Prophecy and Poetry–and Two New Books from BCC Press

twofer

At BCC Press, we believe that the line between poetry and prophecy is vanishingly thin and not really a line at all. Nearly all of the prophets in the Bible were also poets. Read correctly, the magnificent verses of Isaiah, the profound Lamentations of Jeremiah, and the stunning rebukes of Amos and Hosea are among the ancient world’s greatest poems.

The reverse is true as well: the poets of a culture are invariably its greatest prophets. Whether it is William Blake reconciling contraries through prophetic verse, or William Butler Yeats organizing history into self-annihilating gyres, or Walt Whitman telling Americans on the eve of the Civil War that “affection shall solve the problems of freedom”–poets warn us, challenge us, and reveal new and startling truths that complicate our lives. [Read more…]

Your Earth Day Present from BCC Press: The Tragedy of King Leere, Goatherd of the La Sals, by Steven L. Peck

Two years and two weeks ago, on April 6, 2017, BCC Press began with a single book: Steven Peck’s Science the Key to Theology. Today, we are proud to announce the publication of our 21st book, also by Steven Peck: The Tragedy of King Leere, the Goatherd of the La Sals.

In a certain (very metaphorical) sense, BCC Press is now a Steve Peck sandwich. We have a varied and tantalizing selection of fiction, poetry, drama, and memoir, and Steve is the artisan bread that holds it all together and gives it a shape. Science the Key to Theology is a serious work of philosophical nonfiction with the potential to change the way that Latter-day Saints see the universe. King Leere, on the other hand, is a post-modern, post-climate-change, post-American novel set in Southern Utah among people who used to be Mormons.

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“I Gave Her a Name”

Rachel Hunt Steeblik is the author of I Gave Her a Name, her second collection of poems about Heavenly Mother. Her first collection, Mother’s Milk, won the Association for Mormon Letters Award for Poetry in 2018. Both books are published by BCC Press. Rachel will be reading selections from I Gave Her a Name tonight at Anthony’s Fine Art and Antiques in Salt Lake City and tomorrow night at Writ & Vision in Provo. Both readings start at 7:00 PM.

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I very purposefully set Mother’s Milk inside two prayers, an invocation and a benediction, and as a prayer. I did it because I love Joanna Brooks’ poem called “Invocation/Benediction,” that addresses “Father, Mother”, and because before Jeffrey R. Holland’s 2015 conference talk, “Behold Thy Mother,” that explicitly thanked “a Mother in heaven” (along with Mother Eve, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Mary of Nazareth) for Her “crucial role in fulfilling the purposes of eternity,” the last non “heavenly parents” reference to Heavenly Mother in General Conference was Gordon B. Hinckley’s 1991 talk, “Daughters of God,” that suggested that those who pray to Heavenly Mother are “well-meaning, but…misguided.” I wanted to offer my own language of how we might pray about Heavenly Mother or simply to feel closer to Her.

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Presenting “I Gave Her a Name” and “A New Constellation”

 

 

We have a different version of the pride cycle here at BCC Press: we publish something great and feel proud of it, and then we publish something even better and feel proud about that too. And then we remember all of the other great stuff we published and become so justifiably proud that we have to stay in our rooms for a few days so we don’t go into stores and other random places and start sounding like Robert Goulet in Camelot.

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Speaking Mormon

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Keira Shae is the author of the phenomenal BCC Press megahit How the Light Gets In, a memoir of her early life in the dark underbelly of Provo, Utah. She was taken from a Meth-house to an LDS foster home as a teen. She will be joining fellow BCC authors Ashley May Hoiland, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Keira Shae this weekend for readings at Anthony’s Antiques & Fine Art in Salt Lake City (7:00 PM on Friday, April 5) and Writ & Vision in Provo (7:00 PM on Saturday, April 6). Her story, and her book, are featured in the April 3 Edition of the Deseret News.


I speak Mormon.

People ask me all the time for “proof” of my standing with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons and ex-Mormons alike will question my garment-wearing habits or Sunday routine, an “in-group” or “out-group” marker.

These are still tribes sticking to hard and fast rules. I did it, too. And do. It’s a way to gauge your interaction with others and adjust to their knowledge or preferences.

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Higher Law Mormons

Mette Harrison, the author of this guest post, is a frequent contributor to BCC and the author of three books for BCC Press, most recently, The Book of Abish. She will be joining fellow BCC authors Ashley May Hoiland, Rachel Hunt Steenblik, and Keira Shae this weekend for readings at Anthony’s Antiques & Fine Art in Salt Lake City (7:00 PM on Friday, April 5) and Writ & Vision in Provo (7:00 PM on Saturday, April 6).

Since I heard from my own mother (who is ninety years old) about General Conference rumors that the Word of Wisdom would allow coffee and tea consumption, I was inspired to write this essay.

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Taking the Plunge for All It Is Worth (Which Is a Lot)

BCC welcomes this guest review by Roger Terry, editorial director at BYU Studies and the author of Bruder: The Perplexingly Spiritual Life and Not Entirely Unexpected Death of a Mormon Missionary, published in 2019 by BCC Press.

BCC Press has recently released two missionary memoirs, and Michael and Steve thought it would be fun to have the two authors review each other’s book. In my own memoir, I made the following observation up front: “One thing you need to know is that in spite of the stultifying sameness of dress imposed upon male Mormon missionaries (females get cut a little slack in this department), no two missionaries are alike. Beyond this, there is another level of diversity: between missions. . . . My youngest son recently returned from serving in Ukraine. At the same time, his cousin was serving in Florida.

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Representation Matters: Naming Women in the Book of Mormon

This guest post is by Mette Harrison, whose many books include The Book of Abish, which was published this week by BCC Press.

A male friend of mine asked me a few years ago, when I complained about how few women spoke at General Conference, why it mattered to me. “If you believe the message is from God, then surely it’s the same message no matter who gives it.” This is, in a nutshell, what I think many men believe about male leadership within the Mormon church, and to be honest, about male leadership at work, in government, and in the media.

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The Book of Abish Is Here


As BCC has already proved with math, the Book of Mormon does not pass the Bechdel Test. In fact, it doesn’t even qualify to sit for the Bechdel Test. It doesn’t have two named female characters who talk to each other about anything. It doesn’t even have two named female characters who are alive at the same time or part of the same story. Only three women in the book even have names at all, and these three never come near each other.

But do you know what does pass the Bechdel Test? Mette Harrison’s new Book-of-Mormon themed novel, The Book of Abish (Kindle edition here), that’s what. It passes it in the first chapter and then keeps on passing it, on almost every page, until the last chapter. That’s because the whole point of The Book of Abish is to give the women of the book of Mormon their own stories–and their own names. And it is available from BCC Press today. [Read more…]

BCC Press Grows a Foot or Two

The Legend of Hermana Plunge, by Angela Liscom Clayton. (Paperback: $12.95) (Kindle: $7.99)
Bruder, by Roger Terry (Paperback $12.95) (Kindle: $7.99)

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Mormon Batman

Keira Shae is the author of the phenomenal BCC Press megahit How the Light Gets In, a memoir of her early life in the dark underbelly of Provo, Utah. She will be Julie Rose’s guest on BYU Radio’s Top of Mind radio today at 2:00 PM Mountain Stadard Time. We present her essay “Mormon Batman” as a brief preview of the mature and reflective faith that you will find in her memoir. And because we love Mormons. And Batman.

 

Batman the vigilante is seen as both a hero and a criminal. To those who align with the law and revere the social structure in a unjust world, he is unpredictable and dangerous. To those who view the system as broken or favor less or no regulation, he is a corrective force–one that deals with crime and corruption in a way that the official entities cannot.

As my faith has matured and transformed, , I can see both sides. It is very difficult to place Batman on the scale. [Read more…]

Our First Holiday Sale: Mormon Women for Ethical Government’s Little Purple Book

St. Nicholas MWEG Sale Day 1
Watch this space closely, BCC Press will be announcing some exciting Christmas deals on our ever-growing and supremely impressive list of titles. We start today with a special St. Nicholas Day sale on the Little Purple Book, the handbook and inspirational guidebook for the 6,000-member strong Mormon Women for Ethical Government. From December 6 through December 16, the Little Purple Book will be available for the almost-free price of $5.00 per copy. This is so that everyone who belongs to the organization, or who admires the work they are doing, can buy their very own copy. And those who really admire the work that MWEG is doing can buy their own truckload of copies to give to all of their friends.  [Read more…]

The Primary Program

The author of this post, Heidi Naylor, teaches English at Boise State University and is the closest thing that Mormon short fiction has to a rock star. Her stories and articles have appeared in The Washington Post, the Jewish Journal, the Idaho Review, Portland (magazine of the University of Portland), Dialogue: Journal of Mormon Thought, New Letters, and other venues. She grew up in Pennsylvania and raised her family of sons in Idaho with her husband. The best of her short fiction has been collected and published by BCC Press in Revolver: Stories by Heidi Naylor

 

childrYesterday was our ward’s Primary program, based on the 2018 theme for the year: “I Am a Child of God.” The program opened in a tender way: A cognitively challenged sister, aged in her mid-50s and still attending Primary, came to the podium and asserted, “I Am a Child of God.” “Yes, you are!” said our Primary president, as the sister headed back to her seat on the stand. You could feel her quiet pride as she smoothed her skirt and looked out shyly at us. [Read more…]

Review of Vampires in the Temple

Here at BCC Press, we don’t have any tricks for you this Halloween season. But we’ve got lots and lots of treats, including Vampires in the Temple--the best Mormon vampire book–or vampire book by Mormons, or book about vampires hanging around any iconic religious structure–ever written. Reviewed here by our friend Melissa Fox.

Melissa Fox has made time in her life for lots of “little” things: being the Children’s Outreach Coordinator at Watermark Books, working on her MLIS degree, helping out with the parent organizations (well, the drama department) at the high school, and being the co-blog editor for the Cybils Blogging Award. Even with all those small commitments, she still manages to find time to (kind-of, sort-of) blog at Book Nut. She’s often surprised that she’s been doing this whole blogging thing since 2004. And since there’s not enough going on in her life, she’s also the wife of an absent-minded professor and mother to four daughters (though she’s down to only two living at home!).  [Read more…]

God in the Dark

Editor’s Note: This post is by Keira Shae, the author of the remarkable memoir How the Light Gets In, published by BCC Press last July. This week, How the Light Get In is on sale for 40% off–a mere $7.00, on Amazon. And the Kindle version is only $2.99, which is basically free.

 

I like a look of agony,
Because I know it’s true;
Men do not sham convulsion,
Nor simulate a throe.
–Emily Dickinson

 

Many people have told me that my memoir How the Light Gets In, published by BCC Press in July, is not a very happy book. They are correct. It is not a very happy book because it describes a not-very-happy part of my life. It deals with real issues that I faced when I was growing up in Provo–things like: drugs, prostitution, sexual abuse, and profound poverty. There was nothing happy about any of it.

I know, of course, that unhappy stories make people uncomfortable. We prefer that even our most troubling narratives end on an uplifting note, in which our beleaguered heroine overcomes all of the obstacles to her happiness, is made stronger by adversity, and marries a handsome prince. I could have written the story that way, but it would not have been the truth. Except for the handsome prince part. (As my readers know, I really did marry one of those).

But I can’t say that my journey ended with perfect happiness and unshakable faith–because it hasn’t ended yet. I’m still on the road, and it’s a better road than I started on, but it still has plenty of bumps and blind spots. Happiness, when it comes, is far from perfect. And my faith is still tenuous and confused–I make my way stumbling. I still spend a lot of my time walking in the dark. [Read more…]

How the Light Gets In: The Playlist

One of BCC Press’s most recent publications is also one of the coolest things we have ever published: Keira Shae’s How the Light Gets In. This is the true story of a Daughter of Provo growing up on the meanest streets of the nicest city on earth. Those who went to BYU and experienced “Happy Provo” probably had no idea of their city’s dark side of drugs, prostitution, abuse, and neglect. But Keira lived it every day, and she writes about it with a rare gift for pulling moments of grace from the fragments of her early life. Folks, it is really, really good.

 

And in a time-honored tradition, following in the footsteps of Tracy McKay’s The Burning Point (also one of the coolest things we have ever published), we are proud to present How the Light Gets In: The Playlist.

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Prostitutes, Vampires, and Mormons—Oh My

   

Since 1847, July 24 has meant one thing to Mormons across the globe: Pioneer Day, the anniversary of the arrival of Brigham Young and the Mormon pioneers to their future home in the Salt Lake Valley, where they would eventually set up an International Church, a great university, fry sauce, and a universal WiFi password.

All of this is important, of course. But, since 2017, July 24 has been a REALLY important holiday: the day that BCC Press releases its newest crop of amazing books. This year, we are proud to bring you two remarkable books by two modern-day pioneers in every sense of the word that does not involve pushing handcarts and eating roots. Or sleeping on the ground. Or malaria.

But in lots of senses of the word, the two women whose works we unveil today are pioneers. And when you read their stories, you will know why. [Read more…]

Dear American Taxpayers, Thank You for Saving My Life

 

Keira Shae wrote this letter in November of 2011 as part of a class assignment for a course at Utah Valley University. It was published in the Daily Herald a few months later and reprinted in several other newspapers across the country. It is reprinted as an appendix to Keira’s new book How the Light Gets In, which will be published by BCC Press on July 24. Among the comments the letter received when it was first published were “I’m not accepting your thanks because I was taxed, I did not not willingly give. I wouldn’t have really supported you.” And “a dead child is better than a welfare child.” We believe that our BCC Readers will do much better in the comments section, and we offer it to you as our gift to you on this Fourth of July.

 

cover-light_gets_in-6x9in-frontDear American Taxpayers,

My name is Keira, and I am twenty-three years old.  I am the daughter of an uneducated, meth-addicted prostitute who was the single mother of six children.  Since 1987, you have supported me as you paid your taxes. You are the sole reason I am alive today. I am writing to thank you for it. I hope this message gets to you. [Read more…]

Announcing God’s Tender Mercies by David Dollahite

GTMAs you all know, we here at BCC Press are committed to serving up the best long-form content available in the Mormon world, and today, we are proud to prove it once again with our newest release, David C. Dollahite’s wonderful conversion memoir, God’s Tender Mercies: Sacred Experiences of a Mormon Convert.

If you don’t know David, you definitely should. He is a Professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University and the author or co-author of six other books, including Deseret Book’s Successful Marriages and Families in 2012 and the textbook Religion and Families, published by Routledge in 2016. In God’s Tender Mercies, he tells the story of his own conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, his mission, his marriage, and his international work as a scholar of family life. [Read more…]

On Loaves and Fishes

Editors Note: On July 24, BCC Press will publish How the Light Gets In by Keira Shae. This memoir is the story of a girl growing up in a poor, non-Mormon family in Provo, Utah and encountering abuse, drugs, prostitution, family separation, and profound poverty in the shadow of the Temple and the LDS Church’s flagship university. She eventually converted to the Church after experiencing kindness from an LDS foster family as a teen. Here is a small taste of what you will encounter in this wonderful, terrifying, and ultimately transcendent true story.

 

cover-light_gets_in-6x9in-frontI don’t know when I first heard the proverb about teaching a man how to fish and feeding him for a lifetime. But I’m sure it came from my Mormon neighbors when I was growing up in Utah Valley. My family was not Mormon, and we were very poor. And, in the both the metaphorical sense and the literal sense, none of us had the slightest idea what to do with a fish.

When my mother moved to Provo, she was a thrice-divorced high-school drop out with five small children. Most of our neighbors were LDS and seemed wary of us. Our non-Mormon neighbors were often absent, private, or avoidant.

When we were truly desperate–and we often were–we would seek out help beyond government assistance, which included churches. Most often, it was the LDS church. We discovered quickly that there was no church soup kitchen, no non-perishables stored at individual meetinghouses, no instant help if we were desperate. In those times, my siblings and I would wander the neighborhood begging for a spare can of peas or a can of tuna, and then mix it together over the heating element and eat it out of the pot. [Read more…]

Announcing: The Little Purple Book

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By Common Consent Press is proud to announce our newest offering. We have teamed up with the team at Mormon Women for Ethical Government to publish The Little Purple Book-a collection of founding documents, core principles, and devotional readings that define a remarkable organization that is only a year old and has already had a huge impact on our  national and ecclesiastical conversations. [Read more…]

Introducing Heidi Naylor’s Revolver (and also Happy Birthday to Us)

Cover design by the amazing D Christian Harrison

BCC Press is now one year old. On April 6, 2017, we published our first book, Steven Peck’s magnificent treatise Science the Key to Theology. Since then, we have published seven books and one translation, won awards, changed lives, and brought excellent books into the world. And there is more on its way.

In the coming twelve months, we will bring you exceptional memoirs by David Dollahite, Roger Terry, Keira Sloan Scholz, and Angela Liscom Clayton; Zina Nibley Petersen’s indescribably beautiful (k)Not about Love; Steven Peck’s new novel about climate change, King Lear, and killer robots; The Book of Abish, Mette Harrison’s sequel to The Book of Laman. And, also by Mette, an incredible new book about Vampires in the Temple. Yes, we’re going there. Vampires. In. The. Temple. And coming very soon, we will bring you the Little Purple Book of Mormon Women for Ethical Government. And so much more. [Read more…]

Half Off BCC Press Award Nominees

Award season is now upon us, and BCC Press could not be prouder that, before we even reach our first birthday, four of our titles have been nominated for major awards in Mormon literarydom. And to show how proud we are–and also how awesome these books are–we will be offering our four nominees for half price all week. That’s right: four great books at four great prices. Because we love you.

Here are the nominees with all the links you need to take advantage of this awesome deal:

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Valentine’s Day Surprise

Look, it might be the first day of Lent, but it’s also Valentine’s Day. How do you make sackcloth sexy? HAVE WE GOT THE BOOK FOR YOU. Today only as a Valentine’s Day present, Adam Miller’s excellent treatment of the Song of Solomon is HALF PRICE, and the Kindle version is only 99 cents. Tonight is the night to get Biblical.

On Translation

Rachel Hunt Steenblik is a scholar and author, most recently of Mother’s Milk: Poems in Search of Heavenly Mother. The French translation of Mother’s Milk, “Lait maternel : poèmes à la recherche de la Mère Céleste” is now available. It is the first non-English language version of a BCC Press book, and joins the very rare group of LDS fiction available in a language other than English. Thank you to Amanda Rafidiarimanda for her exquisite, stunningly beautiful translation. She has carried over the powerful spirit of Rachel’s work. We’re very, very proud of the result.

I. On the first day of August, I tweeted an Amazon review for my Mother’s Milk book that said: “I have steeped myself in these tiny poems for several days. I am ready to buy my second copy, because I’m giving away my first. I’ll probably give away my second too.” I shared that the book I do this with is The Little Prince, and that I was humbled, and honored, and grateful that someone was doing it with mine. Someone else responded that, “When the first non-English Mother’s Milk is released, then we can have the full-on Le Petit Prince gifting experience.” [Read more…]

Myths and Heroes and Lawless Women

Vashti, one of the characters in the book

Heather Harris Bergevin is the author of Lawless Women, the latest book from BCC Press. We asked her to share some thoughts about where her book of poems comes from, and where she hopes it will take us.

I love mythology. My favorite stories as a child were always fairy tales, like the Oz Books or the Hobbit, and Greek or Egyptian legends. The more I read, the more mythology seemed to be just bit of history told in a way that people might actually want to learn it. Non-boring history plus telling stories over campfires, equals absolute magic. Heroics are tricky and fraught with misinterpretation. Often, a hero might get mistaken for a villain, or vice versa. The dragon, after all, is not telling the same stories to its children as the knight.

The trick is, we don’t expect our heroes to be perfect, because they’re far more identifiable if they are almost as flawed as we are. Trickster gods, such as Loki and Ananzi, are sneaky and hurtful and mischievous…and we adore them, laugh over their exploits, and dress up as them for conventions. We love our villains almost as much as our superheroes.

We love them, because we are them. [Read more…]

Announcing “Lawless Women” by Heather Harris Bergevin

At BCC Press, we are all about breaking rules. And maybe the biggest rule in contemporary publishing  is “nobody reads serious poetry.” We say pshaw! As we found out with our blockbuster international bestseller Mother’s Milk, just about everybody reads serious poetry if it is also REALLY FREAKING GOOD. And just to prove it, we are doing it again.

Lawless Women, Heather Harris Bergevin’s new book, is probably not like any book of poetry you have ever read. It’s better—deeper, funnier, wiser, and, well, cooler. It does things. Lots of things. And you need to read it. [Read more…]

“The Sun Has Burned My Skin” Is Now on Kindle–and Cheap

TSHBMS Front Cover FINAL

BCC Press is proud to announce that our most recent phenomenal book, Adam Miller’s The Sun Has Burned My Skin: A Modest Paraphrase of the Song of Solomon is now a phenomenal Kindle book. And TODAY ONLY, we are selling it for the ridiculous price of 99 cents–which, as we all know, is the new “free.” And if you have already purchased a hard copy of the book, you can now get it for the actual price of the old free. Download it now, and nobody will know what you are reading in church tomorrow.

BCC Press Announces a New Book by Adam Miller–And So Much More

Happy Thanksgiving. And, more specifically, happy day-after-Thanksgiving. Now that you have given thanks for all the stuff you have, it is time to start wanting a whole bunch of new stuff that you can give thanks for next year. And if you happen to love some people, it is time to buy some stuff to give them for the Holidays.

By “Holidays,” of course, we mean whatever end-of-the-year religious or secular celebration fills you with glee. And by “stuff,” we mean books.

And the first book that you should buy for everybody on your  list is the newest installment in Adam S. Miller’s scriptural paraphrase series: The Sun Has Burned My Skin: A Modest Paraphrase of Solomon’s Song of Songs[Read more…]

Announcing “Mother’s Milk” for Kindle―and So Much More

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You asked for it, and we heard you. At BCC Press, it’s just what what we do. As of today, Mother’s Milk, the remarkable book of poems about Heavenly Mother written by Rachel Hunt Steenblik and illustrated by Ashley Mae Hoiland, is available for the Kindle. And for the next four days, you can get it for $3.95, which, let’s face it, is the new free.

If you haven’t seen what people are already saying about Mother’s Milk, check out the buzz: [Read more…]