We Need YOU to Ask Us Questions…with a Giveaway!

That’s right, all you readers and writers out there. It’s that time of year again, when I take a moment to refresh our Ask Bethany House mailbag by requesting you to send in your questions! As always, these can be about the publishing process, what it’s like to work with authors, how we do our various jobs, or anything else that relates to our books or our company.

This year, I have five short prompts to help you think of some great topics for me to write about on the blog. To thank you for coming up with great questions, we’ll also choose a winner to receive three books of their choice from 2018. A randomly-chosen winner will be contacted by January 2, 2019 via email.

If you’d like to check out the archive of Ask BHP posts and see what’s already been covered, go ahead. But no worries about duplicating something—there are lots of topics we write about multiple times.

One other note: if next year you see me answer a question close to yours, but not quite, sometimes if I see lots of people asking about the same thing, I combine their thoughts into one post so I can do the best job possible of covering topics that people want to know about.

Ready to start? You can find our survey here.

I look forward to seeing your responses…and investigating the answers to your questions in 2019!

The Perfect Christmas Gifts for 10 Types of Bookworms

It’s that time of year where you stand among towering bookshelves once again in an attempt to figure out what to buy your bookish friend or family member. Or maybe you’ve given them a Barnes & Noble or Amazon gift card for the past four years and decided that you need to change things up this time around.

This guide will give you gift ideas for ten different types of bookworms. Mix and match to fit their bookish type, or find them that one perfect gift that will have them curling up by the fireplace to enjoy with their Christmas read.

(Note: We are not affiliated with these links or being sponsored by any of these stores. We just like their stuff.)

For the Soon-to-Be Bookworm


This cozy Storybook Baby Blanket from Storiarts is a wonderful Christmas gift that will please bookish parents or future bookworms. These soft screen-printed blankets feature text from children’s books such as: The Velveteen RabbitPeter PanThe Little Prince, and more!


“Oh, please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so.”

Out of Print sells body suits, socks, tote bags, and books featuring children’s books that are affordable and adorable for your little one!

For the Young Adult Bookworm


Don’t know what to buy the book-loving teen in your life? Sign them up for a book subscription box from OwlCrate! With this subscription service, you can purchase a monthly subscription box for anywhere between one to six months. Every box has a creative theme that will contain a brand new YA book, 3-5 bookish items (bookmarks, pins, prints, etc.), and exclusive goodies from the author.

For the Cozy Bookworm

SOCKS-1023_Book-Nerd-unisex-socks_03_1800x1800These fun socks will keep every “book nerd” happy when they cozy up with a book. You can find these at Out of Print along with multiple other bookish socks.


What cozy bookworm wouldn’t want to keep their book feeling the same way? The Cozy Life Shop on Etsy makes fun book cozies that will fit any paperback book! Also, do any of you bookish Bethany House readers recognize that cover? I love that they featured Ronie Kendig‘s Crown of Souls in their shop photos!

For the Candle-Loving Bookworm


Don’t these candles from the Paddywax Library Collection look amazing? I want all of them! Featuring famous classic writers such as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, and more, these candles will make a fantastic gift for any bookworm who loves classic literature and magnificent fragrances! Also, each candle features a famous quote from the author’s writings.

For the Fashionable Bookworm


The Storiarts scarves are a must-buy for anyone who likes to show off their love of literature. I own the Pride and Prejudice scarf and it’s my favorite article of clothing! Storiarts has a wide array of titles and designs that decorate their scarves, fingerless gloves, pillows, and more.


Give him the option to add a little literary flair to his formal attire with these book cufflinks on Etsy! This specific shop has cufflinks from To Kill a MockingbirdThe Great Gatsby, Dracula, and James Bond.

How stunning is this bookish packaging from Storybook Cosmetics? They sell brushes, lip sticks and glosses, eye shadow pallets, and more! You can buy their products on their website or at your nearest Ulta Beauty!

For the Bookworm Who Reads Everything


You know that bookworm who reads every sugar packet, ketchup bottle, and menu item at the restaurant? These Litographs shirts will always keep them entertained. With shirts featuring artistic designs and text from over 200 titles, these will wow your bookworm.

For the Bookworm On the Go


This is a quick and easy gift to give to the bookworm who doesn’t have much time to sit down and read. With thousands of books to choose from, Audible gives people the chance to listen to their TBR pile while they’re driving, flying, at the gym, or doing household chores.

For the Grammatically-Correct Bookworm


These mugs will make your bookworm laugh out loud and nod in satisfaction! These Grammar Grumble Mugs can be bought as a collection or separately.


Any member of the grammar police will be proud to wear this t-shirt for the greater good and education of the community.

For the Tea or Coffee-Drinking Bookworm


First Edition Tea Co. on Etsy has black, green, herbal, and English breakfast literary tea that you can buy separately or as a collection. Their literary tea titles are: Alice & Wonderland, Sherlock Holmes, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Jane Eyre.

product_image.jpgFuel up your bookworm’s reading-filled weekends with this Readers Fuel from Book Lovers Coffee! They have both whole bean and ground coffee that is designed with a fun library slip and bookish quote.


Whether your bookworm drinks coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, a book-themed mug is a gift that any reader would treasure.

For the Night Owl Bookworm


“Just one more chapter” is a common phrase your late-night bookworm often whispers to themselves when they have picked up a new book. This folding book lamp is perfect for those reading through the night.

Bonus: For Every Bookworm


If you need something last minute, or want to give your bookworm a fun stocking stuffer, every bookworm would be thrilled to receive a new book as a gift. Check out our monthly release announcements on our blog or the Baker Book House store for book ideas!

Bookworms: What bookish Christmas gifts do you suggest to your family members or friends?

These gift suggestions are brought to you by Rachael Wing, our Bethany House copywriter. (Notice the Pride and Prejudice scarf!)


December 2018 New Releases

As Christmas approaches, nothing sounds more appealing to me than curling up in front of a fire with a good book. This is also the season where I see social media posts about Iceland’s charming (and very real) holiday tradition of giving a gift of books on Christmas Eve and then spending the rest of the night reading and drinking hot chocolate. Anyone else out there feeling jealous of Iceland right now?

I’m happy to announce that we have some books that would perfectly fit into this amazing tradition. Check them out by clicking the covers to read an excerpt of the first chapter.

The Lieutenant’s Bargain by Regina Jennings

Plot Synopsis: Confirmed bachelor Lieutenant Jack Hennessey is stunned to run into Hattie Walker, the girl who shattered his heart…and she’s just as surprised to find her rescuer is the neighbor she once knew. But his attempts to save her from a dangerous situation go awry, and the two end up in a mess that puts her dreams in peril—and tests his resolve to remain single.

The Bride of Ivy Green by Julie Klassen

Plot Synopsis: Much has happened in Ivy Hill, and while several villagers have found new love and purpose, questions remain—and a few dearly held dreams have yet to be fulfilled. When a secretive new dressmaker arrives, the ladies suspect she isn’t who she claims to be. While the people of Ivy Hill anticipate one wedding, an unexpected bride may surprise them all.

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

Plot Synopsis: When an anonymous poem predicts a string of murders, ending with her own, FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn is paired up with Special Agent Noah Hunter, who resents his assignment. But this brazen serial killer breaks all the normal patterns, and soon Noah and Kaely must race against time to catch the murderer before anyone else—including Kaely—is killed.

Searching for You by Jody Hedlund

Plot Synopsis: After witnessing a crime, Sophie Neumann disappears with her two young charges on an orphan train heading west. At the first stop, she faces the most difficult choice of her life. Reinhold Weiss has finally purchased his own small farm when an old friend shows up, pleading for help. But how can he help her when mounting debts and past scars still haunt him?

What books do you hope to receive this year for Christmas?

Prayer for Authors: December 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.


Authors with Books Releasing in December:

Jody Hedlund
Regina Jennings
Julie Klassen
Nancy Mehl

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.

Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.“—Ephesians 6:23-24 (CSB)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For times of rest and peace in a busy release month and holiday season.
  • For the ability to set aside comparison, unrealistic expectations, and the need for control.
  • For Christian books, fiction and nonfiction, to reach lots of readers this Christmas and make an impact.

We know it’s a busy time of year as we start Advent, so thanks for taking a few moments to remember these authors and their books in prayer with us.

8 Things Guaranteed Make Readers Happy

Last month, we talked about reader pet peeves—those annoyances that really make us mad—but this week is the fun part. Here are some things that will make any reader want to do a happy dance. Enjoy, share your own ideas in the comments, and pass along to a reading friend…or maybe a friend or spouse who doesn’t quite “get it.”

One: Reader-to-Reader Understanding

Whether it’s checking in constantly with a friend to see if you can finally gush about your favorite novel with someone else or sharing those relatable memes on social media about books, the need for more books, or the need for less feedback from people who think you have enough books already, readers love to be understood. And who can understand them except other book-lovers?

This is also present in a more negative way when you need to vent with someone who agrees that the movie adaptation falls dramatically short of the book or that so-and-so *must* get together with what’s-his-name in the sequel or you will riot.

My Happy Reader Level: 4-6 depending on the depth of my need for reader empathy.

Two: Canceled Social Events or Obligations

Okay, so this isn’t always true—readers like people too—but every now and then it’s nice to have an unexpected evening to curl up with a good book. So don’t feel too bad if you have to unexpectedly change plans…chances are your reader friend will hang out with a party of fictional characters instead.

My Happy Reader Level: 2 most of the time, occasionally 4 (sorry, I’m an extrovert).

Three: Casual References to a Classic Novel

Whether you’re name dropping Big Brother or Mr. Darcy or sneaking in something a little more obscure and hoping someone else will be a kindred spirit and pick up on it, it’s fun to see nods to some of the literary greats. And for the record, if you say, “Speak, friend, and enter” when I knock on your door, you better believe that we will be friends from then on if we weren’t already.

My Happy Reader Level: 6, with an 8 for references to lesser-known favorites

Four: Overhearing Strangers Talk About Books

You know you feel a small sense of kinship when you spy someone in the dentist office reading a favorite novel or you hear someone in the library two shelves over recommending a beloved kids’ book. Whether you respond to the stranger or not, it’s fun to know that there are lots of readers out there in the wider world. My favorite example of this happened a few years ago while in line at a Subway at the Minneapolis airport. Two traffic control employees were making small talk behind me that went like this:

Guy: So, you’re more of a Shakespeare girl, then, huh?
Girl: Yeah, my favorites are Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet.
Guy: I gotta be honest: I didn’t read any of them in school when we were supposed to. What’s the draw?
[Girl proceeds to summarize the plot of R&J, to exclamations of surprise from the guy—“You’ve gotta be kidding. Why didn’t he check to make sure she was dead?” etc. While girl moves on to the difference between comedies and tragedies, guy smoothly pays for girl’s sandwich. Girl feigns protest, guy gallantly says it’s the least he can do for the literature lesson.]

If you do not find this heartwarming and adorable, I don’t think you are really a reader.

My Happy Reader Level: 9 for this story, 6 normally. I can’t help it; I love eavesdropping.

Five: Finding a Character Who is Like You

Spotting your name in a book is always fun (although apparently my first and last name was once the victim of a gristly murder, so that’s unfortunate), but personality traits and physical quirks are always delightful too. You know, like: “What! A heroine with different-colored eyes! I thought I was the only one” or “This character’s stress-shopping for housewares online is the most relatable thing ever.” The only downside is realizing that the person you would be best friends with doesn’t actually exist in real life. Bummer.

My Happy Reader Level: 4, when I’m not the murder victim.

Six: Recommendations of an Amazing Book

Whether you let someone know that a bestseller actually earned the hype or you suggest a “hidden gem” that very few have discovered, a couple of spot-on recommendations and you’ll be a reader’s friend for life. There’s a special excitement when you love a book from a new-to-you author and then find out that the author has a book list of a dozen more already published. Backlist party!

My Happy Reader Level: 7, with occasionally bouts of 9 and the rare 11 for a Top Ten recommendation.

Seven: Beautiful Libraries and Bookstores

Okay, let’s be honest: pretty much all libraries or bookstores, but the ones that are cozy or grand or delightfully interactive are especially fun to visit. (If you’re ever in Minneapolis, be sure to check out Wild Rumpus.)

Just make sure you have some time if you take a reader into one of these sacred spaces…there’s no such thing as a “quick peek.” Unless by “quick,” you were measuring in hours instead of minutes. Possibly days…

My Happy Reader Level: Base of 3, with my happiness rising a level for every 15 minutes I get to spend there.

Eight: Book-Shaped Presents

Am I the only one who, as a kid, purposely scoped out the haul under the Christmas tree to set aside, with great glee, the smooth, rectangular ones with just the right heft to be a book? It got to the point where my parents were wrapping books in shoeboxes just to maintain an element of surprise. There are other perfectly serviceable present options out there, of course, but how else can you gift wrap an entire world? Nothing else quite measures up, in my opinion.

My Happy Reader Level: 7, unless I actually open those presents and find out it’s a stationery kit or cookbook or something. (Nothing against cookbooks, they’re just not straight-through reads, and also feel slightly unattainable.)

What else is guaranteed to make you happy, readers? Or which one of these on the list have you experienced lately?

A Prayer for Readers at Thanksgiving

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

We’re thankful for the friends and family who have impacted our lives in deep ways…and also for the fictional characters who have done the same.

We want to take time to appreciate the moments of hope in the middle of hard times that we’ve experienced in our lives…and in books that we’ve read.

We can list dozens of new places and experiences we’ve had in the past year…and some of them involve visiting other countries and era through the pages of stories.

We are grateful for the actual feast before us…and for a feast of knowledge through books that teach, entertain, challenge, and give us perspectives outside our own.

Happy Thanksgiving from your fellow readers at Bethany House!

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.


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.


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?