7 Bookish Things We Are Grateful For

Happy Thanksgiving, readers!

Today, as we number our blessings, we are grateful for so many undeserved gifts. Here are just a few of them:

1. Books in all formats

I know readers have very strong opinions on whether print books are better than ebooks, and if listening to audiobooks even counts as reading. But how wonderful is it that we have the ability to read no matter what we’re doing. Going on a vacation and want to bring multiple books? You can bring all the books you want on your phone, Nook, or Kindle! Planning on taking a road trip across the country or want something to listen to while you’re going for a run? Audiobooks are an amazing alternative. We love how accessible books are!

2. Libraries and bookstores—and the people who run them

After everything shut down due to COVID, we truly missed browsing through the library and local bookstores. Ordering books online does not compare to holding books in your hands. Plus, asking a librarian or bookseller for help is much more enjoyable than a Google search.

3. Handsome book boyfriends

We have to be honest here, friends. We love all the elements to an amazing book, but a charming hero is icing on the cake. Authors do an amazing job of writing swoony book boyfriends. Our design team is fantastic at choosing cover models. And the combination of the two is *chef’s kiss.*

4. Never running out of books to read

Though it can be slightly stressful watching the TBR pile grow and knowing we’ll never have time to read all of the books we’ve collected, we’re grateful that we live in a society that still values books given that we always have such a robust selection to pick from!

5. Hot tea, coffee, and other warm beverages

Also, cozy blankets and hammocks! Because nothing beats having something to snuggle up with while reading a great book!

6. Knowledge through reading

We’re so incredibly grateful for authors that give us the gift of knowledge through books that teach, entertain, challenge, and give us perspectives outside our own.

7. Authors, reviewers, narrators, publishing professionals, etc.

Last but certainly the most important of all, we’re incredibly grateful for everyone who plays a part in bringing a book into the world. You make dreams possible, and we couldn’t do our jobs without you!

We here at Bethany House hope you are enjoying a day of joy and gratitude with the people closest to you. What bookish things are you grateful for today?

November 2021 New Releases

Readers, if you’re looking for some beautiful books, we have four new releases for you! With breathtaking settings, page-turning plots, and characters you’ll want to cheer for, these are perfect for your reading list or Christmas gift list.

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

Plot Summary: After an abusive relationship derails her plans, Adri Rivera struggles to regain her independence and achieve her dream of becoming an MMA fighter. She gets a second chance, but the man who offers it to her is Max Lyons, her former training partner, whom she left heartbroken years before. As she fights for her future, will she be able to confront her past?

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Plot Summary: As the nation’s most fearless travel columnist, Augusta Travers explores the country, spinning stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. Suddenly caught in a scandal, she escapes to India to visit old friends, promising great tales of boldness. But instead she encounters a plague, new affections, and the realization that she can’t outrun her past.

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

Plot Summary: After a deadly explosion at the Chilwell factory, munitions worker Rosalind Graham leaves the painful life she’s dreamt of escaping by assuming the identity of her deceased friend. When RAF Captain Alex Baird is ordered to surveil her for suspected sabotage, the danger of her deception intensifies. Will Rose’s daring bid for freedom be her greatest undoing?

Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl
The Quantico Files

Plot Summary: When a renowned profiler is found dead in his hotel room and it becomes clear the killer is targeting agents in Alex Donovan’s unit, she is called to work on the strangest case she’s ever faced. Things get personal when the brilliant killer strikes close to home, and Alex will do anything to find the killer–even at the risk of her own life.

With Thanksgiving coming up, what’s one reason you’re thankful for books?

“Fall” Book Roundup

If you’re coming to this post looking for covers featuring autumnal beauty, sweaters, and warm drinks…sorry to disappoint! Today we’re actually talking about Bethany House books with the word “fall” (or a form of the word) in the title. We’ve got such a variety of genres here. Why not enjoy a fall book this month? You can click on each cover below to read an excerpt.

Night Fall by Nancy Mehl

Plot Summary: When authorities contact the FBI about bodies found on freight trains—all killed the same way—Alex Donovan is forced to confront her troubled past when she recognizes the graffiti messages the killer is leaving behind. In a race against time, Alex must decide how far she will go—and what she is willing to risk—to put a stop to the Train Man.

Bonus: the second book in the series, Dead Fall, releases next month and would also fit on this list!

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

Plot Summary: After an abusive relationship derails her plans, Adri Rivera struggles to regain her independence and achieve her dream of becoming an MMA fighter. She gets a second chance, but the man who offers it to her is Max Lyons, her former training partner, whom she left heartbroken years before. As she fights for her future, will she be able to confront her past?

Until Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette

Plot Summary: Recently widowed, Rivkah flees Kedesh, refusing to submit to Torah law and marry her husband’s brother. Malakhi has secretly loved Rivkah for years, but after her disappearance, he throws himself into the war against the Canaanites and is forced to confront not only his wounds, but also hers—including the shocking truth that has kept her from returning.

Falling for You by Becky Wade

Plot Summary: Willow Bradford is content taking a break from modeling to run her family’s inn until she comes face-to-face with NFL quarterback Corbin Stewart, the man who broke her heart—and wants to win her back. When a decades-old family mystery brings them together, they’re forced to decide whether they can risk falling for one another all over again.

Kings Falling by Ronie Kendig

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.

These are just a few Bethany House “fall” books. Take a look at your bookshelf…can you find another title, fiction or nonfiction, that contains a variant of “fall”?

Ask BHP + Giveaway: Who writes the short descriptions in the back of books?

Hello dear readers! Rachael here! You may have seen my blog post back in May where I talked about writing the synopsis on the back of our books. I’ve returned to talk about another intriguing responsibility that I have as the company’s copywriter. . . .

If you grab almost any Bethany House book and flip to the last few pages, you will find book recommendations—or as we call them, the back-of-book ads (BOBs for short).

Nearly a year before our books release—before I write the back cover copy and often before the book is even written—our marketing team works with our authors to write a book synopsis that makes its way into our seasonal catalog and online. They take an author’s original synopsis from their proposal that could be anywhere from one page to ten pages and shorten it down to about 150 words.

Once those are approved and edited, it’s up to me to deliver an even shorter description to our marketing team that is 360 characters or less . . . including spaces. Counting the fiction titles only, I write approximately 15 of these every four months—but counting our nonfiction divisions, I spend over a week writing at least 40 of these.

They are so fun to write, but they are not easy in the least. Not only do I need to cut a three paragraph synopsis down to three sentences, but I also need to make sure that I’m hooking a reader’s attention while delivering a concise and intriguing book description. They also have to run by our marketing team and editorial team for review and some usually are rewritten multiple times until we can guarantee that it is perfect.

Not only will you see these in our back-of-book ads, but they also make appearances in newsletters, print and digital ads, and on our social media accounts too!

Here are the short descriptions that I wrote for our November releases. Let me know which ones stand out to you!

After an abusive relationship derails her plans, Adri Rivera struggles to regain her independence and achieve her dream of becoming an MMA fighter. She gets a second chance, but the man who offers it to her is Max Lyons, her former training partner, whom she left heartbroken years before. As she fights for her future, will she be able to confront her past?

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

As the nation’s most fearless travel columnist, Augusta Travers explores the country, spinning stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. Suddenly caught in a scandal, she escapes to India to visit old friends, promising great tales of boldness. But instead she encounters a plague, new affections, and the realization that she can’t outrun her past.

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

After a deadly explosion at the Chilwell factory, munitions worker Rosalind Graham leaves the painful life she’s dreamt of escaping by assuming the identity of her deceased friend. When RAF Captain Alex Baird is ordered to surveil her for suspected sabotage, the danger of her deception intensifies. Will Rose’s daring bid for freedom be her greatest undoing?

As Dawn Breaks by Kate Breslin

When a renowned profiler is found dead in his hotel room and it becomes clear the killer is targeting agents in Alex Donovan’s unit, she is called to work on the strangest case she’s ever faced. Things get personal when the brilliant killer strikes close to home, and Alex will do anything to find the killer—even at the risk of her own life.

Dead Fall by Nancy Mehl

How would you write a short description for your favorite new release? Write your blurb below and include the title. Remember, it has to be less than 360 characters!

We will choose three random entries to win a copy of any Bethany House book that released in 2020-2021.

*No purchase necessary. Giveaway ends on Tuesday, October 26 at midnight CT. Winners will be chosen at random on Wednesday, October 27. Winners will receive one copy of a 2020-2021 Bethany House book of their choice. US only. Winner must be 18 and older or have parental consent.

October 2021 New Releases

Welcome to October, readers! We can’t wait to show off our list of new novels this month…as well as their lovely covers, hinting at the stories inside. We hope that you’re intrigued enough to check them out and read the first chapters by clicking on the covers.

A Flicker of Light by Katie Powner

Plot Summary: Widower Mitch Jensen is at a loss with how to handle his mother’s odd, forgetful behaviors, as well as his daughter’s sudden return home and unexpected life choices. Little does he know Grandma June has long been keeping a secret about her past–but if she doesn’t tell the truth about it, someone she loves will suffer, and the lives of three generations will never be the same.

Waiting on Love by Tracie Peterson
Ladies of the Lake #3

Plot Summary: Fulfilling a promise to her dying mother, Elise Wright watches over her father as cook on his Great Lakes schooner. But the behavior of a new sailor unsettles her and first mate Nick Clark, who secretly begins investigating. When tragedy strikes, Nick and Elise must rely on their faith and each other as they confront their greatest fears.

A Deep Divide by Kimberley Woodhouse

Secrets of the Canyon #1

Plot Summary: When her father’s greedy corruption goes too far, heiress Emma Grace McMurray sneaks away to be a Harvey Girl at the El Tovar Grand Canyon Hotel, planning to stay hidden forever. There she uncovers mysteries, secrets, and a love beyond anything she could imagine–leaving her to question all she thought to be true.

The Heart of a Cowboy by Jody Hedlund
Colorado Cowboys

Plot Summary: Traveling the Santa Fe Trail on a botanical exploration, Linnea Newberry longs to be taken seriously by the other members of the expedition. When she is rescued from an accident by Flynn McQuaid, her grandfather hires him to act as Linnea’s bodyguard, and Flynn soon finds himself in the greatest danger of all–falling for a woman he’s determined not to love.

Love on the Range by Mary Connealy
Brothers in Arms #3

Plot Summary: Assigned by the Pinkertons to spy on a suspicious ranch owner, Molly Garner hires on as his housekeeper, closely followed by Wyatt Hunt, who refuses to let her risk it alone. But when danger arises, Wyatt must band together with his problematic brothers to face all the troubles of life and love that suddenly surround them.

Tell us in the comments about the latest book you read and loved.

Prayer for Authors: October 2021

Since it’s Sunday, 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 Lokkesmoe, 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 October:

Mary Connealy
Jody Hedlund
Tracie Peterson
Katie Powner
Kimberley Woodhouse

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.

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” – Psalm 16:11 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For joy in the creative process of writing (and in their personal reading).
  • For moments of inspiration and just the right words for authors working on new projects.
  • For those who recommend books to others or give them as gifts to match the right person with a book they might need.

As always, thank you so much for praying with us! It’s always an encouragement to us here at Bethany House, and to our authors.

Ask BHP: Where Do You Get Those Costumes?

A reader submitted this question to our Ask Bethany House survey, “I know you all do a lot of videos on the design part of your covers, but can you tell me more about the process for choosing a model or costume (especially for historical novels)?”

This is actually a question I don’t know how to answer! So instead of making things up, I sent it to Kristen Larson, who handles this area. I threw in a few bonus questions about cover design logistics too, mainly because I wanted to know them.

Kristen Larson is the Assistant Art Director for Bethany House Publishers and Chosen Books. Among a myriad of other tasks, the bulk of her work consists of assisting the art directors in the creation of book covers, choosing cover treatments and materials, and working with marketing, editorial, designers and production to get each book perfected for the printer. So, basically, the ideal person to answer today’s question. Welcome, Kristen!

After getting a description from an author of their character, what’s your process for going from that to choosing the model for the photoshoot?

The process is both simple and complex! The designer combs through models through local talent agencies, either by exploring the website or reaching out to our representatives to help us narrow down options. We always work hard to find the right model to fit the description the author has provided for us! We also keep in mind models we’ve used in the past to make sure we haven’t used them on a recent book cover. However, if we are only seeing the back of the model or if the model is very small on the book cover where the face isn’t recognizable, we’ll sometimes reach out to some of the great talent we’ve worked with in the past. It’s fun being able to use those models a second, or even third, time!

Where do you get those costumes, especially for historical dresses? And how do you choose the color and style?

Historical costumes come from all over the place. We have used local costume outlets, online rental facilities, and have even ordered from overseas! If it’s an especially complex costume, we’ve gone so far as to have them custom made!

Do you have a favorite dress or two that you’ve helped pick out?

The dress we used on Verity by Lisa T Bergren was a fun one!

Any fun photoshoot memories you’d like to share with us?

I was recently at the photoshoot for Turn to Me by Becky Wade. We all fell in love with the male model we found for the hero, he fit the description perfectly. As an added bonus, his real life girlfriend was able to pose as the heroine! They were such a fun couple to shoot and really brought life to the cover. It’s one of note for sure!

I learned so much from this interview. Thanks so much for sharing, Kristen!

How about you, readers? Is there a costume on a cover (Bethany House or not) that stands out to you?

Carol Award Winners Giveaway!

Earlier this month, several Bethany House authors won the 2021 Carol Awards, awarded by the American Christian Fiction Writers. We always love celebrating our books…and giving them away to readers is fun too. Read a little about each one so you’ll know which you want to choose if you win, then find entry directions at the end of the post.

Dead End by Nancy Mehl

Mystery/Suspense Winner

Dead End 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?

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette

Historical Romance Winner

Like Flames in the Night 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?

Love and a Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray

Contemporary Romance Winner

Love and a Little White Lie Plot Summary: After hitting rock bottom, January decides she has nothing to lose in working at her aunt’s church–while hiding a lack of faith. A minor deception until she meets the church’s guitarist and sparks fly. Can she avoid disaster–especially when a handsome landscape architect has an annoying ability to push her to deal with feelings she’d rather keep buried?

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

Historical Fiction and Debut Novel Winner

things-we-didnt-say Plot Summary: In this epistolary novel from the WWII home front, Johanna Berglund is forced to return to her small Midwestern town to become a translator at a German prisoner-of-war camp. There, amid old secrets and prejudice, she finds that the POWs have hidden depths. When the lines between compassion and treason are blurred, she must decide where her heart truly lies.

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser

Contemporary Fiction Winner

promised-land Plot Summary: Desperate to mend her marriage and herself, Abbie Jowett joins her son in walking the famed Camino pilgrimage. During their journey, they encounter an Iranian working in secret to help refugees and a journalist searching for answers from her broken past–and everyone is called into a deep soul-searching that threatens all their best laid plans.

To celebrate these authors and their lovely books, we’re giving away one of them to five winners (winner’s choice of which one). To enter, just comment on the blog with what earns a book a place on your “keeper” shelf. We’ll choose five random winners on 9/29, so be sure to enter before that!

Book Cover Lookalike Fashion, Part Four

And so we come to what is now an annual feature of the Bethany House fiction blog…pairing the costuming choices of some of our historical book covers with modern fashion! Take a look at these beauties, releasing in 2021, and their corresponding lookalike dresses. (You can scroll through first, second, and third years of doing this as well.)

Which of these dresses is your favorite? Which do you think matches the book cover most closely?

Prayer for Authors: September 2021

Since it’s Sunday, 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 Lokkesmoe, 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 September:

Misty M. Beller
Elizabeth Camden
Jennifer Delamere
Amy Lynn Green
Beverly Lewis
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.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 (ESV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For peace when making decisions or facing stressful or anxious days.
  • For moments of inspiration and just the right words for authors working on new projects.
  • For the books releasing this month to be read by those who need them most.

We’re so grateful to know there are readers like you praying for these authors (and others). Thank you!