Christy Award Bingo

Are you a Christian fiction fan? If so, you sign up to watch the livestream of the Christy Awards tonight (11/12) at 7 PM Central. It’s free, but you need to sign up here to get the link. There are some fantastic authors represented in the finalists’ list, including a number of Bethany House authors who we’ll be cheering on!

If you need any more motivation to come, here’s a fun game to play as you watch. Just print off one of these bingo cards and see if you can get five in a row.

Congratulations for the finalists, and enjoy this celebration of Christian fiction!

November 2020 New Releases

As the days get shorter, that just means more time to sit beside a fireplace (or cozy lamp) and read, right? If you’re in the mood for some page-turners, look no farther than these five new releases for the month. We hope you enjoy getting to know the stories within. Click on each cover if you’d like to read the first chapter!

To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano
The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency #1

Plot Summary: Gabriella Goodhue had put her past as a thief behind her, until a woman in her boardinghouse is unjustly accused and she is caught gathering evidence by Nicholas Quinn, a fellow street urchin against whom she holds a grudge. Nicholas refuses to lose her twice and insists they join forces—but their feelings are tested when danger follows their every step.

Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green

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

The Promised Land by Elizabeth Musser

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

Soul Raging by Ronie Kendig
The Book of the Wars #3

Plot Summary: Done waiting for answers, former Navy SEAL Leif Metcalf seizes control and teams up with his greatest enemy—a move that comes with a deadly risk. Torn apart by opposing views on how to handle Leif’s act of treachery, team Reaper hunts one of their own—agreeing only on starting, not stopping, the final battle prophesied in the Book of the Wars.

The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Plot Summary: When deaf teen Loyal Raines stumbles upon a dead body in the nearby river, his absentee father, Creed, is shocked the boy runs to him first. Pulled into the investigation, Creed discovers that it is the boy’s courage, not his inability to hear, that sets him apart, and he will have to do more than solve a murder if he wants to win his family’s hearts again.

What’s the most common way you discover a new author? Recommendation from a friend, an interesting cover, social media?

Prayer for Authors: November 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 Lokkesmoe, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in November:

Ronie Kendig
Amy Lynn Green
Elizabeth Musser
Sarah Loudin Thomas
Jen Turano

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.

“They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.”—Psalm 145:11-12 (NIV)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For people to know more about who God is from these new releases.
  • For perspective to face the disappointments or setbacks in life and writing.
  • For everyday moments of encouragement while writing the next story.

This month, I’m especially grateful to have all of you joining in prayer. I look foward to seeing how God works through these authors’ books!

Vote Books 2020!

Driving around my town yesterday, I had this enlightening thought: what if we had commercials, flyers, and even yard signs…promoting our favorite novels? Wouldn’t that be fun?

From there, of course, I thought of a few “campaign slogans” or platforms for my favorite classics. Two of my coworkers, Brooke and Rachael, also contributed some good ones. Enjoy!

Debate tonight: watch Gandalf and Harry Potter argue about the proper role of magic systems in fantasy novels. (Lucy Pevensie moderates.)

Don’t Reelect Goodnight Moon – It’s time to kick the incumbent out of office and replace it with an actual story. We the people don’t even know what mush is or why kids would want to say goodnight to it. It’s time for bedtime story reform.

If you’re looking for the truest gentleman on the ballot, look no further than Charles Bingley. He is charming without effort, innately good without ulterior motives, and will take care of his people when they fall ill. [Disclaimer voiceover] This slogan not written by Bingley, who would never say such nice things about himself. Vote Bingley.

“If women were allowed to vote, we’d soon see a blessed change.” – Rachel Lynde, endorsing Anne Shirley’s campaign (Good news, Mrs. Lynde! We can now!)

[Unflattering picture of Regency-era man, with voiceover] Edward Rochester has lied to us all. His secrets, crazy ex-wife, and propensity for dressing up as a gypsy to manipulate people mean he’s not the right man for the job. Vote for character. Vote for George Knightley.

[Image of candidate standing on stump] I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees. Don’t vote for another, and save all the leaves.

Love is not all a woman is fit for—we have minds, and talent, ambition. Vote for a clever and natural leader. Vote Jo March.

Elect Shakespeare 2020: Wherefore aren’t thou voting yet?

The election is afoot. Once you eliminate the impossible candidates, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the will of the people. Vote Sherlock Holmes.

Old Yeller. Where the Red Fern Grows. The Giving Tree. These tragedies have marked the current administration of children’s books for decades. We’ve all been caught in the Charlotte’s Web of lies. The Sad Children’s Book Party is against everything we value. Vote yes to Proposition 22: “Let the parent/animal/tree live!”

No wrongdoing shall go unpunished—even the smallest of them. Help decrease crime. Do not forget my name at the polling place. Do not forget me. Vote Javert.

Your turn! Contribute a novel-based slogan, or just tell us which fictional character you’d vote for. (Please, no actual, serious political discussion…this one’s just for bookish fun.)

Ask Bethany House: How About Some Publishing Trivia?

I love the open-endedness of the question I’ll be answering today: “Hmm, maybe…what are some fun facts about publishing that might surprise readers? I don’t even know what I might not know!”

Here are some publishing “fun facts” I gathered from all areas of Bethany House.

“Verso” and “recto” are the formal names for the left and right pages when printing.

Our designers have often used Photoshop to fix small historical inaccuracies in images used for cover, like a model with a tattoo on her wrist in Regency England or some red nail polish in biblical times.

We split the year into just three seasons on our publishing calendar: spring is January through April, summer is May through August, and Fall is September through December. That’s why we sometimes joke that at Bethany House, there isn’t any winter.

Sometimes book sellers and catalog producers want to take photos of the physical books to market them before the book is printed. In order for that to happen, we make a mock-up of the book, which includes printing off the book cover on printer paper, taping it to a different book of a similar size, and some work with an Xacto knife.

At Bethany House, we have a Bell of Triumph in one of our conference rooms that you can ring after any kind of hard-won victory, whether personal or work-related, and record the reason in a notebook next to it.

We have a giant stuffed cat in the office—formerly brought to trade shows when we were publishing the popular Mandie series for kids by Lois Gladys Leppard.

Every year on National Oreo Day (March 6th), we celebrate with a sampling of many varieties of the sandwich cookie and other activities (a bracket, trivia, and, last year, a flowchart personality quiz). It has nothing to do with publishing. We just have two editors, Jeff and Jen, who like Oreos.

Lots of books come in and out of the office doors. On average, Bethany House ships 520 packages every month (not including larger mailings like author copies or influencers, which ship from our warehouse).

Three of the five authors currently in the Christy Hall of Fame are there because of awards won for Bethany House novels: Lynn Austin, Davis Bunn, and Karen Hancock.

How about you, readers? Anything fun or unusual about your line of work that you’d like to share with us?

Prayer for Authors: October 2020

Happy Sunday! We’ll be continuing the Bethany House Fiction tradition of taking time to pray for authors who have new releases coming out this month. I’m Amy Lokkesmoe, the fiction publicist here, and I’m thankful for all of the readers who show their support for our authors in the way that matters most: by praying for them. To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in October:

Mary Connealy

Nicole Deese

Amanda Dykes

Rachel Dylan

Angela Hunt

Regina Jennings

Susan Anne Mason

Tracie Peterson

Katie Powner

Karen Witemeyer

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.”—Philippians 4:4-5 (NLT)

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For joy to overflow, both in their writing and their personal lives.
  • For bookstore owners struggling financially to be able to keep their doors open.
  • For the books releasing this month to have a lasting impact on readers who need their messages and stories.

Thank you all for taking a few moments to pray with us. It’s so appreciated!

First Line Matching Game

Time for a game, everyone! We have seven (!) new releases from Bethany House this month, so I thought it would be the perfect time to play a round of…Match That First Line!

The rules are simple. I have a list of first lines below, then a list of titles. No searching for any of them online, now, or even looking up back cover copy to find a character’s name. Just give your best guess matching all of them together.

First Lines

  1. “Bella Eden had always known when it would happen—the day before her eighteenth birthday.”
  2. “I did not feel like celebrating.”
  3. “The incessant knocking on her condo door made Layla Karam grumble as she threw off the covers.”
  4. “Wax Mosby was living a life that was going to kill him.”
  5. “Cow manure spewed from the burst pipe and rained down on him like retribution.”
  6. “I want this job.”
  7. “Olivia Rosetti turned up the volume on the radio in the empty parlor.”

Titles

A. The Kissing Tree by Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, and Nicole Deese
B. Forever by Your Side by Tracie Peterson
C. A Haven for Her Heart by Susan Anne Mason
D. The Shepherd’s Wife by Angela Hunt
E. Her Secret Song by Mary Connealy
F. The Sowing Season by Katie Powner
G. Backlash by Rachel Dylan

Think you might know the answers? Highlight the white text in the brackets to test yourself. You can comment with how many you got right! (No prizes, this is just for fun.)

Answers: [1A, 2D, 3G, 4E, 5F, 6B, 7C]

Christy Finalists 2020 Giveaway

We’re thrilled by the announcement today of the 2020 Christy Award finalists for excellence in Christian fiction, and are especially excited to announce that seven Bethany House titles are among them.

All are deserving of the honor, and we’ll be cheering their authors on next month when the winners are revealed (you can sign up for the free webcast here).

We decided it would be fun to hold a giveaway and will chose seven winners from the comments on this post. Each randomly-chosen winner can name one of the nominated books to receive as a prize (both Intrigue a la Mode and A Flood of Love are in the print collection Serving Up Love). To enter, just comment with your answer to this question: describe your ideal fancy apparel, worthy of a red-carpet event, whether you actually own it or not.

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.