Christy Award Winners Giveaway

Last week’s Christy Awards and Art of Writing conference were jam-packed with moments that warmed my heart, from seeing readers meet some of their favorite authors for the first time, to hearing testimonies from author legends that moved me to tears, to celebrating a legacy of storytellers through Sarah Arthur’s tribute to Madeleine L’Engle for the 100th anniversary of her birth.

But my favorite part of all was cheering on our two winning Bethany House authors, Becky Wade and Jaime Jo Wright, as they received their Christy awards.

Our sister fiction division, Revell, also had two well-deserved wins as well. (Every now and then we have a bit of a teasing rivalry when our books face off against each other in contests like this, but we’re always genuinely happy to celebrate our authors’ successes.)

Here are the Baker Publishing Group winners. Be sure to add them to your TBR List!

First Novel

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Plot Summary: When a black field hand disappears, a wealthy white boy he has befriended sets out to find him. But Pete McLean discovers more than he bargained for—including unexpected love and difficult truths about race and class in 1960s Alabama.

Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Plot Summary: 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.

Historical Romance

The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz

Plot Summary: On the eve of her wedding, Lady Elisabeth Lawson’s world is shattered, as surely as the fine glass windows of her colonial Williamsburg home. In a town seething with Patriots ready for rebellion, her protection comes from an unlikely source—now if she could only protect her heart.

Contemporary Romance AND Book of the Year

True to You by Becky Wade

Plot Summary: After a broken engagement, genealogist Nora Bradford decides focusing on her work and her novels is safer than romance. But when John, a former Navy SEAL, hires her to help find his birth mother, the spark between them is undeniable. However, he’s dating someone, and Nora is hesitant. Is she ready to abandon her fictional heroes and risk her heart for real?

There were a good number of readers attending the awards gala who I had the privilege to meet—if you can make a roadtrip to Nashville next November, we’d love to see you there too!

For those of you who couldn’t make it, if you’d like to check out the livestream posted on the Christy Awards Facebook page, you can do so here. You’ll find lots of lovely talks and cheer-worthy acceptance speeches from your favorite authors.

Instead of throwing virtual confetti at you to celebrate (or mailing you some of the cheesecake served at the gala), I decided it would be perfect to host a giveaway here on the blog. All you have to do to enter is choose one of the books on this list and tell me why either the cover or plot description intrigues you and makes you want to read more. I’ll pick two winners on November 26, and both will win their choice of two of these four books.

Author Roundtable: Memories of Those Who Served in WWI

On November 11, 1918, Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies that ended World War I. That means that this Sunday, it will be 100 years since the end of the Great War. We asked our authors to share the stories of family members who served to commemorate the centennial.

For more stories, be sure to take a look at the Imperial War Museum’s website and the tribute video they have there.

“My great-grandfather, Ernest Richardson, was a POW in World War I. He was in the army and stationed out of St. Nazaire in France. When the war was over, he returned home to Georgia and became a sharecropper before marrying my great-grandmother. One of the mementos of his time in the war is a matchbook cover made from a soup can and engraved by a fellow prisoner to commemorate the war and his role in it.”—Kristi Ann Hunter, author of A Defense of Honor

 

“My great-grandfather, Homer Crownover, was drafted off his Oklahoma farm into WWI in early 1918, when he was twenty-three years old. He arrived in France in September of that year just as the war was winding down. Thus, he didn’t see any action. He returned home, was honorably discharged, and married in April of 1919. The wedding band he gave his bride, Mary, is the one I wear on my ring finger to this day. Nine months after their wedding, Homer and Mary welcomed their first child—my grandmother. He was a wonderful man! Mellow, quiet, kind. He once worked a full day splitting wood in order to buy my grandmother a coat.”—Becky Wade, author of Falling for You

 

“My maternal grandfather, Robert. B. Gerdts, was attending Washington & Jefferson College when his course work was interrupted because of the war. He entered service in the United States Army Air Force and was discharged after the war with the rank of Lieutenant. He then finished his degree at Washington & Jefferson and began studying law at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving his law degree in 1921. I don’t recall any stories about his time in the war, although I distinctly remember a picture of him, which I can’t find, where he’s standing in front of the biplane he flew, goggles on his head and wearing a leather bomber jacket. I think the reason I don’t know any stories is because, unfortunately, in 1934, when my mother was only four, he contracted a blood infection from a small cut on his head and was dead within a week. Penicillin was released to the public the next year, which would have saved his life, a circumstance I find tragic to this day.”—Jen Turano, author of Caught by Surprise

 

“My grandfather Joe worked at a bank in Milwaukee in 1917 when he and his brother John both volunteered for the draft. My grandfather got the lucky draw: he ended up serving as a typist in a North Carolina army training camp, but John went to France where he was badly gassed and sent back home. John recovered, but was never quite the same either physically or mentally. Joe looked after John the rest of his life, considering it a small price to pay.”—Elizabeth Camden, author of A Daring Venture

Do you have a WWI family story to share? Tell us in the comments!

Prayer for Authors: November 2018

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 November:

Morgan L. Busse
Angela Hunt
Lauraine Snelling

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.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.”—Psalm 107:1-2 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the ability to tell stories of redemption and hope to those who need to hear it.
  • For logistical and organizational details to come together during a busy time.
  • For discouraged hearts of both authors and readers to find rest and renewal.

Once again, thanks for joining with the staff here at Bethany House to pray for our authors and other Christians telling great stories! It means a lot to us.

November 2018 New Releases

Happy November 1st! And welcome to another great month of fiction from Bethany House, with three very different new releases. A fun bonus…two of the three have the changing leaves of autumn in the background, giving them a nice, November feel. Click on the covers for an excerpt, and happy reading!

 

A Season of Grace by Lauraine Snelling

Under Northern Skies #3

Plot Summary: Though her first few months in America were difficult, Nilda Carlson’s life now resembles the images that filled her dreams in Norway. But when she spots the man from her terrifying past in town, she worries her new life, and hope for love, is crashing down around her. Did danger follow her across the Atlantic?

 

Jerusalem’s Queen by Angela Hunt

Plot Summary: When her father and sister are killed, a distant relative invites Salome and her mother to live with his family in Jerusalem. Quickly betrothed to a pagan prince half her age, Salome questions God’s plan. But when she suddenly finds herself being crowned queen of Judea, she learns that a woman committed to God can change the world.

 

Mark of the Raven by Morgan Busse

The Ravenwood Saga #1

Plot Summary: Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood—and to a powerful ability. But it comes with a dark secret. Tasked with assassinating the man who can destroy her family—and the only one who can bring peace to the nations—she must choose between justice and honor or legacy and power. Is she willing to pay the price for the path she chooses?

Can you think of another book with fall colors in the cover’s background?

8 Things Guaranteed To Make Readers Angry

There are certain topics and actions that will almost universally set all booklovers off. Oh, some will have different levels of anger—see my handy scale below—but if you’re a dedicated reader, you probably share some of the same pet peeves and irritations with your fellow bookworms.

I’m Amy Green, fiction publicist here at Bethany House, and I’ve noticed a few trends in reader posts on social media about what readers really hate. Let’s all rant together now, shall we? (It’ll make us feel better.)

One: Spoilers

This happens most often in online reviews, but pity the real-life friends who start with an innocent discussion of the main premise of a book and then, wham! Out of nowhere, a major spoiler from the last half of the book or beyond. “It’s very touching, just don’t get too attached to So-and-So…” “My favorite part is when you find out that What’s-His-Name is the father.” “It’s so clever how the Thingamajig you see in the first chapter ends up being the missing artifact all along.” You get the idea.

How, HOW, does this happen, people? Fellow readers should be aware of the fun of discovery and not want to ruin that for others. Maybe it’s just over-excitement? Whatever the reason, when in doubt, apply the Green Family Rule (originally applied to boring monologues recounting dreams at the breakfast table, also good for descriptions of books and movies): you get two sentences to describe the plot. That’s it. Use ‘em wisely.

My Angry Reader Level: 2 if I wasn’t going to read the book anyway, 6 if I was.

Two: Covers that Don’t Match the Character

Occasionally this is objective—the main character’s hair or eye color is wrong, the dress is from 100 years too late to be accurate, there is no mention of a dog in the book despite its prominent place on the cover, and so on.

Other times, it’s subjective: “There is no way the hero looks like that!” “That just isn’t how I pictured the town in my mind.” “Um…what’s with that color?” We all have our likes and dislikes, and not every cover is going to check all of our boxes, especially if we have a vivid imagination and a careful attention to detail. The ones that really get it wrong, though, are likely to be a constant annoyance to readers.

My Angry Reader Level: 3. That’s decreased a lot since I started working in publishing. Now, I know: A. often the book isn’t fully written before the cover is complete, B. there may be a marketing reason behind something I wouldn’t have chosen, and C. designers are very busy people and may occasionally make a mistake or not have access to the exact right model or image. These things make me less mad, but I still completely understand when readers grumble.

Three: Movies that Don’t Match the Book

The level of outrage for a bad adaptation will vary from person to person. Most will find themselves somewhere within the following categories:

The Purist: “Where was the carriage scene from page 193? Why does the duke have only two sons instead of five? Two of my favorite lines were not quoted verbatim, and don’t even get me started on how the Incident of the Plum Pudding was handled! Here is a detailed list, chapter by chapter, of what was wrong with this movie. I DEMAND ACCURACY.”

The Peacemaker: “A screenplay just can’t be as detailed as a novel, but it was lovely to see my favorite characters brought to life. There are a few things I’m sad were left out, but overall I think it kept true to the spirit of the original. And it will probably get a lot more people to read the book, too!”

The Permissive: “Meh, so only a few plot points were the same and the moral of the story is the opposite of the author’s original intent and there were five new major characters. No big deal. It was fun! You’ve got to judge the book and the movie totally separately.”

The Illiterate: “This was based on a book? Do people even read books these days?”

My Angry Reader Level: 3-11 depending on how much I loved the original story. (Like, Netflix, I’m telling you right now, if you mess up your upcoming Narnia series, Aslan and I are coming for you. And let me remind you, in case you haven’t read the source material enough WHICH YOU SHOULD: he’s not a tame lion.)

Four: Phony or Irrelevant Reviews

Whether they’re bots or trolls or people who are just confused, some one-star reviews on Goodreads or retail sites skew the system. I’m talking things like: “Package was ripped open” or “not the large print version” or an all-caps rant about a totally different book with a similar title. All the real reviewers out there have to cringe—and there isn’t usually a good way to pull those reviews out of the running.

My Angry Reader Level: 4. I’m always bothered, especially on behalf of my authors, but I try to keep in mind that no one actually looking at the reviews will take them seriously and that the overall star-rating impact isn’t going to be huge.

Five: Insulting Comments from Non-Readers

Whether it’s picking on your favorite genre, bringing up the fact that characters are not “real people,” or delivering the classic, “You have too many books” line (as if those five words make sense in that order under any circumstances), sometimes readers can get pushed over the edge. Maybe it was just a joke, but beware, especially if the comment was interrupting said reader in the middle of a book.

And it goes the other way too, readers, so no making fun of non-bookworms. (Open-mouthed incomprehension and confusion is probably inevitable, though.) Anything that implies “I am superior to you because we don’t share the exact same preferences” should be avoided.

My Angry Reader Level: 1-6 depending on the person’s intention. And mostly I’ll calm down and recommend a book I think they’d like instead of wasting time being mad.

Six: Long Hold Lines

You’ve just gotten a glowing recommendation from your friend about the newest book you have to try. Hurrying to the library website, you click “Place a Hold”…only to face the cheery pop-up, “Congratulations! You are 63rd in line for this title.”

Turns out, saying, “I don’t want your congratulations, I want my book!” does nothing to move the line along faster. Nor does refreshing the page every other day (or hour…or minute…). You secretly suspect there are people out there who keep the book unread the full two weeks just to look impressive on their coffee table, and others who are doling out quarters in overdue fines to hold theirs even longer out of pure spite, but without proof, you’re stuck waiting just like everyone else. (And hoping the book doesn’t arrive for checkout the day after you’ve left on a week-long trip and can’t pick it up.)

My Angry Reader Level: 5, but mixed with sadness. I try to tell myself it’s no one’s fault, that I should be happy others are discovering a good book…but waiting is hard, guys.

Seven: “Wrong” Ending Choices

Whether it’s the unexpected death in the last few pages (you and your tissue box were just not prepared) or the love triangle that resolves in the exact opposite way it should have (don’t they realize they were meant for each other?), sometimes we don’t think authors made the right call with their endings.

This can include all kinds of categories, from agree-to-disagree preferences to “where on earth did that come from and was the editor asleep on the job?” moments. Sometimes, readers are pretty sure they could have written a more satisfying last chapter, if only the author had asked them.

My Angry Reader Level: Usually 2, occasionally 4. For the most part, I remember that authors have put a lot of thought into these endings and usually have Very Good Reasons for their choice even if it’s not the conclusion I was hoping for. Every now and then, though, I come across something that is not just unexpected, but blatantly out-of-character or contrived or factually impossible. That will move me up a few notches on the irritation meter, but I also recognize that deadlines and writers’ block exist and not every book is going to be a consistent winner.

Eight: Book Vandalism

They’re out there, breaking the spine of an unpurchased book at Barnes & Noble, inking up half of a school-assigned novel in highlighter and then donating it to a thrift store, folding down corners of library books to mark their spot. They are the ones who will (gasp!) hold a book over their head to protect themselves from the rain instead of stuffing the book inside their coat. They walk among us, lurking in the shadows of bookloving spaces everywhere.

I call them…the Book Vandals.

Now, all of us have accidentally damaged a book at least once in our life. (Picture seven-year-old Amy crying as she peels a soggy Stuart Little off the playground slide where she left it. It was a traumatic day.) That’s not what I’m talking about here.

No. This is serial, unrepentant destruction of books, especially those that don’t belong to you. That, true readers know, is unacceptable.

My Angry Reader Level: 8. Unless you’re two years old and left unsupervised with a crayon box, there are no excuses here, people. (And if you’re two years old and reading this blog, you’re enough of a prodigy to know better.)

If you liked this list, follow the blog so you won’t miss next month’s post about “8 Things Guaranteed Make a Reader Happy.” (That way you can tag a friend or spouse to give them ideas….)

Which of these are high up on your Angry Reader List? Are there any I missed?

Guest Post: When a Book Cover Comes to Life by Regina Jennings

(When I saw Regina’s fun travel album on Facebook, I knew she had to share the fun with all of us here on the blog. Enjoy!)

The wonder of reading a well-written historical novel is that feeling that we’ve stepped into a world that now only exists in the pages of a book. Then again, sometimes history is resurrected, and it’s just as glorious as you’d hoped.

In late September, the U.S. Cavalry Association held their Bivouac and National Cavalry Competition at Fort Reno, Oklahoma—the setting of my current series. Once again, the fort sounded with pounding hooves, stirring bugles, and that bluster and swagger that occurs before any contest. Now, I’m always supportive of events that honor our past, but this was at the fort…my fort! It was like I was standing beside Louisa and Major Adams watching the goings-on at the parade grounds.

In Holding the Fort, most of the story takes place in the General’s House, which was the residence of the highest-ranking officer on the post. The General’s House had a central view of the parade grounds where the men drilled.

Here, in front of the General’s House, a participant competes in the Mounted Saber competition. The obstacle course includes spearing rings on the blade, slicing through apples, popping balloons and stabbing targets on the ground.

Another competition was Military Field Jumping. Behind this soldier you can see the long barracks that the troopers like Bradley Willis stayed in.

Besides combat horsemanship, mounted sabers, and military field jumping, they were also judged on the authenticity of the era they were portraying. Participants had several different categories that they could choose from. Naturally, I was drawn to those portraying soldiers from the Plains Indian Campaigns, since that’s the time I’m writing about.

These two soldiers are currently stationed at Fort Carson, but they were representing troopers from Fort Concho, Texas, during the Plains Indian Conflicts.

They are judged on the historical detail of their uniforms, weapons, gear, and tack. Finding these guys is a researcher’s dream! I learned that they would’ve carried more ammunition than food, but if you have ammo, usually you can get food. There’s not much room in those bags for fluff, but they liked having both a canteen and a tin cup.

And even though it was a toasty day, they favor the caped overcoat when they want to make an impression. I have to agree with them.

See the heart on the breast collar of the horse –

According to these presenters, the heart meant that the horse had already seen combat. Is that true? I haven’t found that referenced anywhere else, but I’m open to the possibility.

My meeting with these guys set up the moment that will always be one of my favorite writer memories– the time my book cover came to life. A member of their unit was competing in the Mounted Saber course, when I realized that it was a scene straight out of my book The Lieutenant’s Bargain (releasing Dec. 4th).

See that house behind him?

See the house on my book cover?

It’s the same! And while Lieutenant Jack isn’t wearing his caped coat on the cover, you’d better believe it’s a big part of the story!

I’m so grateful that our military encourages their young members to keep the legacy of their units alive through events like this, and I’m doubly grateful that they choose to hold the contests at historical sites. I’d imagine if walls could talk, the buildings at Fort Reno would say that they miss the rowdy cavalrymen and the spirited horses that used to populate their grounds.

There’s just something right about bringing the cavalry back to Fort Reno.

Thanks, Regina! And readers, if you haven’t been introduced to her Fort Reno series, now is the perfect time…the ebook of Book One, Holding the Fort, is on sale for $1.99 for October 2018. Check it out!

Have you ever visited a place that was also the setting of a favorite book? What similarities did you notice?

Ask BHP: What Changes Are Made to Covers?

Cover design is always a popular topic in our Ask BHP poll, and this reader wants to know: “I’d like to hear a little bit about the cover design process. Specifically, I know there’s a group that approves or asks for changes to covers. What are the most common things you change?”

At our first meeting, editorial and marketing representatives meet with our creative director to talk about their vision for the covers of that season’s books—usually about 15-16. All will have read the synopsis (the book is rarely finished at this point), and they’ll bring covers they really like or other visual aids. The creative director, Paul Higdon, then translates this feedback to the designers.

For the next stage, the team is mostly looking at pencil sketches or stock photo approximations of what the poses for a cover might look like, especially when there will be a photoshoot of one or more models. This is the point to say, “Wait, that’s a totally different direction than the first two books in the series,” or “I think the silhouette is a better idea than the split-scene” or “Let’s be sure to have her outdoors instead of inside.”

Later, after many hundreds of hours of work on photoshoots and Photoshop, the designer will present a semi-final version of the cover…actually, usually 6-10 different versions. Some are in totally different styles and tones, others are similar with smaller variations on the type or model pose. We’ll give another round of feedback, this time more specific as to what we like or don’t like, voting on our favorite designs.

One of our designers, Jenny Parker, said, “The designers probably have the best idea of what an author goes through, because we have our art critiqued by others—sometimes while we’re in the room! Then it’s time to take that feedback and make changes.”

And that’s a hard task, especially because most of us have vague instincts like, “That type is hard to read” or “something about that model’s expression looks unpleasant” or “the color pallet just seems off.” They might be true statements, but the designer has to find the way forward to actually do what the team members are suggesting.

Once we agree on the right design (or a Franken-combo of designs), there are still tweaks to be made. At the near-final stage, here are some recent comments jotted down in meeting notes.

  • Check with the author to make sure those earrings are appropriate for the time period. It might be fine.
  • I’m not loving the series logo…can we get rid of some of the froufy frilly things around the text?
  • The woman’s dress is really close to the blue dress of the first book in the series. Let’s make it more teal, or a different color altogether.
  • Will the author like this? Because it’s a very different direction than what we’ve done for her in the past.
  • So…no one else thinks the guy in the background on Cover 3 looks creepy? (Consensus: we did not go with Cover 3.)
  • Let’s make sure to get her hair a little darker. It’s edging toward blond, and she clearly has light brown hair from the character description.
  • The author’s name should be in a thicker type to make it easier to read.
  • Does the pose look like a “strong, independent woman” or just over-the-top to you?

Then…more designer magic happens, and the final cover is sent to the author for feedback, as well as to members of our sales team for approval. Once everything is set to go, it gets placed in our catalog, the one that the sales team uses when presenting to bookstores (usually 8-10 months before release).

Here are some examples of those middle stages in the process. For Tracie Peterson’s new series (releasing in March 2019), our creative team asked if Jenny could have a large face above Western scenery as a way to set the series apart. Here are a few of the options we saw.

…but interestingly enough, Jenny put in a few designs with a totally different feel, trying to imitate a Wild West poster. Everyone loved that direction, even though it was different than what we had originally suggested. We had different poses to choose from in that design, and this is the one we went with after a few tweaks, the final cover of When You Are Near.

So there you have it, a small glimpse into the world of book cover design. Hope you enjoyed it!

What’s a cover that stood out to you recently? It can be in any genre.

Prayer for Authors: October 2018

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 October:

Lynn Austin
Mary Connealy
Connilyn Cossette
Kristi Ann Hunter
Sarah Loudin Thomas
Becky Wade
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.

Turn your ear to listen to me; rescue me quickly. Be my rock of protection, a fortress where I will be safe.”—Psalm 31:2 (ESV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For times of retreat and relaxation in the middle of a busy schedule.
  • For the right readers to pick up these books at just the right times.
  • For discipline when starting new writing projects in the middle of releasing this one.

Many thanks to all of you readers who join with us to pray for our authors and their books. It means a lot to us!

October 2018 New Releases

Welcome to our list of new releases this month! Each time I get a delivery of our latest books, I’m always thankful for these talented authors who put in long hours to bring us page-turning tales. Enjoy the variety found here, and remember to click on the covers to start reading an excerpt!

Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Plot Summary: Socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she’s learned about her past continues to pull at her, so she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But when unflattering stories threaten her reputation and engagement, she discovers that God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.

The Christmas Heirloom by Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade

Plot Summary: In this sweet collection of novellas by award-winning, bestselling authors, four charming romances are connected by an heirloom brooch passed down for over 200 years. This multigenerational compilation includes Kristi Hunter’s Legacy of Love, Karen Witemeyer’s Gift of the Heart, Sarah Loudin Thomas’s A Shot at Love, and Becky Wade’s Because of You.

The Reluctant Warrior by Mary Connealy

Plot Summary: Newly reunited with his daughter and nephew, Cameron Scott wonders if they will ever love him again. When he’s hurt protecting them, he finds himself under the care of the stubborn but beautiful Gwen Harkness—and he sees why the kids love her so. As she helps him win back their hearts, he finds himself wanting to win hers as well.

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

Plot Summary: After her village is destroyed by marauders, Sofea seeks solace in a Levitical city of refuge. Eitan is immediately captivated by her but knows that revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing Sofea into the danger of his past. As threats from outside the walls loom, will they be able to save their lives and the lives of those they love?

Readers, what is your favorite genre to go back to? Is there a genre you know others love but that you just can’t get into?

Which Dresses Match These Book Covers?

I can’t tell you how many times readers have commented on some of our authors’ covers to say, “Wow! I wish a dress like this was around today, because I’d totally wear it.”

Well, just for fun, I thought I’d search some fashion websites for dresses that look like they could have been inspired by book covers. So if you want to imitate the “look” of your favorite novel, you know where to go.

Would you want to wear this one in the swamps of Louisiana? Probably not. But this empire dress has an updated version of the pattern-overlay in gold, plus that bow mimicking the lace-up back of the original design. Add a little lace, and you might feel a little like Julianne Chevalier from The Mark of the King.

The color here is nearly spot-on and the Victorian-inspired details in both are fun, but what really makes this teal lace dress the twin for The Heart’s Appeal is that it’s called “London Exquisite Elegance,” the same setting as the book!

If you love the art-deco look of the early 1900s, this cranberry maxi dress is the one for you. The beadwork on both shares the same intricate style, though you might want to invest in some jewelry for the modern outfit…just make sure it’s not going to involve you in a plot of intrigue like the jewels in The Reluctant Duchess!

This mint formal gown has the fun layers and elegance of the one on With Every Breath. And, let’s be real, the heroine on the cover is breathless because she’s literally finding the cure for tuberculosis, whereas the modern model probably just can’t breathe in a dress that fits like that.

This midi dress has the same causal feel of its counterpart a century before, with a similar V-neckline…and while the modern dress might have a higher hemline, it’s also advertised as a yachting dress, so she and the heroine of Out of the Ordinary have a lot in common.

You’d need a lot of daring to pull off this bright red flare dress…just like the scheming protagonist of A Match Made in Texas. Here, the bow on the bustle becomes a bow-tied neckline, but it’s got all the bold style of the original.

The plaid on the trim of With You Always translates to a larger print in the 21st century skater dress, but the collar and silhouette are similar, and both seem like they’d be comfortable and stylish for travel (probably not by train, though).

Okay, readers, which of these dresses is your favorite? (Authors, this might be a fun game to play on Facebook with your fans to find photos of “lookalike” fashion!)