Celebrating the Christy Awards…With a Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love a good party? Especially a party that involves talented authors and lots of amazing books? That’s basically what the Christy Awards is: a celebration of the best in Christian fiction.

This year, I’m excited to be on the Christy Awards board representing Baker Publishing Group and helping organize an event for authors before the awards. I’m beyond excited, and it’s only a month away now! Since I know that many of you live too far away to come (although see the invite below if a trip to Nashville sounds like fun), I decided to host a giveaway to get you in the gala spirit, and to draw attention to the finalists and their books, representing many different publishing companies.

Here’s how it works:

  • Leave a question at the survey posted on By the Book. (We might use your question for a panel.)
  • Then take a look at the 2017 Christy nominees and comment on this post with one that you’ve read and loved.
  • You’ll be entered to win your choice of a Christy-nominated book from 2016 published by Bethany House (Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey, A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter, Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden, or The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White).
  • I’ll announce and contact the winner next Thursday, October 19.

That’s it! Except for one last thing…if you live near Nashville (or want to make a road trip), we’d love to have you join us for the awards! Readers, the gala dinner is not-to-be-missed, and if you’re also an aspiring writer, there are workshops beforehand that you’ll want to check out as well.

You can find out more about the event below, or if you’re already convinced, you can register here.

About the Art of Writing Conference: The Art of Writing is designed to bring Christian creatives and publishing curators together for a half day of intensive seminars that celebrate the creative life, provide practical tips for overcoming challenges in a rapidly-changing industry, and answer questions authors are asking.

The speakers represent a wide range of roles and areas of expertise. Andrew Peterson, young adult writer and founder of the Rabbit Room, will give advice on how to create and benefit from a vibrant creative community, while Wheaton College professor Theon Hill, Ph.D. will present a survey of the obstacles and opportunities of diversity in Christian fiction. Authors will receive encouragement for the ups and downs of the writing life from blogger Carrie Schmidt and author, agent, and ACFW public relations liaison Cynthia Ruchti. Finally, a panel of representatives from major ECPA publishers will share insider information on where the genre has been, where it’s going, and the exciting changes they see in today’s market for writers. Learn more about the speakers and sessions here.

About the Christy Awards: The Christy Award™ is designed to nurture and encourage creativity and quality in the writing and publishing of fiction written from a Christian worldview and showcase the diversity of genres. The award is named for Catherine Marshall’s enduring bestselling novel, Christy, published in 1967 and inspiring a continuing book series and a CBS television series starring Kellie Martin. The novel will be re-released in 2017 in a 50th anniversary legacy edition by Gilead Publishing in partnership with Kregel Publications.

Hosted by award-winning author and radio host Chris Fabry, this year’s celebration gala dinner will feature New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury as well as musician and writer Andrew Peterson. You can view the finalist list here.

Be sure to check out the fun on the rest of the tour!

Christy Award Celebration Blog Tour

Monday, October 9: Top Ten Writing Industry Issues at Seekerville
Tuesday, October 10: Give Us Your Best Questions at By the Book
Wednesday, October 11: Interview with Dr. Theon Hill at Reading is My Superpower
Thursday, October 12: Celebrating the Christy Awards…With a Giveaway! at Bethany House Fiction
Friday, October 13: Quiz: Pick Your Gala Dress at Dani Pettrey’s blog
Saturday, October 14: Eight Reasons to Come to The Art of Writing at The Power of Words
Sunday, October 15: Interview with Carrie Schmidt at Bookworm Mama
Monday, October 16: Interview with Cynthia Ruchti at Just Commonly
Tuesday, October 17: Christy Nominee Bingo and Giveaway at Faithfully Bookish
Wednesday, October 18: The Unofficial Readers’ Choice Cover Awards at Singing Librarian Books

Share a Book Contest 2017!

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

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

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

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

ShareaCoke

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

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

 

Reader Poll and Giveaway!

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

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

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

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

Six Reasons British Books Are the Best

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that American readers have long been fascinated with stories featuring their British cousins. Here, I’m talking about historical romances (though I’m sure modern-day Brits are just as dreamy). Whether we’re going all the way back to the streets of Victorian London or to the noir England of Agatha Christie, there are reasons we’re drawn to books set across the pond.

One: Tidbits of Interesting History

Those of us who grew up in the States have probably been well-educated in the (relatively short) timeline of our own country. Not to say it isn’t interesting, but there’s very little that surprises me anymore.

But The Captain’s Daughter taking me backstage behind the real workings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s famous operas? That I’d never thought of, and everything from the dangers of Victorian London to the life of an actress to the new spotlight technologies was a learning experience for me.

In the same way, did I know what a coaching inn was before reading The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill? Not a clue. But the daily routine of the inn and the threat to its survival intrigued me (and, of course, the parade of characters with secrets who came in and out).

Two: Pretty Dresses

Let’s be honest: Victorian and Regency gowns are the best.

Would we want to wear them every day? Of course not. (One word: corsets.) But it’s fun to admire the images on the cover or the descriptions in the text. And if there’s a ballroom scene? Count me in. Inherent drama plus women in beautiful dresses…what more could you want?

Unless of course you’re the Duke of Riverton from An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter. Then your thoughts might be more like this:

Of all the social events that played out in London, balls made the least sense to Griffith. They were always massively crowded, so the chances of seeing the person you actually wanted to talk to that evening were small, unless you’d arranged a meeting prior. Talking was difficult, what with the music and the people coming in and out of conversations in order to join the dancing.

And for a man who was looking to court, they made even less sense.

With gemstoned bodices and jeweled hair clips scattering the light from the multitude of candles, the finery in the room was enough to blind a man. Even the plainest of women could look exquisite with such trappings, and when the artificial beauty collided with natural beauty, men tended to lose their wits as well as their sight.

Griffin frowned. How could a man possibly form and know true feelings and opinions in an environment like that?

But either way…pretty dresses and dancing equals drama.

Three: High Levels of Intrigue

It’s been a while since there was a war fought on American soil. Believe me, I’m not complaining, but this rules out many classic suspense plots for the twentieth century. But in England, with each of the major World Wars, you have an entire history book full of content for thrilling plots. Observe the “hook” of these two novels:

Rosemary Gresham is offered the challenge of a lifetime in pre-WWI England: pose as a librarian and determine whether a certain wealthy gentleman is loyal to Britain or to Germany. (A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White)

British nurse Evelyn Marche spends her days at the hospital during WWI, but her most carefully guarded secret is that she spends her nights carrying out dangerous missions as a spy for a resistance group. (High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin)

Neither story would translate well in, say, New Jersey or Oklahoma in the early 1900s. British settings give us the chance for spies and nurses and soldiers and a whole cast of compelling characters.

Four: Nobility and Social Status

Here, my friends, is one area that our friends across the pond have us beat: the titled upper class. Lord and ladies, dukes and duchesses, and even the occasional prince are fascinating to read about.

There’s inherent tension in class differences and the endless social standards created because of them. Nothing makes a page-turner like a compelling internal conflict between needing to make an advantageous match or marrying for love (An Inconvenient Beauty, Kristi Ann Hunter) or the pressure of knowing others might not approve of the wealthy gentleman falling for the lovely American visitor (The Drew Farthering mysteries, Julianna Deering). The greater the obstacle to romance, the more I want to find out what happens next.

Five: Character Drama

Adaptations of Jane Eyre or Jane Austen or any of the original miniseries created by the BCC and others can be very well done, but it’s usually easier to connect with characters in novels because you can hear their thoughts and are fully immersed in a world you can imagine yourself. Books can go into more depth than a typical movie, and with series, authors can continue the relationship you’ve developed with the cast over months or even years.

Jennifer Delamere’s new London Beginnings series, which introduces us to the romances of three orphaned sisters, is a great example of this, or Roseanna White’s Shadows Over England that traces the exploits of a streetwise “family” of talented thieves. Once you’ve read one, you’ll be eager to find out how the other characters end up. When fictional characters feel like real people, the authors have done their jobs, and even the best costume drama can rarely beat a well-written novel.

Six: Accents

And here, I’m talking specifically about what a good British accent does to the attractiveness factor of your average hero.

“But wait,” you say, “it’s not possible to actually hear any difference in speech while reading.” I beg to differ. Not only do you hear a swoon-worthy voice in your head as you go along, but the word choice and phrasing of British heroes have just a little something different that makes their dialogue—especially the declarations of love—special.

Allow me to demonstrate.

“Darling, the longer I know you, the more certain I am that we were meant for each other. I will wait for you if you like. If you insist, I will let you go. But I will always love you. No one I have ever met has charmed me and challenged me, soothed me and nettled me, or fit so perfectly into my heart and life as you. If you leave me, I will not die.” He swallowed hard. “But I don’t think I will ever be quite whole again.” (Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering)

Just try to tell me that a cowboy or motorcycle dude could have pulled that off. (I didn’t think so.)

Whether you’re in it for the romantic rogue spy or the dashing duke, there’s a British-set novel for you. Pour a cup of tea (of course)…and happy reading!

If you’re a fan of British books, to celebrate sweeping country manors, crowded and dangerous London streets, and, of course, debonair and handsome heroes, Bethany House is hosting a giveaway of six of our British-set books. You can enter here!

Any other reasons I should add to this list? What draws you to British-set books?

INSPY Shortlist Giveaway

One of the benefits of working at a publishing company is being able to cheer on our various award-winning and nominated books. It’s nice when outside judges recognize the great storytelling we get the chance to work with every day. To celebrate a recent list of finalists, we’re going to give away books from the INSPY award shortlist! (To see all the nominees, or to read fun interviews with the nominated authors, go to their website.)

You can click on each cover to read an excerpt and see why the INSPYs took note of these titles…then enter the giveaway (instructions at the end of the post). Congratulations to all!

Her One and Only by Becky Wade

Category: Contemporary Romance

Plot: NFL star Gray Fowler is receiving death threats. Out of concern, his team hires a protection detail, but Gray is indignant when he meets his bodyguard. How can an attractive woman half his size protect him? Former Marine Dru Porter is, in fact, more than capable. But as danger rises, can Dru and Gray entrust their lives to one another?

Counted with the Stars by Connilyn Cossette

Category: Debut Fiction

Plot: The young Egyptian slave Kiya leads a miserable life. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, she’s in the middle of it all. Choosing to flee with the Hebrews, Kiya finds herself reliant on a strange God and developing feelings for a man who despises her people. Facing the trials of the desert, will she turn back toward Egypt—or find a new place to belong?

A Heart Most Certain by Melissa Jagears

Category: Historical Romance

Plot: To impress the politician courting her and help her family, Lydia King is determined to obtain a donation to the Teaville Moral Society from the wealthiest man in town, Nicholas Lowe. But when complications arise, Lydia must decide where her beliefs—and heart—truly align.

Conspiracy of Silence by Ronie Kendig

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: When an archaeological dig unleashes a centuries-old virus, paramilitary operative Cole ‘Tox’ Russell is forced back into action. With the help of archaeologist Tzivia Khalon and FBI agent Kasey Cortes, Tox searches for answers—and becomes entangled in a web of deception. As the team races to stop a pandemic, a secret society counters their every move.

Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: When modern skeletal remains are discovered at Gettysburg, park ranger and former sniper Griffin McCray must confront his past if he, his friends, and charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott are going to escape this web of murder alive.

Dressed for Death by Julianna Deering

Category: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: While attending a Regency costume party, Drew and Madeline Farthering are immersed in a new case when the fiancée of a friend dies mysteriously at the event. Drew’s friend insists she was murdered. In the face of a shocking revelation and arrest, Drew begins to doubt his own abilities and finds he is unprepared for the dangerous secrets he uncovers.

The Shattered Vigil by Patrick W. Carr

Category: Speculative Fiction

Plot: Despite their recent victory, Willet and the rest of the Vigil discover the continent is still far from safe. When unseen assassins begin targeting the Vigil and their gift and his associates scatter—Willet must find a way to defeat this latest threat alone.

And now that I’ve introduced the books, time for the giveaway! Comment below to answer this question, “What makes a book a standout to you?” Next Thursday, we’ll choose three winners who can select their choice of one of these seven shortlist titles as a prize.

A Wallflower Ball: Fun with Jen Turano!

Great news, readers! (Any sentence involving “free” and “books” gets my attention, anyway.)

Jen Turano’s new Apart From the Crowd series, following a group of wallflowers in their adventures in New York society, launches this month with a free ebook novella!

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You can download it from your favorite ebook retailer (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD).

To celebrate, I asked Jen if she’d take us into the world of her characters during one of the Gilded Age social events where everyone wanted an invitation: a ball at the Astor House.

And here it is, one of the most ostentatious mansions New York has ever seen:

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Inside, the atmosphere would be charged with rumors and romance and possibly a bit of danger and intrigue. It might look something like this:

ballroom

Of course, dinner would be served. Here is a typical menu from the Gilded Age:

First Course
Julienne or Vermicelli Soup

Second Course
Broiled Salmon
Turbot in Lobster Sauce
Filet de Soles
Red Mullet
Trout
Lobster Rissoles

Entrees
Canards a la Rouennaise
Mutton Cutlets
Braised Beef
Spring Chicken
Roast Quarter of Lamb
Tongue
Roast Saddle of Mutton
Whitebait

Third Course
Quails
Roast Duck
Mayonnaise of Chicken
Green Peas
Charlotte Russe
Strawberries
Compote of Cherries
Neapolitan Cakes
Madiera Wine

Or you could take a walk outside, perhaps down to Central Park for some ice skating:

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This might be what Wilhelmina looked like bundled up for a wintery afternoon outdoors:

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And here’s a typical gown like her friend Permilia might have worn to the ball:

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Speaking of gorgeous dresses, take a look at the one on the cover of Jen’s upcoming release, Behind the Scenes! (Doesn’t it remind you of the research photo above that Jen sent to our designers?)

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There’s an extended excerpt of the first book in the series within the ebook novella of At Your Request, so you can get started on it before anyone else.

To keep the fun going, we’re going to give away two copies of Behind the Scenes! To enter, comment on this post with the answer to one, or all, of these questions: If you were attending a Gilded Age ball, what color would your dress be? Which foods on the menu look most and least appetizing? Would you give ice skating a try?

Winners will be listed in next week’s blog post on January 19. (If you are an international reader, you can still enter, but I will substitute the book with an Amazon egift card because of the cost of shipping.)

The Bookshelf Game (and Giveaway)

Let’s play a little game, just for fun.

Since today is 9/22, take a book off your shelf, then go to page 22 and pick a random excerpt starting on that page. Then count nine books away from your first book, turn to page 22 there, and pick an excerpt to add to the starting half you picked from the first book. (You can determine where to start it and how much to use. Feel free to look for parts that would make the story more coherent or funnier!)

I tried this myself to give you some examples. A few of my favorites:

“While I don’t doubt my ability to complete the accounting portion of the business, I’ll need a jug full of grape juice.”

Taken from: The Artisan’s Wife by Judith Miller, Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Her relationship with her daughter had never been easy, particularly since she had died from some disease in a South American hospital.

Taken from: The Midwife’s Dilemma by Delia Parr and A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson Continue reading

Celebrating our Award Nominees and Winners!

It’s award season, and with it comes recognition for some great books! The Carol award finalists were announced earlier this week, with winners to be presented at the ACFW conference in August. Several were from the Bethany House family, and I’m excited to show them off. You can click on each cover to read an excerpt.

Contemporary:

Finding Me
Finding Me by Kathryn Cushman

After her father’s death, Kelli discovers a shocking secret: She has a family she’s never known. She may want answers, but are some doors better left shut?

Historical Romance:

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Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

When a librarian and a prominent congressman join forces to solve a mystery, they become entangled in secrets more perilous than they could have ever imagined.

Worthy Pursuit

A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

A teacher on the run. A tracker in pursuit. Can Charlotte and Stone learn to trust each other before they both lose what they hold most dear?

Romance:

Until the Harvest

Until the Harvest by Sarah Loudin Thomas

When a family tragedy derails his studies, Henry returns home feeling lost. Can a gifted young girl and her older sister help him find his way again?

Young Adult:

Dauntless

Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman

Timothy Grey plans to earn a title by capturing Lady Merry and her band of orphan thieves. But will he carry out his mission when he meets their dauntless leader face-to-face?

Also, a special congratulations to Susan Anne Mason for winning a Christy Award in the Best First Novel category for Irish Meadows. Irish Meadows also joined Taken by Dee Henderson and The Painter’s Daughter by Julie Klassen to win Christian Retailing’s Best Awards. Also recently announced was Patrick W. Carr’s INSPY award win for The Shock of Night. We’re excited for you!

To celebrate, we’re doing a giveaway on the blog. Comment below with an answer to this question: what’s a time period or setting you would enjoy reading a novel about? I’ll choose 5 winners on Tuesday, July 5 to win their choice of one of these five Carol finalist titles. Winners will be notified by a reply to their comment.

RITA Finalists Giveaway

Last weekend, Romance Writers of America unveiled their list of RITA finalists, and Bethany House books made a great showing!

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To highlight the books that made it onto the (very prestigious) award shortlist, we’re hosting a giveaway of them on the blog. Find out a little bit about them below.

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

Kristi Ann Hunter is an expert on all things Regency—check out her Pinterest for a board of dresses worthy of any Jane-Austen-era ball. Her debut novel, A Noble Masquerade, was nominated both in the Inspirational Romance category and the First Novel category!

A Noble Masquerade
Lady Miranda Hawthorne secretly longs to be bold. But she is mortified when her brother’s new valet accidentally mails her private thoughts to a duke she’s never met—until he responds. As Miranda tries to sort out her growing feelings for two men, she inadvertently uncovers secrets that will put more than her heart at risk.

A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade

Becky Wade’s former Marine Jake Porter is the hunky hero of A Love Like Ours, in her Porter family series. If you just can’t get enough of Becky Wade’s love stories, check out this exclusive preview of Her One and Only, releasing next month!

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When Jake hires Lyndie James, an old childhood friend, to exercise his Thoroughbreds, he is surprised to discover that her tender-hearted, fearless nature affects him just as profoundly as it does his horses. Slowly, Lyndie begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart, but his fears and regrets still linger. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

Toward the Sunrise by Elizabeth Camden

On to the BHP nominated title in the novella category. Basically this is a giveaway where everyone wins something, because you can download your copy of the fabulous Toward the Sunrise for free! (We’re including Elizabeth’s full-length print book, Until the Dawn in the actual giveaway as well.) You can download it here onto an ereader or your computer.

Toward the Sunrise

Just shy of graduating from a women’s medical college, Julia Broeder makes a rash decision that results in her expulsion. With few choices, she pleads for help from Ashton Carlyle, the Vandermark family attorney whose job is to take care of loyal employees like her family. As they work together, Julia and Ashton encounter revelations, adventure, and romance.

Also, congratulations to Raela Schoenherr, who edited all three titles! (You can read an interview with her about what BHP looks for in authors here.)

As someone who read and loved all three of these stories, I can confidently say that the judges of the RITA had good taste! Cheering these ladies on—so proud that your hard work has been recognized in this way!

We’re giving away a copy of each of these titles to two different winners. To enter the giveaway, comment on the post below with an answer to this question: what makes a book one you would re-read multiple times? Winners will be notified on Monday, April 4 by a reply to their comment.

Celebrating Teen Read Week with Dina Sleiman and Bonnie Calhoun!

Next week, October 18-24 is Teen Read Week, according to the American Library Association. Many libraries have special programs or events to celebrate—check out your library to see if there’s something you can get involved in!

To celebrate, we’re chatting with and Bonnie Calhoun, author of the STONE BRAIDE CHRONICLES, and Dina Sleiman, author of the VALIANT HEARTS novels, both young adult series.

BonnieDina

Amy: What made you want to write a young adult novel?

Bonnie: I decided to write YA because young people are more interested in fast-paced plots and slightly wild scenarios. They tend to like more action than adults, and they don’t want to be talked down to, so there is no need to alter the language level for understanding. And the best part . . . the imagination of a YA reader is a wonderful thing! They are much more willing to suspend disbelief than adults.

Dina: Writing instructors say to picture one person you’re writing your novel for. I always pictured a young woman in her late teens or early twenties—a struggling Christian or searching unbeliever in need of guidance and inspiration. When I learned that the typical reader of adult Christian fiction is middle-aged, I realized YA might actually be a better fit for me. Young adult readers are looking for something more real and raw than their adult counterparts. They are hoping to see the world as it truly is and learn and grow through fiction. All of that makes YA a great fit for me. And to top it off, the medieval period, which I love, has traditionally been more appealing to young adult readers. Continue reading