Prayer for Authors: July 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.

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Authors with Books Releasing in July:

Julianna Deering
Jody Hedlund
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.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29, NIV

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For authors to hear from readers about the way their books have made a difference.
  • For the wisdom to be able to prioritize and know what is worth spending time on during a very busy month.
  • For readers who aren’t Christians to pick up one of these books and be challenged to think differently about life and faith.

Thank you so much for joining us as we remember these authors in prayer. Let’s pray that these stories (that contain the Story of the gospel) reach many people.

Secondary Characters: July Bethany House Books

(Don’t forget to check last week’s post to see if you were a winner!)

They never make the cover. Sometimes we don’t hear what happens to them at the end of the book. And they may not be quite as heroic as the main characters. But I would argue that a cast of strong secondary characters is what makes the difference between a good story and a great one.

As I read our July releases, I was struck by the delightful characters surrounding the hero and leading lady. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

A Match of Wits
by Jen Turano

Match of Wits

My Favorite Secondary Character: Mr. Blackheart

Why: Whether he’s being cryptic about his first name, delivering dry one-liners, or taunting our hero in an attempt to get him to admit his affection for Agatha, this solid, stoic bodyguard is full of surprises. Someone’s got to tell the heroine to stay away from the dynamite, and Blackheart is just the man for the job.

Quote from the Book:
Blackheart: I don’t have feelings for Miss Watson.

Zayne: Everyone has feelings for Agatha. She’s very beautiful, and you have to admit, life would never be boring with her by your side.

Blackheart: I like boring. Continue reading

Author Roundtable: Garden Favorites

Did you know that the lovely bouquet you’re eying in the florist shop could actually contain a secret message?

Well, not today, maybe. These days, a rose is just a rose. But in the Victorian era, young people would use the commonly accepted meanings of flowers to express their feelings for each other. (Pity the poor suitor who didn’t know that yellow tulips meant “hopeless love” or that snapdragons meant “deception or presumption”!)

Here are a few of our authors’ favorite flowers and their corresponding Victorian symbolism.

Becky Wade: Geraniums

GeraniumMeaning: True friendship

Kimberley Woodhouse: Tulips

TulipsMeaning: Declaration of love

Jen Turano and Elizabeth Camden: Sunflowers

SunflowersMeaning: Loyalty

Ann Tatlock: Violets

VioletsMeaning: Faithfulness

Melissa Tagg:  Daisies

DaisiesMeaning: Innocence, hope

Nancy Mehl: Irises

IrisMeaning: Faith, wisdom

Ann Mateer: Gardenias

GardeniasMeaning: You’re lovely, secret love

Regina Jennings: Zinnias

zinniasMeaning: Thoughts of absent friends

Dee Henderson, Leslie Gould, Kate Breslin: Roses

RosesMeaning: Love

Mary Connealy: Daffodils

DaffodilsMeaning: Respect

Here’s a fun idea: Look at the meanings of certain flowers and think of friends who fit that description perfectly. Then buy seed packets of those flowers and mail them to your friends with a note about why this particular flower and meaning made you think of them. (Zinnias are always good for a “Thinking of You” card!)

What’s your favorite flower, and what does it mean? (There are some variations in meaning from place to place, but most of these I found here and here.)

The Unexpected Gift: Jen Turano

Ever since my mom died almost ten years ago, with my dad following three years later, the Christmas season has been a little difficult for me. No longer am I flying across the country with my husband and son to celebrate the season in my childhood home, but I am now forming new traditions while trying to push aside the melancholy I experience throughout the holidays. I was incredibly close with my mom, and Christmas is just one of those times families are expected to get together, which makes her absence felt all the more deeply.

Last year was no exception to the melancholy problem, and it hit me harder than ever on Christmas Eve. Not even dressing up for church in an adorable outfit of Christmas plaid—paired with matching shoes, I must add—could lift my spirits. We arrived at church, and the peace I normally receive simply by walking through the door just wasn’t there. Finding a seat in the very back, I glanced around . . . and that’s when I saw her—an elderly lady, sitting by herself, in a pew on the opposite side of the sanctuary.

I watched her for a moment, and then I rose to my feet and told my guys we were moving. They–being quite used to me and the fact I change seats on a whim–followed me as I scooted past happy families and made my way over to the elderly lady. She lifted her head when I stopped right beside her, and her hazel eyes—eyes that were exactly the same shade my mom’s had been—twinkled with mischief. Her hair was cut in stylish bob, again, just like my mom used to wear, and her smile was infectious as she told me her name was Bobbie Sue, patted the seat right next to her, and said she’d be completely tickled if I sat with her. I introduced her to my husband and son, and she fussed over them, telling me how lucky I was to have such handsome men in my life.

We started chatting about everything, and it seemed as if I’d known Bobby Sue forever.  She explained that her husband had only recently passed away, that she was in town with her son to visit friends, but they were singing that evening in the choir, which is why she was sitting alone. She asked about my family, and when I told her my parents were gone, she reached over, took my hand in hers, and said, “You’re missing your mom, aren’t you?” Continue reading