Share a Book Contest 2017!

Based on the fun of finding a can of pop with your name on it (or not, depending on how creative your parents were when naming you), I thought we’d have a little giveaway!

CokeNames

Why not try “Share a book with…”? There’s something fun about reading a book where the character shares our name. (So take note if you’re looking for birthday presents—every reader I know would love to get a book with their namesake as the main character.)

Just for fun, here are the protagonists of the Bethany House books that have released from August 2016 to August 2017. Look at the list, and if you see the name of one of your friends, comment with the name of your friend and one thing you appreciate about her. Only one comment/entry per person, please! Enter until midnight on August 9 I’ll chose three random comments and send the commenter two copies of the book—one to keep, and one to share with the namesake friend!

Remember, this is “Share a book,” so choose a book featuring a friend’s name, not your own name. Also, really close names count. (Beth for Betsey, Annie for Anne, Catie for Kate, etc. We’re pretty lenient.)

ShareaCoke

• Perla & Ella—A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas
• Ainslee & Levi – The Artisan’s Wife by Judith Miller
• Beth & Jarrick – Where Hope Prevails by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
• Lydia & Nicholas – A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears
• Evie & Gabriel – Traces of Guilt by Dee Henderson
• Lady Ella & Lord Cayton – A Lady Unrivaled by Roseanna M. White
• Esther – The Domino Effect by Davis Bunn
• Clara & Curtis – A Love Transformed by Tracie Peterson
• Leona & Gloria – The Wish by Beverley Lewis
• Deirdre & Matthew – Love’s Faithful Promise by Susan Anne Mason
• Shira – Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette
• Deborah & Anton – From this Day Forward by Lauraine Snelling
• Gessje & Anna – Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin
• Loni & David – The Cottage by Michael Phillips
• Wilek (William will also count) – King’s Blood by Jill Williamson
• Mercy & Mark – Fatal Frost by Nancy Mehl
• Willet (William will also count)– The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W. Carr
• Cole “Tox” & Kasey – Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig
• Jane – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen
• Betsy & Joel – For the Record by Regina Jennings
• Adelaide & Trent – An Uncommon Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter
• Cassidy & Allan – In the Shadow of Denali by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
• Julianne – The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green
• Rose & Reuben – Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould
• Drew & Madeline – Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering
• Rebekah & Nathaniel – A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander
• Avery & Parker – Still Life by Dani Pettrey
• Justin & Angie – Long Time Gone by Mary Connealy
• Jenny & Ryan – To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
• Grace & Alex – Treasured Grace by Tracie Peterson
• Permilla & Asher – Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano
• Hope & Luke – The Chapel Car Bride by Judith Miller
• Sallie – The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis
• Evie & David – Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson
• Kate & Tony – Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl
• Alanah & Tobiah – Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette
• Nora & John – True to You by Becky Wade
• Evelyn & David – A Love So True by Melissa Jagears
• Elise & Thornton – With You Always by Jody Hedlund
• Rosalyn & Nate – The Captain’s Daughter by Jennifer Delamere
• Grace & Amos – Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer
• Evelyn & Simon – High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin
• Rosemary & Peter – A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White
• Loni & David – The Legacy by Michael Phillips
• Chava & Cleopatra – Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt
• Hope & Lance – Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson
• Mia & Jake – The Two of Us by Victoria Bylin
• Ian – Fatal Trust by Todd M. Johnson
• Signe & Rune – The Promise of Dawn by Lauraine Snellings

Go ahead, tell us a little bit about a friend who shares a name with one of these main characters, and you’ll be entered to win two copies of that book!

 

Reader Poll and Giveaway!

On August 12, I’ll be representing Bethany House at the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat, mingling with authors and booklovers alike. I’m already getting excited! As part of the event, I’ll be moderating a panel—which means they’re actually giving me a mic and letting me ask questions of authors (a very risky move on their part).

Of course, I want to make sure the questions I ask are ones that are relevant to readers…which is why I’m coming to you for help. The panel’s name is “Merging the Imaginary and the Real Worlds,” and it will be filled with five fabulous historical fiction authors.

As a reader, what’s a question you think would be fascinating to know that’s specific to historical fiction? Maybe even something that you haven’t found out by reading authors’ blogs or Facebook posts. When you think about merging the imaginary and real worlds, what questions come to mind?

Let me know in the comments below, and next Thursday I’ll choose two winners to receive their choice of summer historical fiction release from Bethany House!

Ask Bethany House: What’s Next in Christian Fiction?

Today’s Ask BHP question is a big-picture one: “What do you forecast for inspirational romance? More nods to spirituality or a ‘toned-down’ approach to broaden the net?”

Now, isn’t that a loaded question?

You have to be careful predicting the future. Remember what happened to Pippin and the palantir?

There are people I respect in the publishing industry who think Christian fiction will survive by sticking to strong faith themes and overt spirituality—after all, they say, look at the breakout novels in the history of the CBA. Beverly Lewis’s The Shunning created a whole genre of people who admired the Amish culture’s simple faith and family values. Frank Peretti’s books focused on spiritual warfare, the Left Behind series starts with the Rapture, and Redeeming Love is the story of an Old Testament prophet. From Janette Oke’s prairie romances to current apocalyptic thrillers and novelizations of Christian movies, many of the standout sellers haven’t tried to downplay faith; it’s made up the core of what the book is.

That can change, because our culture is changing, argues the other side, claiming that traditional inspirational fiction is more or less dead, but that Christian storytelling will always be vital. Shifting covers and content to more ABA style is the way to go—allegories and family dramas and beautiful storytelling can be faith-filled without having characters eavesdropping on sermons, quoting Bible verses, or even explicitly mentioning God. Looking at the content of bestsellers in the past is no way to determine what will happen in the future, and don’t forget that many Christians writing fiction with ABA publishers have also hit bestseller lists.

So, what do I think? To no one’s surprise, I agree with both. (I promise, I don’t do this so I can be right regardless of what happens.)

Writers create stories they’re passionate about, exploring themes that they find compelling. Readers buy books they’re drawn to, seeking out and recommending the novels that fit their felt needs. Publishers try to get a sense of both of these and find the manuscripts that do both.

There will be writers who are passionate about a story that can’t help but be explicitly Christian in its tone and characters and dialogue. That’s as much a part of the writer’s voice as a sense of humor, love of poetic descriptions, or tendency toward strong female leads. Those writers will have readers who love what they’re doing.

And there will be writers who are passionate about a story that, while deeply true and faith-filled, achieves a different goal with different methods. They will create the stories of their heart and might feel that inserting the moral of the story would defeat the purpose. Those writers will have readers who love what they’re doing.

That’s why I think it’s good that there’s a range of spiritual content within Bethany House novels and other CBA publishers, and I expect that to continue.

I realize that’s not much of a ground-shattering crystal-ball-type prediction, but there you have it. Because I believe deeply that authors and the novels they create are unique, I don’t expect them to uniformly veer in one direction or the other. That doesn’t mean there won’t be trends or breakout novels (and a wave of imitators) that push the market in a particular direction. Just that, at the end of the day, if readers want different experiences, authors and publishers will provide them.

One more misconception I want to clear up about this question: it’s not at all an issue of cliché vs. well-written or faithful vs. sell-out. I’ve read some books with strong Christian content that deserve a place on the shelf with the masters, and others that fell short. I’ve read some books with subtle Christian content that taught me more about faith than a sermon would, and others that felt like watered-down lemonade.

That said, if writers focus on the story they feel called to write and do so to the best of their ability, maybe this question will become secondary. My hope for Christian fiction is the same as it’s always been: that followers of Jesus would let the truth and love of God sink down deep in their souls…and then tell stories.

What do you think, readers? Any big or small trends you think we’ll see (or you hope we’ll see) in Christian fiction in the future?

July 2017 New Releases

Welcome, readers, to another fabulous set of Bethany House books! If your summer reading list is dwindling (and even if it isn’t), here are some great choices for you to pick up. Read a blurb, admire the lovely covers, and click on them to read an excerpt of each novel.

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

Plot: Rosemary Gresham has no family beyond the thieves that have helped her survive on the streets of London. Pickpockets no longer, they’ve learned how to blend into high society and now work as thieves for hire. But when a client assigns Rosemary to determine whether a friend of the king is loyal to Britain or Germany, she’s in for the challenge of a lifetime.

Why: A spy pretending to be a librarian. We really shouldn’t need to say anything else…but we will. This is the first in a series that you won’t want to miss, following a family of thieves on their adventures in Edwardian England. If you’re looking for a page-turning dash of suspense in your historical romance, this series is for you!

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

Plot: Chava, the Jewish daughter of a royal tutor, vowed to be faithful to her childhood friend Queen Cleopatra. But after they argue, Chava is ripped from her family and her privileged life and sold into slavery. When she finds herself alone in Rome, she must choose between love and honor, between her own desires and God’s will.

Why: Ever wonder what happened between the Old and New Testament to set the stage for Jesus’ arrival? Even if you haven’t, you’ll love the way Angela vividly brings this time period to life, with all of its conflict and chaos and hope. This one is also starting a series called The Silent Years.

Beloved Hope by Tracie Peterson

Plot: Hope Flanagan survived the massacre at the Whitman Mission, but at a terrible cost. Safe now, her mind and soul are healing. However, this peace is shattered when she is asked to testify at the trial of those responsible. As she confronts the pain of her past, an army lieutenant brings a ray of light into her life. But can she trust him with the truth?

Why: Tracie Peterson delivers her trademark deep historical romance, and this series has the added interest of being based closely on real people and events. The themes of this story are raw and relevant, and you’ll find plenty of moments to cheer for as the characters fight to choose grace for others and hope for the future.

The Legacy by Michael Phillips

Plot: Loni Ford is slowly adjusting to her unexpected inheritance in the Shetland Islands. She is falling in love with the quiet hamlet of Whales Reef, with its simple ways, and with chieftain David Tulloch. But some of the locals have misgivings. When the community faces a major crisis, can Loni and David keep Whales Reef from fracturing apart?

Why: This novel concludes inspiration-fiction legend Phillips’s trilogy set in Scotland, concluding multiple intriguing plot threads (and making you want to book a trip to the Shetland Islands as soon as possible). With part in the past and part in the present, it’s the perfect stay-cation.

Four very different time periods and settings are represented in these new releases…which one would you most want to live in, readers?

Prayer for Authors: July 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 July:

Angela Hunt
Tracie Peterson
Michael Phillips
Roseanna M. White

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.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.–1 Corinthians 15:58 (CSB)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For reminders of the aspects of the process that first made them love writing.
  • For discipline and focus in the midst of distractions.
  • For the books releasing this month to reach many readers.

Thank you so much for taking a moment of your day to pray for these authors. It’s very meaningful to us!