December 31st Kicks Off Reader Nominations For Grace Awards 2013 Finalists

Grace Awards Logo

The fourth annual Grace Awards is thrilled to announce that reader nominations for Finalists will commence on December 31, 2013 at midnight and ends February 28, 2013.

Wow! It’s a New Year’s Eve cyber voting party! Join in the fun!

The Grace Awards is reader driven. That means in the first round readers nominate their favorite novels which results in chosing ”Finalists” in six literary categories.

WHO CAN VOTE FOR NOVELS:

Individuals (not organizations). Readers who maintain a networking page (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, ShoutLife, Linkedin, Ning sites, etc.) created before November 1, 2013. We check each link verifying activity to see if there’s a real person there.

Books, Reading

Readers can only vote for ONE novel in each category.

Authors are also readers and can vote, but not for their own novel(s). DON’T vote against yourself, simply vote in the other genre categories for novels you deem worthy.

Editors, publishers, agents can vote, but not for a book they authored or co-authored. 

Board members and judges can vote, but not for their own novel(s).

TYPES OF NOVELS READERS MAY CONSIDER: Traditional Christian, Inspirational, realistic and/or gritty Christian and edgy Christian, stories from a Christian worldview, redemptive themed, biblical, messianic, catholic, faith-based, values imbued, grace and forgiveness oriented, marriage and family friendly, depicting Christian lifestyle (can be struggling with it), spiritually and emotionally healing, mystical and mythic fiction.

TYPES OF NOVELS READERS MAY CONSIDER: Traditional Christian, Inspirational, realistic and/or gritty Christian and edgy Christian, stories from a Christian worldview, redemptive themed, biblical, messianic, catholic, faith-based, values imbued, grace and forgiveness oriented, marriage and family friendly, depicting Christian lifestyle (can be struggling with it), spiritually and emotionally healing, mystical and mythic fiction.

Books, a stack

CRITERIA FOR NOVELS:

Original novels presenting a Christian worldview written in English, published in hard cover, trade paperback, or in Ebook format.

Traditional publishers, Small press, Indie publishers, self-published works. To us, Pbooks and Ebooks all compete on the same level playing field.

The novel must have been released between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.

Most of all, the novel must reach the highest of literary standards and add something of value to Christian, inspirational, faith and values based fiction, and to the world at large.

BOOK CATEGORIES:

General Fiction/Women’s Fiction  –  serious women’s and men’s issues, can have humor and/or suspense elements

Contemporary Romance/Historic Romance — the primary element is love/marriage, then or now

Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historic Suspense — crime fiction, there’s probably a body

Speculative — sci-fi, fantasy, horror, etc

Action/Adventure, Western, Historic Epic Fiction — exploits, quest, daring, expansive

Young Adult (YA) — appeals to ages 12 – 22-ish

**Note: submit Urban Fiction into the category where it best fits (ie, Women’s Fiction, Young Adult, etc.)

Books,  Reading 5

READER VOTING SUGGESTIONS:

1. Was the novel well written? Did the author use language correctly? Did it make sense?

2. Was the plotline logical? Did any plot turns surprise you? In a good way, as in what a surprise but this really works — or in a bad way, as in “Yikes” this doesn’t work at all?

3. Did the characters feel like living people? Could you identify with the characters and their situations in the novel? Were the scenes plausible?

4. How about pacing? Did you ever get bored?

5. Was the novel true to its setting: time, place?

6. Was the novel entertaining? Did it uplift, send you on an emotional roller coaster, have you on the edge of your seat, tickle your funny bone (depending on the category)?

8. Did the novel engage your Christian walk in a meaningful way? Did it depict Christian life in a plausible manner (in some genres, this would be symbolic)?  Do you think the work adds something of literary value?

New Year

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OUT FOR BLOOD by Marcy Dyer ~ a ‘thrilling’ read at Christmas

What better time for a good suspense novel than on a cold winter day? Out for Blood isn’t a Christmas story, in fact it’s set in the middle of summer, but it is about loss, anger, separation from God, and restoration, so it would be an uplifting and engaging story to give to a loved one this season.

Out For Blood 2

Dialysis nurse, Danielle Battershawn’s, life is turned upside down when her identical twin is murdered. As she strives to deal with yet another death, the killer sets his sights on eliminating her. Can handsome security consultant, Tyler Covington, keep her alive?

Excerpt:

Under the cloak of darkness, the man donned latex gloves. He picked the lock on the back door to Janine’s house and tiptoed over the threshold. The soft fragrance of her perfume permeated the air. Such a shame. Inquisitive mongrel. They could’ve shared an exciting time together, but she had to play buttinski and stick her beak into his business, cutting short their love affair. Anger threatened to engulf him, but he shook it off and turned his attention to his search.

In the living room, he pulled books off the shelves, thumbed through them, and overturned the bookcases. He slashed furniture cushions and dug through the foam, then ripped up the corners of the carpeting. As small as the drive was, the witch could’ve hidden it anywhere. He pulled her antique glassware off the fireplace and broke them open. Empty.

After he pulled pictures off the walls and slashed open the backs, he moved on to the air vents. He unscrewed each one, stuck his hand inside the duct, and felt around.

Cursing, the man moved from room to room, dumping out contents of cabinets, drawers, the dresser, and desk. He turned over the furniture and checked the backsides and underneath.

In the bathroom, he checked under the cabinets and behind the mirror. Where did the conniving broad hide the flash drive? He slashed her bed to ribbons, dug through the stuffing, and pulled out handfuls of the cotton batting, but found nothing.

He slammed his fist through the drywall. “Stupid witch.” He composed himself and explored the entire house once again.

Slipping out the front door, he removed his latex gloves and stuffed them in his pocket. As he wove through the sprawling subdivision, he hummed the tune to “Death’s Head.”

Knowing Janine, she gave it to her sister for preservation. He would search Dani’s house and, after he had the drive, he’d dispose of her. Doing away with both of the meddlesome twins would solve two problems for him. He allowed himself a smile at the thought of carousing with Dani before he got rid of her.

Xmas, Angel

Not many would suspect, but our little Christmas angel, Gracie, loves a thriller-diller of a mystery novel. So, she was very excited about interviewing Marcy who writes suspense on virtually every page.

Gracie:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who performs that song?

Marcy:  Wow, this is a really difficult question to answer. I love Christmas carols and am constantly finding new artists that I just love. I spend a tremendous amount of time driving so as soon as XM Radio starts playing Christmas music, I flip between Country Christmas, Holly, and Holiday Traditions. One of my new favorites is Little Drummer Boy performed by Pentatonix. A friend sent me the YouTube link for this acapella version. The singers were incredible.

Gracie:   Are your Christmas decorations traditional, or do they have a more modern flare. Perhaps they’re eclectic? Do you have a particular theme? Or does each and every ornament and decoration have a personal meaning to you?

Marcy:  I’m probably what you would call eclectic. My ornaments and decorations have a meaning to me, though to the casual observer, it looks like an odd mix. I have a beautiful ceramic nativity scene that my mother made for her mother. When my grandmother passed away, Mom took the set and displayed it every year. When Mom passed away, I took it. Now this beautiful nativity scene reminds me of them.

Gracie:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory.

Marcy Dyer 2

Marcy:  Christmas Eve 1997 I drove to my boyfriend’s house to pick him up for the Christmas Eve church service, then we would go to my mom’s house for a Christmas Eve celebration with family. Dennis and I had been dating for many years, but we were both divorced and a little skittish about the thought of marriage. While we were standing in his kitchen talking for a few minutes, he hugged me and said something about getting married. I cracked a joke. He took my hands and said, “Marcy, I’m serious.” We were married the next Valentine’s Day.

Purchase Links:

Amazon/Kindlle:   http://amzn.to/1fsYb8m

Barnes & Noble/Nook:  http://bit.ly/1dsDxAy

Nativity 2

CLADDAUGH by Tammy Doherty ~ a story that engages Christmas memories

CladdaughMore than any other time of year, Christmas is a time to be with family and friends.

 

But Leigh Latham Parker turned her back on her family and friends when she married, choosing money over love. When her dream turns to nightmare, she runs back to the only man she ever truly trusted. Can Rory forgive her? Does she have any right to ask him? Marshal Rory Johnston thought he was over Leigh. Now he isn’t so sure they can be just friends. She’s hiding something, running from someone. How can he protect her and his heart at the same time?

 

Xmas, Angel

 

 

Gracie, our Christmas angel, loves Christmas memories. She can’t wait to interview Tammy.

Gracie:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory.

Tammy:   In CLADDAUGH, Leigh asks her housekeeper about fond Christmas memories. Dour, negative Letitia warms slightly as she recalls, “Mother baked pies– fruit pies, meat pies, custard pies. Everyone loved her baking. Then we would have extra money and she would let my brother and I each buy a bit of candy. I had a different favorite for each holiday. For Christmas it was the peppermint sticks.”

For me, fond memories are packed with my grandmothers but for Christmas it’s my father’s mother who dominates the happy thoughts. After opening gifts at home we traveled the 2-hours to Grandma’s & Grandpa’s to spend the day with a huge gathering of family. There were always at least 20 to 30 people in that house throughout the day. The Christmas tree was tall and nearly buried by gifts. Christmas stockings were about 3-feet long – everybody put in gifts, not just Santa. Anchoring the day was the meal. One of my fondest memories is my grandmother basting the turkey and shooing away anyone who tried to snitch a piece – she was not shy with using wooden spoons!

Gracie:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who performs that song?

Tammy:  I like most of the traditional Carols. What I LOVE the most, though, is Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s ‘Christmas Eve/Sarajevo’. It evokes strong emotions, seeming to bring every memory to mind with each note. It captures the splendor, wonder and bittersweet joy of this holiday. Yes, unto us a Savior was born but He came to save us from our sins which ultimately led to His death. Ironically, while ‘Mary Did You Know’ also fulfills this bittersweet concept, I can’t listen to it because it’s too much of a tear-jerker.

Gracie:  Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that film thrills you…makes you tear up?

Tammy Doherty

 

Tammy:  There are several I really like, one isn’t even a Christmas movie. For the “real deal,” I love It’s A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, and Miracle on 34th Street  (the original). They all capture the joy and wonder of the season, the selflessness first demonstrated by Jesus. As for the non-Christmas movie that I associate with this season? Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – it was always on each year in early December, or maybe it was Thanksgiving. In either case, my mind associates it with Christmas even when I now watch it with my kids in the middle of the summer.

 

 

CLADDAUGH Purchase Links:

Amazon  http://amzn.to/PFbUfC

Barnes & Noble http://ow.ly/rVhuh

Smashwords http://ow.ly/rVzAp

iTunes http://ow.ly/rVmSR

WALKS ALONE by Sandi Rog ~ an abundance of scenes knee deep in snow

Want to escape the holiday rush? Curl up with a good book and enjoy a hot cup of excitement and adventure on a cold snowy day? Walks Alone Amazon

WALKS ALONE opens on a crisp November morning aboard a ship arriving in America and carries us into a lonely Christmas that our heroine will never forget. As she admires the popcorn decorations on the tree, the clock above the mantle ticks the minutes by as her father’s life ebbs away.

Soon the reader is swept into an adventure when Anna flees an abusive uncle and is determined to reach the city of her dreams. But White Eagle and his fierce warriors take her prisoner. Anna attempts a harrowing escape, but her savage captor is determined to have her at all costs and forces her to be his wife. Has God forgotten her, or does He have plans of His own?

A man with a boot in one world and a moccasin in the other, White Eagle is disillusioned with his faith after a minister leads a massacre on his peaceful tribe. Where is his God? He’s definitely not with the white men who are slaughtering his people. But White Eagle also can’t give in to the idolatry practiced by his fellow tribesmen. Only the Truth can set him free. And it’s found in beautiful Anna’s carpetbag.

Xmas, Angel

 

Gracie, our intrepid Christmas angel, loves the wild west and had been chomping at the bit to interview the author of this exciting novel.

Gracie:    Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory.

Sandi:  My fondest Christmas memory was back in 2011. We thought it was going to be my last Christmas (at that time I’d been battling cancer for an entire year). By then, I desperately wanted fun and lights, not just for myself but mostly for our children. So, my husband (despite not having the money) went out and bought a gazillion lights and outdoor decorations to bedeck the house and lawn for Christmas. I, with the whole family, posed for a family picture in the cold in front of all the lights. That moment is one of my fondest memories, to know my husband would go to such lengths to make my last Christmas a happy one.

Gracie:  Ah, but it wasn’t your last, PTL. God had other plans, just sayin, girl friend…

Gracie:   Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that film thrills you…makes you tear up?

Sandi Rog

Sandi:  It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite Christmas movie. We watched it together last year in 2012, and both my husband and I felt like I got to experience this movie in real life. God used my getting sick and nearly losing my life to help me see my value to family and friends.

Gracie:   What foods can be expected on your holiday menu? Are you known for a particular Christmas delicacy or treat?

Sandi:  I’m going to attempt to make pumpkin pie for the first time from scratch. My sixteen year old says, I’m not going to “attempt to make pumpkin pie, I’m going to succeed” because she’s going to be here to help me, and she made it last year with her daddy. I’m looking forward to this endeavor!

Gracie:  Have you ever done something unusual or totally out of character for Christmas?

Sandi:   Before I got sick, we knew of a family that was suffering. One of the girls was a friend of my oldest daughter from school; she had four younger siblings. We packed together a bunch of presents for the kids and movie tickets for the parents, along with some goodies to eat, and we put them on their doorstep on Christmas morning. We rang the doorbell and ran! We hid around a corner and watched them collect the bag of gifts. That was probably the most fun and exciting Christmas we ever experienced.

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VICTORY by DeEtte Beckstead ~ fantasy in the winter

As we know all writers become an overnight success. Well, that’s “Bah, humbug.” DeEtte started writing in the 2007 NaNoWriMo challenge, as so many authors have. The outcome is this wonderful story called VICTORY.

Victory, Amazon

 

Victory, a town where the people love their country and their neighbors, but what happens when two visitors come to town? One comes with fear and control, slowly taking away the freedoms the people love. The other comes with faith. When darkness overtakes the small town who will have Victory? This is a struggle between good and evil and the victim could be a little girl.

 

Xmas, Angel

 

Gracie, our little Christmas angel, love a good winter fantasy story and she’s thrilled to be interviewing an author with such a love of family and a reverence for life.

 

Gracie:  Have you ever had to handle a significant loss during the holidays? How did you cope?

DeEtte:  My maternal grandmother died the day before my 15th birthday, on December 22. I was very close to her and the loss was great. My birthday was almost forgotten by all of us in our grief. That Christmas was a bittersweet one. We celebrated the birth of Jesus, as well as thinking about how much my grandmother loved each of us. Three years later, my mother died in November. That first Christmas without her was very difficult. I spent it with my older sister and her family.  It is still hard each year when my mother’s Christmas bell is hung on the tree, even after 43 years. However, I try to remember the good times with my mother and grandmother instead of dwelling on the sadness of not seeing them. I have the hope of being with them both in Heaven one day.

DeEtte Beckstead

Gracie:  Do you have a particular Christmas tradition? Perhaps something handed down from generation to generation?

DeEtte:  I am privileged to have the glass bell that was on my mother’s first Christmas tree in 1915. It has always had a place of honor on our tree, and even more since my mother died in 1970. Each year we place it gently and lovingly near the top of the tree. When my children were growing up, I told them that Grandma’s bell would remain on the tree as long as they got along, but if they fought, the bell would be removed until they proved they could be loving to each other. There was only one year I had to remove it at all. It was a beautiful reminder to them.

Gracie:  Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? What about that film thrills you…makes you tear up?

DeEtte: My favorite Christmas movie is “It’s a Wonderful Life.”  It reminds me that every life is important and how each life affects so many others.

VICTORY Purchase Links:

Amazon/Kindle   http://amzn.to/1cbg46o

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Courtesy of Stock.xchng

GOODBYE NOEL by Nike Chillemi ~ a Christmas/New Year whodunit

For some readers there’s nothing better than murder at Christmas with a detective slogging through snow drifts chasing after a killer. If that’s you, then check out GOODBYE NOEL, set in the mid-1940s on the south shore of Long Island. You’ll be mesmerized by the lingo, fashion, cars, and culture of the era.

Goodbye Noel, Amazon Lg

The first body is found under a trimmed Christmas tree, the second as they ring in the New Year (1947), the third goes head long out a window. Will a young pediatric nurse determined to make it on her own be able to care for an infant whose mother was murdered and escape the killer who has struck again? Can she trust the stalwart village detective with her life and her heart as he works to catch this killer before somebody else dies?

Pediatric nurse, Katrina Lenart, grew up strong willed and independent minded, while sharing her mother’s flair for high fashion. When the police chief gives her an orphaned baby to care for, her maternal instincts take over and she’s willing to fight anyone who might not have the infant’s best interests at heart, even the man she’s growing to love. After an attempt is made to kidnap the baby, she and the resolute village detective team up and do some sleuthing, undercover at a cult as well as at a fancy ball.

Detective Ian Daltry is a widower with a child and is not interested in a new love. Hunting a killer who stops at nothing has placed him in the position where he must protect a beautiful young woman he’s drawn to. Is there’s something he’s overlooked in analyzing the case? Will he find out what that is before this ruthless murderer kills someone he loves?

Xmas, Angel

Of course, Gracie, our little Christmas angel was around in the 1940s and particularly recalls the jolly merriment at Christmas in America then, and also the reverence. So, she’s interested in interviewing an author who writes about that time period and finding out what makes her tick.

Gracie:  Are you a Christmas fanatic…a real crazy? Or is your approach more down to earth and relaxed?

IMG_1330Nike:  Not a real crazy, but I’d say I’m determined. I do things a certain way every year. The outside lights go up first. My porch and the postage stamp front yard we have here in Gotham are done in burgundy-red with a lot of white lights. Both miniature lights and then huge bulbs on the small fir trees and bushes. Then I come inside and start on the interior which is all in traditional Christmas-red, green, white, with dashes of silver and gold. I do the staircase first, every year. Then the diningroom, the kitchen, the living room. I also put up a few decorations upstairs. The last thing to go up is the tree. My youngest is always after me to get the tree up early, but I won’t. When I was a child we put a live tree up on Christmas Eve and took it down after Epiphany. I put up a faux tree, but it still goes last, usually a few days before Christmas Eve. I have ornaments from my mom, my grandmother, one of my aunts, and my mother-in-law. The story of our family is told in all the decorations I put away every year, only to take out the next year.

Gracie:  Do you have a particular Christmas tradition? Perhaps something handed down from generation to generation?

Nike:  Both my husband’s family and mine always had a meatless meal on Christmas Eve. We continue that in our house. Since my husband is Italian-American, I have been making seafood and pasta for the last few years. Before that, I was serving perogis in a butter sauce with sour cream, which come from my Eastern European side of the family.

Gracie:  Have you ever done something unusual or totally out of character for Christmas? 

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Nike:  Well, I don’t know how unusual this is, but it’s a tradition that our immediate family started. This wasn’t handed down to us. Every year we drive to the big mall on Long Island, not so much to shop, but to catch a Christmas movie and have dinner at a nice restaurant. While we’re there we’ll pick a few odds and ends up at the mall if we have to get something, but that’s almost an after thought.

GOODBYE NOEL Purchase Links:

Amazon/Kindle.   http://amzn.to/12nzi3j 

Christianbooks.com  http://bit.ly/1dW5KVg

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PAINT ME ALTHENA by Naomi Musch ~ a going home story

It’s Christmas time once again and for many it’s a going home time of year. In Naomi’s newest book, PAINT ME ALTHENA, a young wife and mother living under an alias wonders if she can ever go home again. That’s what makes this novel perfect for Christmas reading and/or gifting. PAINT ME ALTHENA. It’s not about Christmas. It’s about going home.

Paint Me Althena

Ava Day hasn’t been home for three years, even though home, where her estranged husband Ethan and their two little girls live, is on just the other side of the city. Searching for the girl she once was, Ava starts a new life as Althena and moves in with Dan, a biker who doesn’t know her secrets. But as her alias world comes crashing down, Ava’s heart yearns for the life she abandoned. Can she ever go home again, or have both she and Ethan moved on too far?

Ethan has carried on the best he could since Ava ran away. He’s become a popular artist and found real faith with the help of lovely widow Jackie Meyer. Then, just when he’s given up on Ava ever returning, she stumbles into their lives desperate for rescue. Ethan’s prayed for her –Lord how he’s prayed. But after what she’s done, can he ever truly forgive her?  And what about Jackie? They’ve grown close, and she’s been like a real mother to his girls. Haven’t they endured enough?

Xmas, Angel

Gracie, our little Christmas angel has been looking forward to this interview for some time. First of all, she wants to thank Naomi (who is a Grace Awards board member, by-the-way) on behalf of the Grace Awards for running things at the GA Facebook page and handling the marketing thread. Thank you girlfriend!

Gracie:  What is your favorite Christmas carol and why? Do you have a favorite performing artist who performs that song?

Naomi:  Tough question, but I love The Little Drummer Boy. The reason stems back to when I was a little girl watching that old Christmas cartoon by the same title. I was so moved, even at a young age, by the amazing images of Christ born to earth in a stable. I felt like that little boy, awed at the sight and having my heart stirred. I have a string of renditions I enjoy listening to. My favorite is by Glen Campbell, secondly the version by 4Him, and this year I discovered the a cappella version by Pentatonix.

Gracie:  I  discovered Pentatonix this year and all the other angels claim I’m addicted to Youtube. Well, I never. Can you imagine?

Gracie:  Are you a Christmas fanatic…a real crazy? Or is your approach more down to earth and relaxed?

Naomi:  I am definitely not a Christmas fanatic in the commercial or even decorative sense. We are pretty low key around here. A tree, a few lights, and Christmas cookie baking is the extent of my preparation. The biggest deal to me is having our family home. Now that my kids are all grown and some are raising and starting families of their own, I’m happy to just have them all come home, everybody talking at once, telling stories, laughing until we cry, eating fudge, watching old movies, hugging and teasing each other. We’ve had our share of ups and downs like most families, and I’m certain tough times will come around as long as we live, but we have so much to be thankful for and are so blessed to have each other. I’m so grateful and praise God for everything he works in our lives, even the discipline we need occasionally.

Gracie:  Tell us about your fondest Christmas memory.

Naomi:  One of my favorite Christmas memories involves going to find a Christmas tree with my dad. We always hiked around the woods searching for a tree, and our family still does that now. We rarely find a perfect tree, but a wild one. The particular year I’m thinking of was when my dad took along his .22 rifle to hunt rabbits while we searched for a tree. I loved hunting with my dad. It was as exciting as getting the tree. Thing is, I don’t remember even seeing any rabbits that day, but it was still an adventure.

Naomi Musch, Plaid

Facebook: Naomi Musch – Author

Twitter: NMusch

Goodreads: Naomi Dawn Musch

Naomi’s site and blogs: http://www.naomimusch.com

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