Alaska: a History of Adventure

Pettrey_DaniThis week, we have a guest on the blog: Dani Pettrey! Her ALASKAN COURAGE series takes place in a state most of us would love to visit. In case you can’t book a flight and head out there yourself, you can learn a little bit about Alaska as Dani shares some facts from her research for the books. Enjoy!

5 Fun Facts about the McKenna Family’s Home State

Alaska is a land of extremes. It’s the Northernmost, Westernmost (and Easternmost! Its string of islands stretches all the way into the Eastern Hemisphere) state in the US. It’s the biggest state, with the brightest summers, the darkest winters, and the most uninhabited land. With excitement written into the history of every river and mountain, it’s no surprise the adventure-loving McKennas feel so at home here.

Did you know…Submerged-TP_4color+DBoss+MKote.indd

  • In the middle of the Bering Strait off the coast of Alaska, you’ll find Russia’s Big Diomede Island, and the United States’s Little Diomede Island, less than 3 miles apart from each other. This puts the two countries not only within eyeshot of each other on a clear day, but also within (hypothetical) walking distance when the water freezes. No wonder Russia and Alaska have such a closely-tied history… something Bailey discovered first-hand in Submerged!

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How to Avoid Spoilers

So, all of your friends have read the latest suspense release from your favorite author . . . except you. It’s been a busy month, or you’re on a library waiting list, or you have to finish another book first. Whatever the case, you’re likely to hear people talking about it. Here’s how to avoid hearing someone ruin the ending for you.

You're actually too late to pre-order Undetected. It released on 4/29!

You’re actually too late to preorder Undetected. It released on 4/29!

Preorder. This one is entirely preventive. If you’re the first one to order and read the book, no one can beat you to it, right?

Know the potential hazards. In case you missed out on preordering, here are some good Plan Bs. List your friends who are dedicated readers, the ones most likely to out-read you and get to the last chapter before you’ve even started. Feel free to communicate to them that no, you have not read the wonderful new release and would prefer that its plot not be discussed in detail when you’re around. If you practice, you can even say this in a nice way. Or just wear a T-shirt that says, “No one talk about [Title Name] for the next month!”

Have someone screen the Amazon reviews. Can’t stay away from those blurbs under the purchase button while you wait for the book to ship? Not all Internet consumers are sensitive to little etiquette details like the fact that the murderer’s name should not be written in all caps in the first sentence of the review. So if you have to look at reviews, have a disinterested third party scan them for you first. Continue reading

Internal Conflict: Writers Weigh In

Conflict. It’s what makes readers keep turning pages late into the night, and what helps writers know what to put on the page next. Some conflicts are fairly obvious: blizzards, runaway trains, or moustache-twirling villains are pretty easy to identify as the enemy.

But what happens when your real enemy is . . . you?

That’s what writers call internal conflict, and it can be subtle.

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As I read this month’s releases from Bethany House, I noticed that all of the main characters had a great story arc involving internal conflict. Yes, things are happening outside of them: a mistaken identity, hostage negotiation, impending murder, and blackmail. But what really drew me into the story were the unique and nuanced issues that each character faced. Here, the authors and I talk about the characters’ internal conflicts.

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To learn more about Judith and her books, go to judithmccoymiller.com.

Andrea Wilson
From A Shining Light by Judith Miller

Judith’s Take: For several years Andrea Wilson faced the consequences of a bad choice. A choice that destroyed her trust. Now, unexpected events have thrust her into life among the Amana Colonists in Iowa. If she is to ever find the peace, safety, and love she desires, she must learn to trust God as well as the people who have given her shelter. When trust proves more difficult than she anticipated, she must decide if she will rely upon her own understanding or finally trust God.

Amy’s Take: Sometimes communities like Amana are so peaceful that they seem far away from the problems of the outside world. When Andrea brought some of those problems into Amana, I loved watching how the people there loved and protected her. Sometimes trust doesn’t come easily, and I appreciated the realistic way Andrea struggled with that. Continue reading

8 Things to Do While Waiting For the Next Book

Hooked on a series? Stuck on book two of a trilogy that ends on a cliffhanger? (I’m talking about you, Patrick Carr.) Have a favorite author whose next book won’t come out for sixth months?

I’m with you on this one. I may be a fiction publicist by job title, but I’m a reader at heart. And let me tell you, the time it takes to get to the next book can drag on.

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If you’re a fan waiting for the next book, here are some fun things to do to lessen the agony of waiting . . . at least a little bit.

One: Cast it. Pretend that you’re a big-time producer casting your favorite book as a movie. Which actors and actresses would you pick for the main roles? Fill out your dream cast list and ask a few friends to do the same. It can be fun to compare notes . . . and explain why your choices are clearly the best.

Some of our authors already do this...here's Gemma Arterton, who Elizabeth Ludwig cast as the lead in No Safe Harbor on her Pinterest board.

Some of our authors already do this…here’s Gemma Arterton, who Elizabeth Ludwig cast as the lead in Tide and Tempest on her Pinterest board.

Two: Start a book club. Why? Not just because books are best shared, but because misery loves company. If you hook all of your friends on your favorite book, then you’ll have a circle of other people to join you in anxiously checking Amazon for the pre-buy of the next one. If you start an official club, check out our resource page for book clubs. But your “book club” could be just getting together with a few friends to chat over brunch about your favorite books.

Three: Make a countdown calendar. This is especially fun if you have friends to join you. Mark the release date on your calendar and do something related to the book once a month as you count down. If it’s an Amish novel, try some new recipes (check out these delicious-looking ones on Beverly Lewis’s website). When it’s a historical romance you’re eagerly awaiting, find out if there’s a historical landmark from that time period nearby (or even make some vacation plans). Maybe your countdown can be reading (or re-reading) one of the author’s previous books per month. Time flies when you’re having fun! Continue reading