Announcing Grace Awards 2016 Judges





Grace Awards

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

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

Fay Lamb Fay Lamb [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge] writes emotionally charged stories that remind the reader that God is always in the details. Three of the four books in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series, are available: Stalking Willow, Better than Revenge, and Everybody’s Broken. Hope is the third book in The Ties that Bind Series, which also includes Charisse and Libby. Fay’s adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast. Future releases from Fay will be: Frozen Notes, Book 4 of the Amazing Grace series, and Delilah, Book 4 from The Ties that Bind. Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page  Amazon author page.

Debra E Marvin Debra E. Marvin is a member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She’s one of the founders of Inkwell Inspirations Blog, and is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, and has a mystery coming out in 2017 from Journey Fiction.  Her unpublished successes included contest finals in The Fab Five, The Maggie Awards, the TARA, Great Expectations, Heart of the Rockies, twice in the Daphne DuMaurier, and the overall winner of the Phoenix Rattler. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University in upstate NY, and enjoys her family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends. Website  Amazon Author Page

Onisha Ellis




Onisha Ellis fell in love with reading in the second grade. Her favorite books were biographies written about the childhood of famous leaders and explorers. She believes that is why she prefers to read character driven novels and is especially excited to be judging women’s fiction/general fiction. When she is not reading she is a blogger for Old Things R New.

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

Betty Thomason Owens Betty Thomason Owens [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge]is a multi-published author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of their Louisville Area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. Her writing credits include a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy (2014), and Carlotta’s Legacy (2016) Books 1 & 2, Legacy Series, along with the Grace-Award-winning Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer Series (2015) through Write Integrity Press. She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM.  Amazon Author Page

cuffe sisters



Sadie & Sophie Cuffe have written four novellas and eight novels, the latest, Blind Man’s Bluff, from Five Star Publishing in January 2017. In addition to freelance writing, the Cuffe sisters run a small farm in downeast Maine’s Unorganized Territory. They bring Jane-of-all-trades life experiences to their work, and believe God gave them this background to write squarely to the heart of real women who don’t always wear a size two, and who prefer boots and flannel to high heels and the little black dress. They believe with God anything is possible; and that some of the best stories aren’t hatched in creative writing class, they’re composed on the seat of a tractor. Facebook author page  Amazon author page


Jenna Victoria Jenna Victoria has yet to taste a cake she doesn’t like…a family thing…since her grandfather co-created Twinkies, Snowballs  and Hostess cupcakes for Intercontinental Baking Company, circa 1955. She writes sweet & compelling romances, and also “fiction that feeds your faith” romance with Forget Me Not Romances. She has had two novellas published: War of the Heart (a faith-based time slip romance set in WWII & current day London) and Love Among the Lilacs, a sweet contemporary romance set in New York. She will have four more titles out in 2017. It is her glad purpose to glorify God and His sacrificial love through His Son, Jesus Christ through books that illustrate hope & peace in unbearable situations. Her first triple negative breast cancer diagnosis in 2012 has led to surgeries, radiation, reoccurrences and incurable metastasis. Still, Jenna continues to praise God and trust His oversight in her life; and continues to write more books.  Amazon Author Page


Tammy Doherty Tammy Doherty [Grace Awards Board Member and Lead Judge] is the author of several Christian/Inspy novels. Her first two are historical romances with a Western flair, the third is also historical/Western romance with a strong suspense plot. She now writes contemporary romantic suspense. The first of the Mystique of Naultag series, SHE’S MINE, was a 2014 Grace Awards finalist. In addition to being a founding member and lead judge for Grace Awards, Tammy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Ms. Doherty lives on a small farm in central New England with her husband and two children. When not writing, she enjoys reading and horseback riding.  Amazon Author Page

Peggy Phifer



Peggy Blann Phifer retired from an executive assistant position after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale industry in Las Vegas, Nevada. She came to writing later in life when a prayer she wrote appeared in 2000, in a two-volume Guideposts Book compilation, ‘Prayers for Every Need.’ Her indie-published debut novel, ‘To See the Sun,’ released in January 2012. Since then, her writing has appeared in a number of anthology series’ in 2013-15, and she is now writing a series of her own called ‘Sweetwater River.’ Peg’s second novel, ‘Somehow, Christmas Will Come,’ originally released in November 2014, has been redesigned and was re-released in December 2015.Widowed in October 2012, Peg now makes her home in NW Wisconsin near her three children, six grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), loves writing, reading, crochet, needlepoint, and coloring in an adult coloring book of Mandala patterns. Follow her blog Whispers in Purple Amazon Author Page

carol-mcclain Carol McClain is an author of three novels. DWF: Divorced White Female and Waters of Separation were both Grace Award Finalists. Her newest novel, The Poison We Drink, released in December, explores the need to forgive the unforgivable. She and her husband are transplants from northeastern New York and now live in Tennessee.  Amazon Author Page

SPECULATIVE FICTION: science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.

Tracy Krauss



Tracy Krauss [Grace Awards Board Member and Lead Judge] is a multi-published novelist, playwright, and artist with several award-winning and Amazon best-selling novels, novellas, stage plays, and devotionals in print as well as one illustrated children’s book. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the U of Sask. and teaches secondary school Art, English and Drama. She and her husband, an ordained pastor, have four grown children, one granddaughter, and have lived in many remote and interesting places in Canada’s far north. They currently reside in Tumbler Ridge, B.C. where Tracy continues to teach, direct, write and pursue all of her creative interests. Author Website  Amazon Author Page

Linda Wood Rondeau  Linda Wood Rondeau was the winner of the 2012 Selah Award for debut novel and a Carol Award finalist. She is also a Selah finalist for 2017 for women’s fiction. She writes to demonstrate our worst past, surrendered to God becomes our best future. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Hagerstown, MD. She enjoys golf, hiking, and spending time with her family. An editor for Elk Lake Publishing, she is a member of ACFW and has taught several on-line courses and has been a presenter at several writer workshops.  Amazon Author Page

Steve Mathisen Steve Mathisen, his wife, Carol, and their cat Norman, live in Aberdeen, WA, just a short drive from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. He is a writer, copyeditor, and proofreader. He has a degree in geography from the University of Washington but has spent most of the last twenty-five years testing software and producing technical documentation. He has served as a judge for several other contests and enjoys reading new works by talented authors.

ACTION-ADVENTURE/WESTERN/ EPIC FICTION: exploits, quest, daring, expansive

Naomi Musch Naomi Musch [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge] loves a great story, whether historical or contemporary. She writes from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where lives with her husband and family as epically as God allows. She has worked as an editor, as a staff writer for an EPA award-winning Christian newspaper, and has published dozens of magazine and internet articles for the encouragement of homeschooling families and young writers. Naomi currently serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Writers’ Association. She loves engaging with others and always discovering kernels of a new story. She is available for speaking and book groups. Her ninth novel, The Deepest Sigh will release from Desert Breeze Publishing in August 2017.  Amazon Author Page

Marcy Dyer Marcy G. Dyer is a suspense writer with her second series coming out this summer. Her current books, Down & Out; Out for Blood; Blood & Lies; and Lies Y Alibis are available in electronic format and paperback.  Dark Days: Book One Contagion releases July 11, 2017. She is a member of American Fiction Christian Writers, Sisters in Crime, and the Permian Basin Bookies. In addition to these organizations, Marcy is a member of several critique groups.  Amazon Author Page

Barbara Brink Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author, wife of one long-suffering husband, mother to two adult children, walker to one very spoiled mutt, lover of funny baby goat videos, and black licorice connoisseur. She grew up on a small fruit farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to take her motorcycle for a spin, hang out with friends, or catch up on the latest movies. She is the author of the best-selling Fredrickson Winery Novels: Entangled, Crushed, and Savor; a young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy: Chosen, Shunned, and Reckoning; and an inspirational suspense series, Second Chances: Running Home, and Alias Raven Black. Her speculative/thriller, Split Sense, won the 2012 Grace Award. She is now working on a third book in her Double Barrel Mysteries series. Roadkill and Much Ado About Murder, are available now.  Amazon Author Page

YOUNG ADULT (YA): includes Middle Grade and New Adult (NA)

Moi 3 Nike Chillemi [Chair and Founder of Grace Awards, Lead Judge], likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better. Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in her Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes trilogy, HARMFUL INTENT, won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network.  Crime Fictionista blog  Amazon Author Page

Rebekah Lynn Rebekah Lyn is a sandal-loving native Floridian, who grew up in Titusville, Florida, within sight of the Kennedy Space Center. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books. Rebekah writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. One Summer Storms reviewer said, “Something about this authorʼs writing style reminds me of Debbie Macomberʼs Cedar Cove series.” She has published six novels, one of which, Jessie, is a previous Grace Award winner and winner of the Patrick D. Smith Literary Award. Her next novel is a follow-up to Jessie, which will be released later this year. Website  Amazon Author Page

Ruth O'Neil Ruth O’Neil was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Houghton College. She has been a freelance writer/editor for more than twenty years. She has published hundreds of articles in dozens of publications as well as publishing a few books. She has spent the last few years working in publishing, working closely with writers editing their books and preparing them for print. Teaching Writer’s Forums to help want-to-be authors break into print with either freelancing or book publishing has been one of her passions. A couple of years ago she began teaching writing classes at a local homeschool co-op. Here she now teaches younger writers to develop their own freelancing career, write their own novel, or create their own picture book. Teaching the next generation of writers is probably the most fun she’s ever had! You can visit her at or on her website at  Amazon Author Page