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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Prayer for Authors: May 2014

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 May:

Victoria Bylin
Dee Henderson
Nancy Mehl
Robin Parrish
Dani Pettrey
Melissa Tagg
Becky Wade

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.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2, NIV

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For the ability to thank God for things that don’t seem like blessings (upcoming deadlines, difficult people, drains on time and attention).
  • For identities rooted in Christ and not the positive or negative comments found in reviews of the books.
  • For readers to come away from the novels with a better understanding of how to love God and others.

Thank you so much, readers, for taking a few moments to pray for these authors, and for everyone who picks up these books. I know it makes a difference, and that it matters a lot to the authors as well.

Our Authors’ New Year’s Resolutions

Happy 2014, everyone! In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I sent to following question to several of our fiction authors:

If you had to pick one fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) to work on in 2014, which would it be? fruit

For me, of course, the answer was simple. I mean there’s . . . but also . . . and what about . . . hmm. Maybe all of them?

To help me narrow down my choices, I read what our authors had to say. Here is how they responded:

Janette Oke


All needed. All should be developing daily. I would love to see each one of them in my own life: plump, and rich in color, and ripened to the tastiness they were meant to be. To pick one—it would be love. Because love is needed for each of the others to develop to full potential. Delicious possibilities!

Siri Mitchell


Patience. I think that as a fruit of the Spirit, it’s highly underrated. Mostly people just kind of skip over it for the more “righteous” gifts, but we live in such an impatient world. It’s easy to get caught up in the “right-now” culture, but really, impatience is making yourself and your needs more important than everyone else’s. So patience is what I’ll be working on this year.

Lisa Wingate


This being the empty nest year of my life, I think mine would be joy. As a mom who always loved being a mom and loved all the routines that go with being a mom, I’m working on finding joy as life turns a corner. When one (dorm room) door closes, another door opens.

Kathryn Cushman


Self-control. It’s a constant struggle in almost every area of my life. It’s the main reason my favorite verse is Psalm 9:10, “And those who know Your name put their trust in You. For You, O Lord, have not abandoned those who seek You.”

Laurel Oke Logan


I tend to be a passion-driven person, so I would like to balance that with more self-control.

Melissa Tagg


I think faithfulness—although, let’s be honest, I really could stand to use some work on patience and self-control, too. But I feel like in the past year or so, God has constantly been reminding me of His faithfulness . . . there is something so amazing about that constancy. It makes him dependable and trustworthy. I would like to be that way as much as possible in my own life: faithful, dependable, constant.

Leslie Gould


I’d pick joy! We live in a broken world, but God’s redemption is evident everywhere. In nature. In humans. In art. In stories. I want to be aware of that redemptive work and rejoice in that beauty. I want to delight in creation and relationships and knowing God is ultimately in control.

Victoria Bylin


Kindness, definitely. I work part-time in a doctor’s office. Every day I see people going through hard times. A little extra consideration—opening a door, getting someone a tissue—goes a long way to brightening that person’s day. It brightens my day too! We all need help now and then. It’s a fact of life.

Karen Witemeyer


Self-control. That sweet tooth of mine just keeps insisting on having its own way, and I give in far too often.

Kate Breslin


I could certainly work on them all, but I’ll choose faithfulness. As a new author, I’ve experienced a lot of “firsts” in publishing, both exciting and challenging; to keep my faith constant that all will work according to God’s plan is a blessing to strive for!

Lynn Austin


Peace. I would like to get to the place where all of the disturbances in life, major and minor, don’t ruffle my composure or make me lose sleep.

Dani Pettrey


Joy. It’s been a difficult couple of years with a lot of loss, but also with a ton of good. Isn’t it funny how God brings joy in the midst of heartache? This year, I’d love to dwell on the joy and praising God for it.

Melissa Jagears


Love—I’m really busy at the moment and my kids and husband and other loved ones need to know that I love them. God too. And so I need to make sure I carve out enough time to show them in 2014.

Patrick Carr


I’d choose them all! If I could only choose one, it would be self-control. This last year with work (I’m a teacher) has been such an eye-opener, and the change in perspective has been difficult but very worthwhile.

Anne Mateer


Definitely joy. I have a tendency to get bogged down in all I have to do or things that are going on in my life and forget that the joy of the Lord isn’t dependent on my circumstances but on what He has done for and in me.

R. J. Larson


I would choose love. I hope to reflect true and boundless love for everyone in this fallen world, even when some people challenge ideals I cherish, or threaten those who are vulnerable. Practicing and reflecting love also helps me as I pursue the other fruits of the Spirit.

Elizabeth Ludwig


Patience. No doubt. I am not a patient person, and reminding me of that only makes me more impatient. Thank goodness the Lord does not grow weary with me. He’s got to shake his head every time I forget to put on the fruits of the Spirit.

How about you? Pick a fruit, and tell us a little bit about why you chose it.

A McKenna Family Christmas: Dani Pettrey

I’m so excited to be part of Bethany House’s new blog, and especially excited to be sharing about Christmas traditions. We all have them—fun traditions started when we were kids or as adults. These traditions create beautiful and often hilarious memories. Today I thought it’d be fun to give you an insider’s peek into a McKenna Family Christmas. If you aren’t familiar with the McKennas, they are the family whose story is told in my ALASKAN COURAGE series. Just typing the word Alaska makes me think of cold winter nights and cuddling up inside by a warm fireplace. Let’s see how the McKennas enjoy spending their Christmas, and I’ll be sharing a little of my own family traditions along the way.

Family: The McKenna siblings (Cole, Gage, Kayden, Reef, and Piper) have always been close, but especially so after the death of their parents while most were in their teens. Since then, Cole and Piper in particular have worked hard to keep Christmas a joyful time full of the traditions their parents began.

Serving: The McKennas have been instilled with a love of serving and giving back since they were young. Their dad volunteered with Search and Rescue, and each of the siblings continue that tradition today. At Christmas time, they serve at the local soup kitchen on Christmas Eve before the church service. Gage does the cooking, and the rest help serve and clean up. Piper also makes up a list of gifts for less-fortunate families in their town, and each of the siblings adopts a different family—delivering the presents to the parents to share with their children on Christmas morning.

Book Advent: The McKennas’ mom was a book lover, giving each of the kids a middle name after one of her favorite literary characters. A tradition she started when they were young was giving them each a new Christmas book each year. After several years they were able to begin a Christmas advent where they’d get the books from past years out and read one each day during the month of December. This is something I did in my own family. I treasure the books given to me, and we still pull them out each December. My favorite is The Christmas Cat by Efner Tudor Holmes. It always makes me thankful for a warm home and a loving family. Continue reading