Announcing Grace Awards Judges 2011

The Grace Awards is now going into its second year, having been extremely well received last year. This year we have a line up of stellar judges for our fiction categories.

 WOMEN’S FICTION: serious women’s issues, can have humor and suspense elements

Deborah Kinnard, Grace Awards Vice-Chair and lead judge in this category has enjoyed a career that has encompassed Spanish translation, volunteer work at a crisis line, years in assorted ERs that don’t resemble the ones on TV, and a day job at a big Chicago teaching hospital. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), serving as Midwest Zone Director. In 2002 and 2003 she sold her first and second novels, POWERLINE and OAKWOOD to Treble Heart Books. ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, ANGEL WITH A BACK HOE and DAMAGES are available from Desert Breeze.  ALOHA, MY LOVE, and POWERLINE, a reissue are available through Desert Breeze. SEASONS IN THE MIST was released by Sheaf House in April 2010 and was a Grace Awards 2011 Winner in Speculative Fiction.

Carol McClain is a multi-published author of non-fiction articles who also has two completed novels. She taught English for over thirty years and designed the AP English Language curriculum for her school. She created a local writers’ group, Foothills Ink and is a member of ACFW and the Adirondack Center for Writing. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and overactive Springer spaniel. You can read her blog at

Christine Lindsay  writes historical inspirational novels with strong love stories. She doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects such as the themes in her debut novel SHADOWED IN SILK which is set in India. SHADOWED IN SILK was the Gold winner of the 2009 ACFW Genesis for Historical.

The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home. It’s a special time in her life as she and her husband enjoy the empty nest, but also the noise and fun when the kids come home. Like a lot of writers, her cat is her chief editor.

ROMANCE/HISTORICAL ROMANCE: primary element is love/courtship/marriage, be it set now or then

Jessica R. Patch, lead judge in this category, lives in the mid-south where the heat rises much like her contemporary suspenseful romances. Her novels are relevant, provocative stories of inspiration. Readers will identify with characters that are flawed but redeemable. Jessica grew up in southern Illinois then attended Central Bible College where she met her husband, an ordained minister with Destiny Ministries. She is devoted to her local church, having served as a Biblical Studies teacher, Women’s Ministry Leader, Regional Women’s Representative, and volunteer co-pastor (with her husband) of the Young Adult Ministry. Jessica is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency. She is a member of ACFW and Byhalia Christian Writers Group (a chapter of American Christian Writers).       

As an author, book reviewer, literary judge and avid reader, Janalyn Voigt understands what makes a novel worth reading. Having identified her desire to write at a tender age, she taught herself in the craft of writing long before receiving formal training through Christian Writers Guild. Janalyn’s publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Her short story, “Flower of Life,” will release as part of THE BOOK OF SYLVARI: An Anthology of Elves (Port Yonder Press). Janalyn is currently working on an epic fantasy trilogy, TALES OF FAERAVEN, and a historical romance set during Montana’s gold rush. She is a member of ACFW & NCWA.

Rachel Wilder writes 19th century historical romance. Her passions are Russian and Southern history. A former head archivist at a plantation-turned-museum, she loves finding those small, oft-forgotten details that bring a historical novel to vivid life. She lives in central Louisiana with her family and half-crazed calico cat.


Tammy Doherty,  Grace Awards Vice-Chair and lead judge in this category is the author of three inspirational Western romances, CELTIC CROSS, CLADDAUGH, and CELTIC KNOT. Her current projects are contemporary romantic suspense, set in a small town in central Massachusetts eerily similar to her hometown. Tammy lives on a small farm with her husband of 25+ years and their two children. Besides writing, she also manages the family perennial farm and works in customer service for a veterinary supply distributor. She has been a first-round judge in numerous contests for unpublished romance novelists.

V. B. Tenery enjoyed a rewarding career as Director of Service for a national wholesale optical company before leaving to write full time. She has published two short stories, Adino in the Christian speculative fiction anthology, Light at the Edge of Darkness 2007, and The Magical Twenty in Cec Murphy’s anthology, Christmas Miracles, October 2009. Her novel, The Watchman was one of two speculative fiction finalists in the Novel Matter’s contest, September 2009.
Debra E. Marvin writes historical romantic suspense with dark twists and turns, only to show where Christ’s light can shine. She is published as a short-story author and is a member of ACFW and various historical writers’ groups as well as a contributing member at Inkwell Inspirations blog. A technician for a large university, Debra fills her free time with writing and being a granny, in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York state.

SPECULATIVE FICTION: science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.
Tracy Krauss, Grace Awards Vice-Chair and lead judge in this category is the author of edgy inspirational fiction, as well as an artist, playwright, director, worship leader, and teacher. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers on Ning. Originally from a small prairie town, she received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Saskatchewan with majors in English and History. She has lived in many unique locations in northern Canada with her husband, a pastor, and has raised four children. She currently lives in an area of British Columbia known for its waterfalls and spectacular mountain scenery.
April Gardner is the author of the best-selling romance novel with western themes, WOUNDED SPIRITS which was a Grace Awards 2010 winner in Action-Adventure/Western/Historic Epic Fiction. Librarian, reviewer, April adores anything books. She writes a weekly column for the joint blog Reflections in Hindsight, and is founder and senior editor of Clash of the Titles. She was a military brat, missionary kid, and military spouse. After 21 years in various countries overseas, April happily resides in Georgia with her USAF husband. In her free time, April enjoys reading, gardening, and DIY…in no particular order. She dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, ans speaking Italian.  
Randy Streu is what might generously be called a mediaphile. Having worked in local television, video production, corporate communication and (finally and currently) as a radio broadcaster, he is also the Senior Editor for Digital Dragon Magazine, the Founder, Administrator, and Content Editor of, and Co-Founder and Co-Director of a small publishing outfit called Diminished Media Group. He spends his non-working hours with his wife and four children in Northern New York, and occasionally manages enough time to write a story of his own.

Nike Chillemi, Grace Awards Founder and Chair and lead judge in this category, has been called a crime fictionista, as her passion is crime fiction. Her debut novel BURNING HEARTS came out in May, 2011 and the second in the Sanctuary Point series GOODBYE NOEL will release December 15, 2011 through Desert Breeze. She was a 2010 Inspy Awards judge, writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of ACFW serving as a small critique group leader and is a member of Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers where she has organized a blog tour and run a workshop. She received an AAS degree in Fashion Buying and Merchandising from FIT a BS in General Studies from St. Josephs College, NY, and worked in the bridal industry for many years.  
Krisi Keley is the author of ON the SOUL of a VAMPIRE, a speculative fiction novel that uses theology on the Incarnation, dual nature and the Trinitarian concept of marriage to explain the nature of vampires and how the creature has a significant link to the human soul.  She has a degree in theology from DeSales University and has also studied foreign and classical languages.  She’s presently working on book II and III of her trilogy.
Keven Newsome is a graduate student at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology specializing in Supernatural Theology. He writes stories that portray the Supernatural and Paranormal with an accurate Biblical perspective. He is the author of WINTER,  published by Splashdown Darkwater. He currently lives in New Orleans, LA with his wife and two children. Keven is also the founder and administrator of The New Author’s Fellowship and produces music and video through Newsome Creative.

YOUNG ADULT (YA): appeals to ages 14 – 21ish
Lisa Lickel, is the multi-talented author of the relevant and emotionally gripping romance novel MEANDER SCAR which was a Grace Awards 2011 winner in the Romance/Historical Romance category. She has authored the cozy mystery THE GOLD STANDARD, and women’s fiction novel HEALING GRACE. She has been a newspaper columnist and feature writer. She has had numerous magazine articles and short stories published in venues such as Writer’s Digest and Harpstring Magazine. She is also assistant editor and marketer with Port Yonder Press.
Diana Sharples is an award-winning, pre-published author and artist, and the co-founder of Pekazoid Prophets, an organization for writers of Christian fiction for children and young adults. Her contemporary YA novels are set in rural North Carolina. One of these, RUNNING LEAN, has been awarded first place in several contests for unpublished authors. She is currently working on a video project, called When Pigs Fly, combining her art and writing abilities. Diana lives in Georgia with her husband and daughter, and can often be found riding her Harley around the mountain roads.
Barbara Ellen Brink is a freelance writer and Indie author. She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dogs, Rugby & Willow.Her short stories and articles have been published in THEMA, The Springhill Review, Liguorian, and others. She is the author of “Entangled” & “Crushed,” the first two novels in a winery mystery series. Her Christian suspense/thriller, “Split Sense” will be released December 2011.
As many know, the Grace Awards is a reader driven awards. Reader voting will begin on December 31st. Information on how to vote for ones favorite author will be available toward the end of the year on this blog and on the Grace Awards Facebook pages.

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