Ask BHP: Who Are Some New Authors I Should Know?

Here’s one of my favorite questions to answer, pulled from our Ask BHP survey, because it gives me a chance to brag on our fabulous authors. “As a reader, I have a list of favorite authors who are “must-buys,” but I also love finding new authors. Any upcoming names I should know about?”

Obviously, “new” depends on how often you stalk the fiction section of your local bookstore, but I’m going to use this question to introduce all of you to three authors whose first book with Bethany House either has released or will be releasing in 2017.

Because so many of our current authors are continuing to write wonderful books, it takes a special spark of talent and just the right subject matter for a new writer to find a place at Bethany House, so you know these books come highly recommended. I also picked these three because their styles and genres are so diverse—you can read the description and see which one might be a good fit for you.

Here they are, in order of release:

Jennifer Delamere

Title: The Captain’s Daughter

Released: June 2017

The series was pitched to us with an intriguing premise: what if three sisters grew up in George Muller’s orphanage—a man who famously depended on God for all donations and aide—and had to learn what that kind of faith looked like in the difficult and sometimes dangerous world of Victorian London? We were sold, and we hope you will be too!

Plot: When unfortunate circumstances leave Rosalyn Bernay penniless in 1880s London, she takes a job backstage at a theater and finds herself dreaming of a career in the spotlight. Injured soldier Nate Moran is also working behind the scenes, but he can’t wait to return to his regiment in India until he meets Rosalyn.

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy British-set books, want to learn something about the history of theater, or miss a good Lawana Blackwell Victorian-era series.

Rachel Dylan

Title: Deadly Proof

Releases: September 2017

Romantic suspense you’re familiar with, but have you tried legal romantic suspense? Rachel brings years of experience as an attorney to this book to make the details authentic, plus her Love Inspired suspense novels have found her lots of excited readers waiting for a new series. Dani Pettrey and Lynette Eason both endorsed and recommended this one, so you know it’s worth the wait!

Plot: In the biggest case of her career, attorney Kate Sullivan has been appointed lead counsel to take on Mason Pharmaceutical in a claim involving an allegedly dangerous new drug. She hires a handsome private investigator to do some digging, but when a whistleblower is found dead, it’s clear the stakes are higher than ever. Will this case prove deadly for Kate?

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy reading about strong female characters in a male-dominated profession, high-conflict romance, and plenty of twists and turns.

Jaime Jo Wright

Title: The House on Foster Hill

Releases: December 2017

If you’re constantly stumped when asked to pick your favorite genre and can only answer “a well-written story,” then I’ve got a book for you! Jaime’s debut novel is set half in the present, half in the past, with an intriguing suspense plot that ties the two together. Our team loved her writing voice and were hooked from the first page—we hope you will be too!

Plot: Fleeing a stalker, Kaine Prescott purchases an old house sight unseen in Wisconsin, which turns out to have a dark history: a century earlier, an unidentified woman was found dead on the grounds. As Kaine tries to settle in, she learns the story of her ancestor Ivy Thorpe, who, with the help of a man from her past, tried to uncover the truth about the death.

Recommended for: Readers who enjoy intricate plots, a storyline that doesn’t shy away from tough issues, and page-turning action as the tension ramps up.

One of the greatest encouragements for authors is to see early sales and reviews for their books—especially newer authors. So go ahead, pre-order the ones that stood out to you. Support a new author that you can be confident is worth your time. We only recommend the best!

What’s another way you can think of to encourage a new author?

Six Reasons British Books Are the Best

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that American readers have long been fascinated with stories featuring their British cousins. Here, I’m talking about historical romances (though I’m sure modern-day Brits are just as dreamy). Whether we’re going all the way back to the streets of Victorian London or to the noir England of Agatha Christie, there are reasons we’re drawn to books set across the pond.

One: Tidbits of Interesting History

Those of us who grew up in the States have probably been well-educated in the (relatively short) timeline of our own country. Not to say it isn’t interesting, but there’s very little that surprises me anymore.

But The Captain’s Daughter taking me backstage behind the real workings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous operas? That I’d never thought of, and everything from the dangers of Victorian London to the life of an actress to the new spotlight technologies was a learning experience for me.

In the same way, did I know what a coaching inn was before reading The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill? Not a clue. But the daily routine of the inn and the threat to its survival intrigued me (and, of course, the parade of characters with secrets who came in and out).

Two: Pretty Dresses

Let’s be honest: Victorian and Regency gowns are the best.

Would we want to wear them every day? Of course not. (One word: corsets.) But it’s fun to admire the images on the cover or the descriptions in the text. And if there’s a ballroom scene? Count me in. Inherent drama plus women in beautiful dresses…what more could you want?

Unless of course you’re the Duke of Riverton from An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter. Then your thoughts might be more like this:

Of all the social events that played out in London, balls made the least sense to Griffith. They were always massively crowded, so the chances of seeing the person you actually wanted to talk to that evening were small, unless you’d arranged a meeting prior. Talking was difficult, what with the music and the people coming in and out of conversations in order to join the dancing.

And for a man who was looking to court, they made even less sense.

With gemstoned bodices and jeweled hair clips scattering the light from the multitude of candles, the finery in the room was enough to blind a man. Even the plainest of women could look exquisite with such trappings, and when the artificial beauty collided with natural beauty, men tended to lose their wits as well as their sight.

Griffin frowned. How could a man possibly form and know true feelings and opinions in an environment like that?

But either way…pretty dresses and dancing equals drama.

Three: High Levels of Intrigue

It’s been a while since there was a war fought on American soil. Believe me, I’m not complaining, but this rules out many classic suspense plots for the twentieth century. But in England, with each of the major World Wars, you have an entire history book full of content for thrilling plots. Observe the “hook” of these two novels:

Rosemary Gresham is offered the challenge of a lifetime in pre-WWI England: pose as a librarian and determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. (A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White)

British nurse Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital during WWI, but her most carefully guarded secret is that she spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a resistance group. (High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin)

Neither story would translate well in, say, New Jersey or Oklahoma in the early 1900s. British settings give us the chance for spies and nurses and soldiers and a whole cast of compelling characters.

Four: Nobility and Social Status

Here, my friends, is one area that our friends across the pond have us beat: the titled upper class. Lord and ladies, dukes and duchesses, and even the occasional prince are fascinating to read about.

There’s inherent tension in class differences and the endless social standards created because of them. Nothing makes a page-turner like a compelling internal conflict between needing to make an advantageous match or marrying for love (An Inconvenient Beauty, Kristi Ann Hunter) or the pressure of knowing others might not approve of the wealthy gentleman falling for the lovely American visitor (The Drew Farthering mysteries, Julianna Deering). The greater the obstacle to romance, the more I want to find out what happens next.

Five: Character Drama

Adaptations of Jane Eyre or Jane Austen or any of the original miniseries created by the BCC and others can be very well done, but it’s usually easier to connect with characters in novels because you can hear their thoughts and are fully immersed in a world you can imagine yourself. Books can go into more depth than a typical movie, and with series, authors can continue the relationship you’ve developed with the cast over months or even years.

Jennifer Delamere’s new London Beginnings series, which introduces us to the romances of three orphaned sisters, is a great example of this, or Roseanna White’s Shadows Over England that traces the exploits of a streetwise “family” of talented thieves. Once you’ve read one, you’ll be eager to find out how the other characters end up. When fictional characters feel like real people, the authors have done their jobs, and even the best costume drama can rarely beat a well-written novel.

Six: Accents

And here, I’m talking specifically about what a good British accent does to the attractiveness factor of your average hero.

“But wait,” you say, “it’s not possible to actually hear any difference in speech while reading.” I beg to differ. Not only do you hear a swoon-worthy voice in your head as you go along, but the word choice and phrasing of British heroes have just a little something different that makes their dialogue—especially the declarations of love—special.

Allow me to demonstrate.

“Darling, the longer I know you, the more certain I am that we were meant for each other. I will wait for you if you like. If you insist, I will let you go. But I will always love you. No one I have ever met has charmed me and challenged me, soothed me and nettled me, or fit so perfectly into my heart and life as you. If you leave me, I will not die.” He swallowed hard. “But I don’t think I will ever be quite whole again.” (Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering)

Just try to tell me that a cowboy or motorcycle dude could have pulled that off. (I didn’t think so.)

Whether you’re in it for the romantic rogue spy or the dashing duke, there’s a British-set novel for you. Pour a cup of tea (of course)…and happy reading!

If you’re a fan of British books, to celebrate sweeping country manors, crowded and dangerous London streets, and, of course, debonair and handsome heroes, Bethany House is hosting a giveaway of six of our British-set books. You can enter here!

Any other reasons I should add to this list? What draws you to British-set books?

10 Problems Only Bookworms Understand

We’re shaking things up a bit at the office this month! Our fiction publicist, Amy Green, is usually the one behind these blog posts, but I was given the opportunity to write this one. I’m Rachael Wing, the editorial and publicity intern here at Bethany House Publishers for the summer. I started reading at the age of four and have been buried in my “to-be-read” pile since then, always finding new books to add. I’ve been passionate about Christian fiction since I started book reviewing two years ago and am thrilled to now be working directly with authors and their manuscripts at my dream workplace.

As fellow bibliophiles, we’ve all picked up on some bookish habits over time yet we’ve learned to embrace them as who we are. Here are some that I admittedly relate to:

1. Owning more than one copy of your favorite book(s)

You have to own the hardcover because of how much prettier it is than the paperback (and the pages are nicer too), but you also need the ebook because you may get the urge to read it one more time and so you must always have access to it.

2. Keeping a book with you at all times

There’s a book in your bag, a few in your car, and multiple apps on your electronic device—you never know when you’ll need one! Everywhere you go, you remember to have a book with you in case you have a long wait or are stuck in an awkward situation.

3. Trying to figure out what book a person is reading without appearing to stare

Admit it. We’ve all done it. You’re walking down the sidewalk and see someone sitting on a bench reading. You try to be subtle when you glance at their book but someone always ends up notice that you’ve slowed down or turned your attention elsewhere. At that point, you give up and stop or bend your head to make out the title.

4. Being careful about spending money on essentials but splurging on books

You always go the cheap route when it comes to buying groceries, cleaning supplies, and clothes. You’ve even considered if paying the electric bill for the month is necessary because you can read by candle light, right? Though, when it comes to buying books money usually isn’t an issue. You can definitely afford to pay the extra money for the hardcover copy and you may as well buy the rest of the books in the series since you’re already there.

5. Solving a plot twist before it’s revealed and feeling like Sherlock Holmes

You knew that character was suspicious from the beginning and then they say something that supports your suspicions—you’re convinced they’re the murderer! Then their true identity is revealed and for a second you wonder if you chose the wrong career path because you’d make an excellent detective.

6. Having mixed feelings about starting a book you’ve been anticipating to read

You really want to read this new release but then you realize if you start it now, you’ll never be able to read it for the first time again! Then, you will reach the end and the entire experience will be over and you will fall into book separation depression. So, you decide to hold it for a little while and then read as slowly as possible so you can enjoy every word of it.

7. Smelling your new books

You crack open your new book and the smell of paper and ink that wafts in the air is the definition of pure happiness. Then, you bury your face in the pages for the full book-smelling experience. Who cares who is watching? It’s one of the greatest things about opening a new book!

8. Owning a wide array of bookmarks but never using them

You have a whole collection of bookmarks that you love but you never use because you’re either afraid of using them and losing them or you simply just forget. Instead you have receipts, gum wrappers, recipe cards, or whatever you can get your hands on in the moment to mark your place…but you never dog-ear a book!

9. Talking about fictional characters as if they’re real

You’re chatting with one of your friends about your weekend and you recall a funny story that happened to another friend. Only to realize after the fact that this “friend” was in fact a fictional character in a book you recently read. Oh well. You’re as close to your fictional friends as your real friends, anyway.

10. Telling yourself “just one more chapter” when you should really be sleeping

You have to be up in five hours but you remind yourself that whether you were reading or not, you’d be awake either way, because your mind is racing trying to figure out what is going to happen next! Will you regret it in the morning? Probably. You remind yourself that you can always drink another cup of coffee with extra shots of espresso and all will be well.

Don’t be ashamed if you relate to one or more of these. There’s nothing wrong with any of these situations, because reading is one of the best hobbies you can have. You are given the chance to time travel and live multiple lives in various eras, countries, and lifestyles anytime and anywhere you want. There isn’t a hobby that compares to reading, so enjoy your bookish lifestyle and try to make a dent in that TBR stack that’s waiting for you!

What are some other “bookworm problems” you have experienced?

Prayer for Authors: June 2017

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 June:

Kate Breslin
Jennifer Delamere
Jody Hedlund
Nancy Mehl
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 now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.–1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the time and organization to complete all the necessary tasks in their lives.
  • For freedom from fear of inadequacy, anxiety, and comparison to other writers.
  • For many readers to hear a message of hope and reconciliation through these novels.

As always, I appreciate knowing so many readers take the time to pray for our authors and books. It means a lot to all of us here at Bethany House!

June 2017 New Releases

According to the calendar, the first day of summer isn’t until Tuesday, June 20, but you can get started on summer reading long before that! We’ve got some great releases coming out this month from five talented authors. Want to try them out? Click on each cover to read an excerpt.

Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl
Defenders of Justice #2

Four years ago, Kate O’Brien and her twin were attacked by a serial killer and only Kate survived. She’s been in witness protection ever since her testimony led to a conviction. When new evidence is found suggesting they got the wrong man, Kate is terrified. With a target on her back, can U.S. Marshal Tony DeLuca keep her safe until the new trial begins?

With You Always by Jody Hedlund
Orphan Train #1

When an 1850s financial crisis leaves orphan Elise Neumann and her sisters destitute, Elise seizes their only hope: to find work out west through the Children’s Aid Society and send money home. On the rails, she meets privileged Thornton Quincy, who suddenly must work for his inheritance. From different worlds, can these two help each other find their way?

The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere
London Beginnings #1

When unfortunate circumstances leave Rosalyn Bernay penniless in 1880s London, she takes a job backstage at a theater and finds herself dreaming of a career in the spotlight. Injured soldier Nate Moran is also working behind the scenes, but he can’t wait to return to his regiment in India until he meets Rosalyn.

Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
Ladies of Harper Station

Grace Mallory is tired of running. But when she learns that the villain who killed her father is closing in, she has no choice. Grace is waylaid, however, by Amos Bledsoe, who hopes to continue their telegraph courtship in person. With Grace’s life—and his heart—on the line, can Amos shed his shyness and become the hero she requires?

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

In 1917, British nurse and war widow Evelyn Marche is trapped in German-occupied Brussels. She works at the hospital by day and as a waitress by night. But she also has a secret: She’s a spy for the resistance. When a British plane crashes in the park, Evelyn must act quickly to protect the injured soldier who has top-secret orders and a target on his back.

What’s on your summer reading list, readers?