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

Four Ways to Make Your Short Story Better

If you’re a writer, I wanted to let you know about an exciting short story contest sponsored by Family Fiction. You can read all about it here…and then come back for some tips on writing that short story!

If you’re a reader and not the writing type, good news! You get to read and vote on your favorite stories for the “People’s Choice” award! Go here to vote, although new stories will be added as they are approved, so check back! Also, you should share this post with a friend who you’d love to see enter!

Contest

Now, for some tips for those people thinking about entering: advice from some of your favorite writers (and two contest judges!). Continue reading

Love Never Fails: Romance in the 1700s

Part of the fun of historical fiction is stepping into another era . . . both the good and the bad. Beautiful gowns—yes, please! Wearing tightly-laced corsets under those gowns—maybe not. A simpler life with less technology might be appealing, but the lack of indoor plumbing certainly isn’t.

One of the best things about reading is that it can take us into the past while still keeping us firmly in the present. At the same time, there are customs of the past that we would love to see brought back into style today. For many of us, that includes some of the traditions of romance in years gone by.

I interviewed several of our historical fiction authors about the difference between romance and courtship today and in the time period they write about. Every Friday this month, I’ll post a different time period . . . with a fun giveaway at the end of each post!

Join me as we go back several centuries and talk with Jody Hedlund about love and marriage in the 1700s.

When Susanna’s heart for the poor and Ben’s disillusionment with British rule cross paths, the two find themselves bound in a dangerous fight for justice.

Book Title and Setting: Rebellious Heart, 1763 Boston

My Question:
How was courtship different in the era of your novel compared to now?

Jody’s Answer:
First, courtship in the 1700s was a family affair. Parents often had a hand in choosing potential suitors and steered children toward appropriate matches. While such involvement may have had an overbearing quality to it, young adults of today could save themselves later heartache by obtaining family input on potential marriage partners. Continue reading

Giving the Gifts that Really Matter: Jody Hedlund

“Please, Mommy, one more story?”

Bright brown eyes pleaded with me as my youngest son pushed another Christmas book into my hands. I bit back the automatic no that begged for release. After a typical day of teaching, mothering, and managing the activities of a noisy, busy household, I wanted to curl up on the couch with my newest biography. I hungered for silence and stillness, food for my creative mind.

“Just one more.” My six-year-old added her big blue eyes to the drama.

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My mind shouted that I’d given all day. I’d already sacrificed enough. From the piles of laundry I’d folded to the never-ending task of breaking up squabbles and training my children’s characters. For our Advent activity, Red & Green Day, I’d even cooked red and green food for every meal, including green scrambled eggs.

My body ached, and my eyes smarted from exhaustion. It would be so easy to say no, to tuck my littlest children into their beds and have an hour of quietness before the older kids arrived home from art class and basketball practice. Continue reading