October 2020 New Releases

This fall is a bonanza of delightful books for readers, including seven new releases from Bethany House in October: historical, suspense, contemporary, and even a novella collection. There’s a lot of fun to be had this month, and I’m excited to introduce you to these books, including an excerpt from each when you click on the cover.

Backlash by Rachel Dylan
Capital Intrigue #2

Plot Summary: After one of her team members is murdered and the CIA opens an internal investigation on her, Layla Karam reluctantly turns to her ex-boyfriend and private investigator Hunter McCoy to help clear her name and uncover the real killer. With threats on all sides, Layla must put her trust in the man who broke her heart and hope they both come out alive.


The Kissing Tree by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese

Plot Summary: From the mid-1800s to modern day, these novellas each tell a tale worthy of swooning. These bestselling authors’ unique voices are on display in stories where each couples’ winding path to love happens under the shade an enormous Texas oak tree.


The Sowing Season by Katie Powner

Plot Summary: Forced to sell his family farm after sacrificing everything, 63-year-old Gerrit Laninga no longer knows what to do with himself. 15-year-old Rae Walters has growing doubts about The Plan her parents set to help her follow in her father’s footsteps. When their paths cross just as they need a friend the most, Gerrit’s and Rae’s lives change in unexpected ways.

A Haven for Her Heart by Susan Anne Mason
Redemption’s Light #1

Plot Summary: Haunted by painful memories, Olivia Rosetti is singularly focused on running her maternity home for troubled women. Darius Reed is determined to protect his daughter from the prejudice that killed his wife by marrying a society darling. But when he’s suddenly drawn to Olivia, they will learn if love can prove stronger than the secrets and hurts of the past.


Forever by Your Side by Tracie Peterson
Willamette Brides #3

Plot Summary: Accompanied by her best friend, Thomas Lowell, Constance Browning returns from studying in the East to catalog the native peoples of Oregon—and to prove that her missionary parents aren’t involved in a secret conspiracy to goad the oppressed tribes to war. As tensions rise amid shocking revelations, Constance may also have a revelation of the heart.


The Shepherd’s Wife by Angela Hunt
Jerusalem Road #2

Plot Summary: When her husband is thrown into debtor’s prison, Pheodora—sister of Yeshua of Nazareth—pins her hopes on the birth of two spotless goats to sell for the upcoming Yom Kippur sacrifice so that she can provide for her daughters and survive. Calling on her wits, her family, and her God, can she trust that He will hear and help a lowly shepherd’s wife?


Her Secret Song by Mary Connealy
Brides of Hope Mountain #3

Plot Summary: To overcome her fears of the outside world, Ursula Nordegren treks down Hope Mountain where she discovers a badly wounded man. Wax Mosby is remorseful over driving out the Wardens, but when he’s hurt, the last person he expects to rescue him is a beautiful woman related to them. As they weigh the cost of living new lives, an unlikely bond forms between them.


Do you have recent book that will make its way onto your “keeper shelf”? Share it with us in the comments.


Five Fall Book and Beverage Pairings

Welcome to autumn, readers! Here in Minnesota, leaves are changing, people are hauling out their packed-away long-sleeved clothes, and coffee shops are bringing out all of their fall beverage menus. It’s the perfect time to sip a hot drink and read a good book.

Obviously, not everyone’s weather looks like this (shoutout to our international friends who are going into spring), but if you’re preparing for some cozy reading time as temperatures drop, here are some suggestions for the perfect drink-book pairings.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This classic of autumnal flavors will put you in a seasonal mood at one sniff. This coffee drink takes the chill off of even the most gloomy and rainy of fall days.

Genre: Romance

Why: Can’t we all use a little heartwarming goodness in our lives? Romances and their happy-ever-after endings are also classics for a reason.

Recommendation: Love and a Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray


Cold Apple Cider

Genre: Mystery or suspense

Why: You’ll need to cool off after getting your heartbeat up reading about chase scenes, mistaken identities, and crime, right? What better way than this apple-orchard favorite?

Recommendation: The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright


Hot Apple Cider

Why does apple cider get mentioned twice? First, because it’s clearly the superior fall drink. Second, because hot and cold apple cider are two entirely different beverages. Hot cider feels like a sweater right out of the dryer, warm and comforting.

Genre: Historical

Why: Hot cider reminds us of barn-raisings or other old-timey goodness, a drink perfect for nostalgia and learning about the events and people of the past.

Recommendation: A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White


Cinnamon or Chai Tea

This is the perfect mix of classy-yet-cozy, especially combined with an elegant teacup. It doesn’t water down the fall flavors, though, and usually comes with a kick of caffeine too.

Genre: Contemporary or women’s fiction

Why: You’ve got sophisticated tastes, and like a little complexity in your reads—but still plenty of hope.

Recommendation: The Sowing Season by Katie Powner (releases in October)


Hot Chocolate

Is there anything more fun than a rich mug of cocoa, preferably sipped in front of the fireplace? We don’t think so. Especially if you add marshmallows.

Genre: Christmas novella

Why: Come on. We know you’re putting peppermint in this hot chocolate and listening to a playlist with some carols sneaking on it. Just admit it and go full-on holiday cheer.

Recommendation: An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen


Do you think your go-to genre matches the drink pairing above? Feel free to recommend a book in one of these categories too.

Back to School: Two Authors Talk History and Homeschooling

Hello, dear readers! As we head into the fall, I thought it might be fun to talk about the crossover between historical fiction and teaching history to students. Many of our authors homeschool, but I chose two with recent releases, Kimberly Duffy and Jody Hedlund, to share a bit more about how their writing and teaching worlds intersect. And if you are (or know) a homeschooler, there are a few reading guide resources linked at the bottom of the post if you’re interested in teaching your teens through Christian fiction!

Tell us about your homeschooling background, including when in your homeschool journey you started writing fiction.

Jody: I have five children and have been homeschooling for close to twenty years. My oldest three are now college age and beyond. And I have two left in high school. I’ve been writing for most of my adult life, but I got really serious about pursuing publication when I was in the thick of homeschooling. My youngest was only six months old when I started writing The Preacher’s Bride (my debut book).

Kimberly: I began writing fiction long before I had children. I finished my first book right before getting pregnant with my oldest daughter. But I didn’t begin seriously pursuing publication until my third was born, and by that time I was homeschooling two. I grew up in New York where homeschooling laws are fairly strict, so I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled. I didn’t even know it was a thing. But when I married and moved to Ohio, I became good friends with a young mom who encouraged me from the moment my daughter was born. She insisted I’d be a fantastic homeschooler (which I’ve since learned isn’t at all the truth). When my oldest was ready for kindergarten, I wasn’t ready to release her, so I decided to homeschool her for kindergarten, except by the end of the year, she was reading at a third grade level. So I just continued since it seemed like a great way to instill in my kids a love for reading and learning that wouldn’t be hampered by tests, social pressure, and a tearing down of their natural giftings and inclinations.

What’s the hardest thing about balancing your career as a novelist with teaching and parenting? What about the most surprising?

Jody: The hardest thing is carving out time for writing. When my kids were younger, I spent the majority of my day teaching them and had to relegate writing to when they were napping, resting, or in bed at night. As my kids got older and more independent, I wrote in the afternoons while they did chores or played.

Once my writing career began to take off, I solicited help from other people. My husband’s work schedule allowed him the flexibility to homeschool the kids a couple of mornings a week, which provided me with more writing time. My mom also helped by teaching the kids music, cooking, history, and other fun subjects on Fridays, freeing up more time.

Most surprising was how much I could accomplish in the midst of my busy life. I realized I couldn’t wait for perfect conditions before I began writing and that I needed to grab what I could. I learned to work amidst noise, chaos, and a zillion interruptions. I had to develop strong self-control to keep writing even with so many other things demanding my attention.

Kim: The hardest thing about balancing my career and teaching is that I’m not any good at it. I’m very disciplined, but I also have tunnel vision on whatever it is I’m working on. That means each April, right before homeschool conference season, I spend hours and hours a day organizing and planning and purchasing and developing (I really like creating my own curriculum because I have a lack of awareness when it comes to how much time I actually have). Nothing else gets done—even the laundry. And when I’m writing a first draft, I’m ONLY writing a first draft. Kids? What kids? Thankfully, my older two are fairly independent with their work and rarely need me, and my third grader only requires an hour or so of direct instruction a day.

I used to try so hard to be more balanced, but I’m just not made that way and I’ve since learned there are benefits to being 100% in.

Either now or in the past, what role has fiction played in your homeschooling curriculum?

Jody: I’m a huge proponent of kids learning through “living books” (and not just textbooks). As a result, I read a TON of fiction to my kids when they were younger. I also took advantage of audio books during our lunch time. Also, for many years we were a part of a book group (with other homeschooling families), one that challenged us to read outside our normal interests. All of that helped facilitate a love of reading among my kids.

Kimberly: Fiction has always played a HUGE role in our homeschooling choices. From the kindergarten days of read alouds with Little House on the Prairie to helping one of my children overcome her serious aversion to math by using Life of Fred (a story based math program) to creating and teaching a creative writing program to middle schoolers, fiction is the cornerstone of our day. Reading widely is the very best way to teach grammar and history and the beauty of language. It’s the best way to expose children to other cultures and places and people. It’s the best way to instill in them compassion and empathy. Jesus used story to teach great lessons. I don’t think I need to reinvent the wheel.

What do you think are some effective ways to get kids excited about history?

Jody: I always enjoyed finding books that corresponded to whatever we were learning in history. For example, when we studied Ancient Egypt we read The Golden Goblet, and when we studied the Roman era, we read The Bronze Bow. Reading about real people having real experiences brought history to life and made it more interesting and easier to learn.

Kimberly: I have a secret weapon—a high school experience that taught me the best way to learn history. I dropped out of my AP history class because of bullying (sometimes the meanest kids are the smart ones) but I still wanted to take the exam. I couldn’t open that textbook without some serious anxiety, so I just decided to sign up. And I got a perfect score. Because I read extensively—historical novels, classic literature, autobiographies. Multiple books a week. Over a broad range of topics (but usually historical in nature because, even then, it was my passion). Charlotte Mason, a 19th century British educator, believed the best way to teach history was through what she called “living books,” and I agree. Kids will remember what sparked the Reformation if they read about it in a wonderfully-written novel. They will remember the day the Revolutionary War was won if they read a biography on Washington. They will remember how the Salem witch hunts happened if they read The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Another thing we love doing is visiting historical sites and living history museums. Study artists and then go see their paintings at a museum. Listen to classical music and learn about the people who created it. Read Farmer Boy and have popcorn and milk like Almanzo. It’s easy to bring history to life, and it’s life that kids remember and enjoy.

If you’re looking for a fantastic, already created history curriculum that is based on these ideals, check out Beautiful Feet Books—a Charlotte Mason inspired history curriculum. They have many grade levels and topics. My favorite is the Around the World with Picture Books (preschoolers), History of the Horse (middle elementary), and Medieval History (middle and high school).

Have you ever used your children’s curriculum to research for your next novel? If so, tell us about it!

Jody: Oh yeah! In fact, it was while reading biographies to my children during history lessons that I began to learn about some of the great heroes of the faith and the women who stood by their sides. I was so fascinated by those “forgotten” women, that I had the urge to bring them to life and tell their stories. That’s what inspired me to write The Preacher’s Bride (which is about the wife of John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress).

Kimberly: I don’t think I’ve ever used a complete curriculum, but I have used children’s books. I read a few children’s books in preparation for writing A Mosaic of Wings. My favorite was Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian. I find that children’s books are great resources because they distill the essence of a story, person, or place into something easily accessible, to the point, and, because there is often a limit on words, beautifully poetic. There are also pictures!

Historical Fiction Curriculum Guides for Teens

If you homeschool, here’s a fun bonus resource: several Bethany House fiction authors have created curriculum guides, often including study questions related to history, science, and literature to use as a companion with a particular book. Enjoy learning while reading!

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

A Mosaic of Wings by Kimberly Duffy

What was a favorite historical fiction book of yours when you were a child or teenager?

Ask BHP: What Do Publishers Discuss When Considering a New Book?

Hello, friends! It’s Rachael, copywriter and Instagram coordinator, and I’m diving into this month’s Ask BHP blog post. We had two similar questions that I’m excited to answer: “How many people actually read a manuscript before the decision is made to publish it?” and “What do publishers discuss when they’re considering a new book?”

As someone on the marketing team, I don’t see book proposals until one of the last stages: publication board, or pub board. The manuscript starts with our acquisitions editor who obtains it through an agent or from an author they have met directly. After that, they will send it to some test readers who will review the manuscript and give the acquisitions editors feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about it. After that, the book will go through an editorial board where it has to get a thumbs up from the editorial team before reaching me at the pub board. In this meeting, the acquisitions editor has to convince my marketing team, the sales team, and other executives that this is a project worth investing in. Once it reaches pub board, it has gone through approximately fifteen people. Isn’t it astounding how many individuals have to offer input on one book?

At pub board, we make the final decision on whether or not we want to publish a book or series, and then decide to make our offer to the author. But before we come to that conclusion, we discuss a number of things including, but not limited to:

1. Literary Merit

The first thing that we all pay special attention to is the writing (of course!). We take note of the author’s voice, their character development, the uniqueness and familiarity of the story, and what types of readers it will appeal to—Amy wrote more about this here! We also look for red flags. For instance, if multiple people notice something problematic about the plot or characters that is central to the story and can’t be fixed, we might pass on a manuscript. If there are easy fixes, the editor will take note of the things we didn’t like for when they do their content edit. If we feel like it needs more improvement before we can agree to publish it, the author will be asked to make rewrites and it comes back to us again—though, that doesn’t happen too often.

2. Audience

Another thing we discuss is you! We always take into consideration our audience and who this book will appeal to. For instance, if it’s a regency thriller about a young woman named Emma with a hit list instead of a matchmaking list who invents time-travel, well . . . that would seem to be a rather specific audience that our book stores wouldn’t be compelled to buy and our readers may not pick up. But in all seriousness, whether it’s a contemporary romance or a heart-pounding thriller, we know what our readers will be drawn to based on similar books we’ve previously published and book reviews we’ve read. Yes, we read your reviews and they help us enormously so keep them coming!

3. Sales History

If we’re discussing an author who has self-published or has previously published with us or another publishing house, we review their sales history. We want to make sure they are selling steadily so we know we are making a sound investment. If they, or someone else, has written something similar to the book they are proposing that has sold well (or terribly) we take special note of that so we can determine how well this book will do.

4. Platform and Marketing Efforts

As an individual on the marketing team, I always check out the author’s platform. I take a look at their social media stats, what initiatives they are taking to reach new readers, their author connections, and more. We also look to see what efforts they are willing to make in regards to local media or book events, and their plans for a launch team. This discussion isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker—many of our new fiction authors don’t have thousands of followers yet—but it is helpful for standing out.

5. Awards or Notable Mentions

If an author has won awards or have received notable mentions from authors or magazines, we take note of that. When others are excited about those things, we are too! It shows that they have proven to grab others attention and will most likely continue to do so.

There’s also conversation on how many copies we think it will sell, when the best time to launch it will be, and other financial conversations which may confuse you as much as it does me.

Other more specific factors may come up from time to time depending on the project, but these are areas we discuss for all new fiction authors.

What is it about a new book or author that stands out to you?

*To ask a question of your own, fill out the form here: https://forms.gle/MyzL6QPGh3JQKzyE8 

Prayer for Authors: September 2020

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 September:

Julie Klassen
Beverly Lewis
Roseanna M. White
Jaime Jo Wright

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 keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”—Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For peace in writing and decision-making, career-related or otherwise.
  • For authors being published this month to reach readers who have never heard of them but need the stories they’ve written.
  • For health and safety for these authors and their families.

As always, I’m glad to have all of you joining us in prayer. It’s a wonderful way to support authors and their novels!

September 2020 New Releases

Welcome to fall, readers! And with it, a chance to pick up some of these brand-new releases from some beloved authors. There are plenty of thrills, secrets, and fascinating characters within their pages. We’re excited to announce them to you, and be sure to click on the covers to read an excerpt.


An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen

Plot Summary: Haunted by an old secret and the shadows of his past, gentleman Richard Brockwell prefers to stay away from Ivy Hill—until his mother threatens to stop funding his carefree life unless he returns for Christmas. Will Christmastime in Ivy Hill, with all of its divine hope, unforeseen surprises, and unexpected romantic encounters, work its magic in his heart?


The Stone Wall by Beverly Lewis

Plot Summary: Eager to begin a new chapter as a Lancaster County tour guide, Anna searches for the answers of her grandmother’s past and an old stone wall—both a mystery due to the elderly woman’s Alzheimer’s. And when Anna grows close with a Mennonite man and an Amish widower, she’s faced with a difficult choice. Will she find love and the truth, or only heartbreak?


The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Plot Summary: In 1928, Bonaventure Circus outcast Pippa Ripley must decide if uncovering her roots is worth putting herself directly in the path of a killer preying on the troupe. Decades later, while determining if an old circus train depot will be torn down or preserved, Chandler Faulk is pulled into a story far darker and more haunting than she imagined.


A Portrait of Loyalty by Roseanna M. White

Plot Summary: A skilled cryptographer, Zivon Marin fled Russia determined to offer his skills to the Brits. Lily Blackwell is recruited to the intelligence division to help the war with her unsurpassed camera skills. But when her photographs reveal Zivon is being followed, his loyalty is questioned and his enemies are discovered to be closer than he feared.

I’m sure, like me, you take your chance to read wherever you can, but do you have a favorite reading spot?

The Thrill of Reading: A Suspense Author Roundtable

I don’t know about you, but I love a novel that will keep me turning pages with all of its twists and turns. And as the fiction publicist here at Bethany House, I get to work with several of the authors who create those types of books, and they’re joining us on the blog today!

Several of our Bethany House suspense writers are here to share details about their inspiration and research so you can learn more about what it takes to get those page-turning plots to you.

Amy: Why do you think readers enjoy reading about criminal investigations, perilous chase scenes, and high-stakes drama that they wouldn’t want to be involved with in real life? And why do you enjoy writing it?

Susan Sleeman: I think readers like these kinds of books for two reasons. One, they’d like to think of themselves as the hero or heroine, being brave enough to withstand the attacks and smart enough to outfox the bad guy. And two, they like the fast pace and excitement in these books. And they like to be a bit scared by the events, sort of like riding a roller coaster. You know you are safe, but the ride raises your adrenaline, and you like the feeling.

I write in this genre for the same reasons I think readers like to read them. I want to think of myself as being brave, but in reality, I’m a big chicken. I like the adrenaline rush too. But also, I’m fascinated with forensics and police procedures, so I love doing the research and learning new things in that area. Also, I attended the FBI’s citizens academy and several local police citizens academy, and when I saw the agents’ and officers’ hearts for helping people, I was hooked on writing in this genre to portray law enforcement officers as the genuine helpers that they are.

First Lines of Minutes to Die: “Exposed. Kiley felt exposed. Standing there. In the dark. Waiting. Waiting. The moon hunkered behind heavy clouds. The streetlights dim. The quiet Washington, D.C., suburban shopping area shrouded by foggy mist.”

Amy: Tell us a little bit about your main character in your most recent novel. Any desire to move into crime-fighting yourself?

Rachel: Layla Karam works at the CIA as a Middle East analyst, but those in charge at the Agency believe Layla would be a better asset if she was a CIA officer working in the field. Even though she resists, she takes on the challenges because she believes she is serving her country.

Fun fact, Layla got her undergraduate degree in Arab studies, and I got my Master’s degree in Middle Eastern studies. I poured a lot of myself into Layla’s character, but I could never take on dangerous field missions like her. I’m much better sitting behind my computer writing about them!

First Lines of Backlash: “The incessant knocking on her condo door made Layla Karam grumble as she threw off the covers. She had no idea who would be so insistent—especially at two in the morning. Over five years at the CIA had made her cautious, so she grabbed her gun from the nightstand and went to the door, ready for anything.”

Amy: Your latest series has a lot of complexity. What is something you think readers would find interesting about the challenges you faced in writing the Kaely Quinn Profiler novels?

Nancy Mehl: I’ve never worked with a character quite like Kaely before—the daughter of a serial killer who grows up to be a behavioral analyst for the FBI. She certainly comes with a boatload of emotional hang-ups!

But I’d also say it was extremely tough to write about the FBI. I’m so blessed to work with a retired FBI agent who actually worked in the BAU (Behavioral Analysis Unit). You would think that would make things easier. Uh, no. In my first drafts, I had so many things wrong. I actually rewrote the beginning of Mind Games, the first book in the series, three times because my FBI source told me my premise wouldn’t work. I’m sure I tried her patience more than once, but we got it done. I couldn’t have written the book without her.

First Lines of Dead End: “Norman Webber offered his wife a tight smile as he dealt with yet another one of her awful presents. He felt like a fool walking back and forth in this abandoned rail yard.”

Amy: Tell us a little bit about your latest series and what inspired you to chose the characters you did.

Dani Pettrey: The Coastal Guardians series features a team of Coast Guard Investigative Service agents. Each book features a different member of the team. Before I started researching, I had no idea the CGIS existed, but while researching the Coast Guard in general, I found cases the CGIS had worked and solved. I was fascinated and decided to write a series about the men and women who pursue justice for a living. I hope readers will enjoy getting to know the whole team.

First Line of The Crushing Depths: “Greg Barnes clinked along the grated metal steps, his boot heels rasping with each shuffle as he headed topside for a much-needed breath of smoke. Thrusting the door open with a resounding creak, he stepped out into the night air. A litany of protestors’ chants mimicked the shrill whining of cicadas.”

Amy: What do you feel like characterizes your series? Why do readers keep coming back for more?

Ronie Kendig: In the twenty-plus books I’ve written, I’ve found that readers—and I—really love the team dynamic, the camaraderie and the relationships. It takes a lot of effort, more than when I wrote a regular cast of characters, but I love it because it brings depth to the story that otherwise isn’t there. It also affords an opportunity for diversity, humor, and impact that I find easier to imbue in a story through that team dynamic.

I’ve also written interconnected threads across the series in several of my series to date. The most difficult thing is to pull all those moving parts together in the end to create a satisfying but not cliché, everyone-lives-happily-ever-after conclusion.

First Lines of Kings Falling: “Being hunted by the monsters she had created was a horrifying, well-deserved death. God forgive her for the terrible things she’d done, but it had been for good. For the good of all humankind. Only it hadn’t turned out … good.”

Amy: You mention on your website that you write “suspense stained by history’s secrets.” What does this mean?

Jaime Jo Wright: I created that phrase when I was repeatedly asked what I wrote, and when I answered “suspense,” I received questions about the FBI, police, murder investigations, and so on. So I wanted to define that my stories are far more vintage in nature, and that while there are present-day mysteries and suspense stories, they’re all very stained and saturated with the secrets of the past.

First Lines of The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus: “Life was not unlike the wisp of fog that curled around the base of a grave marker, softly caressing the marble before dissolving into the violet shadows of the night. There was a sweetness in its bitter that left an aftertaste, a vision, a moment of wonderment.”

What question would you like to ask your favorite suspense authors? We might use them in a future post.

Add a Word, Ruin a (Pandemic) Book

Inspired by this cartoon, the Bethany House fiction team rewrote a few classic novels to better fit our current season.* Since everyone has extra time on their hands, why not make the literary greats more relevant by one tiny little change to the title? Here’s what we mean…

One Hundred Years of 2020 Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

A Tale of Two Quarantines by Charles Dickens

Not On the Road by Jack Keroauc

Sense and Sanitation by Jane Austen

Charlotte’s Web Classroom by E. B. White

Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Year by Judith Viorst

Oh, the Places You Won’t Go! By Dr. Seuss

To Kill a Social Life by Harper Lee

The Lord of the Masks by J.R.R. Tolkien

Twenty-Twenty by George Orwell (JUST AS BAD)

But why stop there? Thinking about it, we realized we could update a few Bethany House titles as well.

From a Social Distance by Tamera Alexander

Before I Zoom Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

A Dangerous Cough by Elizabeth Camden

Until the Restrictions Fall by Connilyn Cossette

A Faithful Virtual Gathering by Leslie Gould

Stuck Together (in Quarantine) by Mary Connealy

A Cure Unknown by Roseanna M. White

A Most Inconvenient Mask by Regina Jennings

A Mosaic of Germs by Kimberly Duffy

For Such an Unprecedented Time by Kate Breslin

A Uncommon Skype Courtship by Kristi Ann Hunter

A Conspiracy of Conspiracy Theories by Ronie Kendig

Outbreak by Davis Bunn (wait, that’s actually the real title…)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our little exercise in re-writing books. May all of your reading be healthy and occasionally hilarious!

(*This is all totally tongue-in-cheek and not intended as actual, serious pandemic commentary. Except if your takeaway is that books are great for social distancing, because they are.)

Okay, your turn, readers! Add or change a word to modify a book to make it more COVID-relevant. Then share it in the comments.

Summer Stacks Contest!

If you’re like us, you have quite a to-be-read pile…so why not have some fun with it for a little photo contest?

How to Enter: take an artistic picture of a stack of books – either ones you have yet to read, or ones you’ve read and loved! Then share it on Facebook or Instagram, tagging Bethany House Fiction and including the hashtag #SummerStacksContest. At least one of the books must be a Bethany House book. (Look for our logo on the spine to check!) The rest can be anything you like: any publisher, genre, or even nonfiction.

No social media? No problem. Send your picture to alokkesmoe@bethanyhouse.com, and I’ll include your entry too. The point, though, is to recommend some favorite books to others, so if you chose this option, don’t forget to spread a little love for those books by word of mouth.

Next Thursday, August 20th, we’ll select and contact four random winners plus a BHP’s choice winner to receive their choice of any two of our July or August new releases.

Want some examples? Here are some #SummerStacksContest photos we featured on our own Instagram account. They’re also the books you can chose from if you win!

What are you waiting for? Get started!

August 2020 New Releases

Wow, can you believe that August is already here? As you enjoy some relaxation this summer month, we hope you’ll bring a book along, and we’d love for you to check out our four fabulous new releases! Whether you want a contemporary love story with a dash of wit or a quilting-inspired Amish tale with a historical storyline, if you’re craving a Regency romance with an aristocratic flair or a page-turning suspense novel, we’ve got just the story for you. Click on the cover to read an excerpt. We hope you enjoy them!


Love and a Little White Lie by Tammy L. Gray
A State of Grace Novel

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?


Piecing It All Together by Leslie Gould
Plain Patterns #1

Plot Summary: Dumped by her fiancé a week before the wedding, Savannah Mast flees California for her Amish grandmother’s farm, where she becomes unexpectedly entangled in the search for a missing Amish girl. When she discovers her childhood friend, Tommy Miller, is implicated as a suspect, she must do all she can to find the Amish girl and clear his name.


Vying for the Viscount by Kristi Ann Hunter
Hearts on the Heath

Plot Summary: When a strange man appears to be stealing horses at the neighboring estate, Bianca Snowley jumps to their rescue. And when she discovers he’s the new owner, she can’t help but be intrigued—but romance is unfeasible when he proposes they help secure spouses for each other. Will they see everything they’ve wanted has been there all along before it’s too late?

Minutes to Die by Susan Sleeman
Homeland Heroes #2

Plot Summary: Terrorists have been smuggled into the country intent on unleashing a deadly attack, and FBI Agent Kiley Dawson and ICE Agent Evan Bowers are charged with taking it down—only, Kiley blames Evan for the death of her former partner and can’t be in the same room as him. As threats ensue, the two are pushed to the breaking point in a race to save countless lives.


Are any of these on your TBR list, readers?