort to accommodate our talent on set. We want them to be as relaxed as possible and remain in character when the cameras are rolling. When on set, we usually shoot lots of footage, getting various takes from the actors so we have several options in post production. Continue reading

12 Signs You Are a Bookaholic

Readers, what can we say? We love our books. And that love can sometimes be borderline obsessive. See how many of these signs of bookaholism apply to you. It might not be too late to get help.

One: You find yourself referring to fictional characters as if they were real. This isn’t too bad. But if you complain that you weren’t invited to Cole McKenna’s wedding or ask around for Katie Lapp on your next vacation to Lancaster County, I suggest an intervention.

Two: If you stacked up all the books on your To-Be-Read pile, someone would have to send in a search-and-rescue crew to dig you out of your house. (And you’d probably tell them, “Go away! Can’t you see I’m reading?”) Continue reading

First Lines: June Bethany House Books

If you’re like most visitors to a bookstore, you probably glance at a book’s cover and maybe read the blurb on the back. Then, if what you saw caught your attention, you’ll flip open to the first page.

Those first lines are the author’s chance to pull you into their fictional world and the story that takes place in it. As I thought about how to announce this month’s lineup of new releases, I realized I loved the way our June authors chose to open their stories.

Each first paragraph has a different feel to it, but all of them do an excellent job of giving us a quick glimpse into what the main character is like and what kind of story is about to unfold. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

From Stuck Together by Mary Connealy

10948 StuckTogether_mck.inddTina Cahill finished hammering a hefty board across the front of Duffy’s Tavern. Carefully printed on the board were the words Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here. It sent a message at the same time it nailed Duffy’s door shut.

Tina’s plan was to get his notice.

“That tears it!” Duffy roared from inside the saloon.

He’d noticed.

What We Know Already: Tina is quite a spunky character, and this book is going to be hilarious.

From Truth Be Told by Carol Cox

Truth Be ToldAmelia Wagner stepped down onto the platform of the Granite Springs train depot and drew in a deep breath of clean mountain air. She closed her eyes to sort out the different scents tingling her nostrils—the sharp tang of pine trees growing on the nearby slopes, the pungent odors of fresh-cut lumber wafting from Martin Gilbreth’s sawmill, and the fragrance of the creosote bushes that dotted the hillsides of Arizona’s high desert. The scents mingled together to form a fragrance more pleasing than the costliest perfume any Denver emporium had to offer.

Amelia took in another deep breath, savoring the fragrance of home.

What We Know Already: Don’t you just want to visit this beautiful setting? We also learn that Amelia has been gone for a while and wonder what will happen now that she’s returned.

From Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Child of MineKelly Maines sat nervously on a bench at the edge of the playground, wearing dark aviators and pretending to be obsessed with her cell phone. Last night she’d slept in an unfamiliar bed in a ratty hotel, and this morning she’d dressed in a blond wig and a stylish knit maternity dress. Burgundy was not a good color for Kelly, but it was an important color for today.

What We Know Already: There is a reason Kelly is wearing a disguise and watching the playground . . . but what is it? And why is burgundy an important color? The mystery starts right away.

From A Moment in Time by Tracie Peterson

Moment in TimeAlice Chesterfield could feel the intensity of the man watching her. Not just any man. She knew very well who it was and why he continued to hound her steps. Gathering her brown wool skirt in hand, Alice did her best to avoid the muddier spots in the road as she crossed to the small fabric store on the opposite side. Her heart pounded wildly. Her breathing seemed to catch in her throat.

Would he follow her there? Would he dare?

What We Know Already: Alice is in some kind of trouble, and we want to keep reading to find out what that trouble is and what happens next.

From Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Full Steam AheadPassengers jockeyed for position along the steamboat Louisiana’s railings, waving and calling merry farewells to the crowd lining the levee. Darius Thornton stalked determinedly across the deck in the opposite direction. He’d done all the smiling he cared to during the previous half hour while Captain Cannon gave him, and a handful of other investors, a tour of the vessel.

What We Know Already: Steamboats will be central to this story, and Darius is not a friendly socialite, though he seems to be a very interesting character.

If you want to read more than just the first few lines, each of these book covers are linked to an excerpt of a several chapters from the book!

What makes you decide to pick up a book and read it?

Prayer for Authors: June 2014

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.

Authors with Books Releasing in June:

Mary Connealy
Carol Cox
Beverly Lewis
David Lewis
Tracie Peterson
Karen Witemeyer

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.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, ESV

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For a sense of peace and purpose in the midst of a daily routine with long to-do lists.
  • For one particular theme of the book to resonate with and encourage readers who are struggling in their walk with God.
  • For a daily reminder of grace and what hope in Christ means in everyday life.

We appreciate your prayers—all of the people who have worked on these books here at Bethany House, as well as the authors themselves. Thank you for taking time today to pray!