Announcing Grace Awards 2017 Judges

Grace Awards


The Grace Awards is now going into its eighth year, having been extremely well received during the last seven 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] is an author, an acquisition editor, and a freelance editor. She also loves to teach workshops for fiction writers. The last novel, FROZEN NOTES, in her Amazing Grace romantic suspense series released in September. The series also includes STALKING WILLOW, BETTER THAN REVENGE, and EVERYBODY’S BROKEN. Fay’s popular The Ties that Bind romantic series includes CHARISE, LIBBY, and HOPE. Readers are anxiously awaiting the fourth novel in the series, DELILAH, which will be released in mid-2018. Her adventurous spirit has also taken her into the realm of non-fiction with THE ART OF CHARACTERIZATION: HOW TO USE THE ELEMENTS SOF STORYTELLING TO CONNECT READERS TO AN UNFORGETTABLE CAST. Fay’s third series contracted with Write Integrity Press is entitled Serenity Key, and the first novel, STORMS IN SERENITY, released in March, 2018. Fay loves to meet readers, especially on her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor  Amazon Author Page 

Debra E Marvin
Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She is published with WhiteFire Publishing, Forget Me Not Romances, Journey Fiction, and Barbour Publishing…and a judge for the Grace Awards for many years. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University, 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] has been writing for thirty years. She’s a multi-published, award-winning author of historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. An active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she leads a critique group, and serves as vice-president/secretary of the Louisville area group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and co-founder of the Inspired Prompt blog. She also serves on the planning committee of the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. Website: Love Is The Legacy  Amazon Author Page

cuffe sisters

Sadie & Sophie Cuffe began writing together back in the 90s, but have over 120 years of together life experiences, from raising Sophie’s two kids, to farming with goat kids, chickens, dogs and cats, to building barns and houses, snowshoeing, skiing, hiking, camping… you name it. They have several novels and novellas under their belts and are currently working on book 2 in the Candle Island Mystery series. 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. You can find them at the A Woman Like Me Bookclub on their Facebook author page where all their books are listed under the author app. They’re so modern! They love hearing from the sisterhood (and brotherhood, too, because they’re not snobs). Facebook author page  Amazon author page
 ada brownell
Ada Brownell is the sixth redhead in a family of achievers, Ada Nicholson Brownell writes with stick-to-your-soul encouragement from her Missouri home where she lives with her handsome husband. They have five children—not one of them with red hair or freckles. One is in heaven. Ada gained experience before becoming a writer and newspaper reporter. The youngest of her parent’s eight children, she was the family tattle tale! Her professional career started when she was age 15, when as a youth leader she wrote ideas for a leadership magazine. She expanded to articles for youth and then to full-length stories in Christian magazines and Sunday school papers. Her first news job was as a correspondent for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel—from Thompson, Utah, population 98. The author of eight books, she loves inspirational historical suspense. She’s in the middle of her latest plot against her leading characters in the third book in her PEACHES AND DREAMS series, LOVE’S DELICATE BLOSSOM. Plot is all about putting challenges and disaster into the lives of fictional characters, and it sometimes hurts her as well. She retired from her “real job” at The Pueblo Chieftain, but still writes occasional op-ed pieces for newspapers as well as devotions for a teen magazine, articles for Live, blogs and does other freelance writing.  Blog: Ink From An Earthen Vessel  Amazon Author Page



Tammy Doherty

Tammy Doherty [Grace Awards Board Member, 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.  Tammy Doherty Website  Amazon Author Page

Peggy Phifer

Author Peggy Blann Phifer, a retired executive assistant after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale Industry, lives in the ‘boonies’ of NW Wisconsin. A late bloomer, Peg didn’t start taking writing seriously until age fifty.Her debut novel, TO SEE THE SUN, a contemporary romantic suspense, released in January 2012. A second novel, SOMEHOW, CHRISTMAS WILL COME, contemporary women’s fiction with a touch of romance, released in November 2014, revised and re-released in late 2015. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, and she is currently working on an historical romantic suspense set during the years of Prohibition with a working title of WHISPERING HOPE. Peg is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Peg enjoys reading, blogging, and sharing her home with her daughter, son-in-law, and a Border Collie mix dog named Rocky. Website: Whispers in Purple  Amazon Author Page

Luana Ehrlich

Luana Ehrlich picked up her first adult spy novel when she was eleven years old. Today, as an award-winning author, minister’s wife, and former missionary, she continues to have a passion for spy thrillers and mystery novels. Luana and her husband have been residents of Norman, Oklahoma for the past twenty-five years, after having lived in the Midwestern part of the U.S. for many years. Along with her husband, she previously served as a missionary in Costa Rica and Venezuela. Luana began writing the Titus Ray Thriller Series when her husband retired from the senior pastor position of a large congregation. Now, she claims she writes from an undisclosed location, trying to avoid the torture of mundane housework, grocery shopping, and a retiree’s golf stories.  However, she occasionally comes out of hiding to visit with her two grandsons or to enjoy a Starbucks caramel macchiato. Occasionally, Luana reports on the experiences of newly converted Christians for Baptist Press, a national news service for Baptists. As a weekly columnist for The Indiana Baptist several years ago, she told the stories of ordinary people who became followers of Christ. Luana is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers.  Luana Ehrlich Website  Amazon Author Page

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

Tracy Kraus

Tracy Krauss [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge] is a multi-published novelist, playwright, and artist with several award winning and best selling novels, stage plays, devotionals and children’s books in print. Her work strikes a chord with those looking for thought provoking faith based fiction laced with romance, suspense and humor – no sugar added. She holds a B.Ed from the U of S and has lived in many remote and interesting places in Canada’s far north. She and her husband currently reside in beautiful BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests. TRACY KRAUSS, Fiction on the edge – without crossing the line 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 Washingechnical documentation. He has served as a judge for several other contests and enjoys reading new works by talented authors. Odd Sock Proofreading and Copyediting

Carole Brown

Carole Brown is a member and active participant of many writing groups, and she also enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?  Sunnybank Secrets Blog ~ Carol Brown  Amazon Author Page

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

Naomi Musch

Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Wisconsin Writers’ Association, and the Lake Superior Writers. Though she has written in a variety of venues, her great love is fiction. THE DEEPEST SIGH is her eighth novel, while its sequel THE SOFTEST BREATH releases in May 2018. Her tenth novel MIST O’ER THE VOYAGEUR will release in October 2018. Naomi loves engaging with others and always discovering kernels of a new story.  Naomi Musch Website  Amazon Author Page

Marcy Dyer

Marcy G. Dyer is a retired Registered Nurse and Amazon best-selling author. Like so many other writers, she began writing at a very young age, but never took herself seriously as a “real” writer until about ten years ago when she began taking courses and learning the craft of writing. She currently has four novels from the Desert Winds Series available: Down & Out, Out for Blood, Blood & Lies. Lies & Alibis. The first book in the Dark Days Series: Contagion is available. The second book in the series, Inquisition will release March 3. Marcy is an alumnus of the Christian Writer’s Guild and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She hosts a small critique group for ACFW and is involved in other critique groups. She is active in the nonprofit group, Doxa Kids which provides an outreach for children in Kherson, Ukraine, and Nakuru, Kenya. She’s had the pleasure of visiting Ukraine twice and interacting with street children there. God burdened her heart for these forgotten children when she climbed into the sewer tunnels to see where the street children live during the winter.Marcy also hosts a blog, Gimpy Gal, that discusses autoimmune diseases. While many autoimmune diseases aren’t visible, they still cause chronic pain and disability. Marcy G. Dyer ~ Roller Coaster Suspense  Amazon Author Page

Barbara E BrinkBarbara Ellen Brink is an award-winning author who writes action-packed mysteries brimming with suspense and interwoven with a thread of romance. She grew up on a small fruit farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota. In her spare time, she likes to take her motorcycle for a spin, hang out with friends, or go hiking with her husband and their spoiled dog. She is currently working on the 3rd book in her Christian romantic suspense series, SECOND CHANCES, and the 4th book in her DOUBLE BARREL MYSTERIES series.  Barbara Ellen Brink Website   Amazon Author Page

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

Moi Ponte Vedre Library

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 its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 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.   Nike N. Chillemi~Mystery & a Merry Heart    Amazon Author Page

Ruth O'Neil

Ruth O’Neil has been a freelance writer for more than 20 years, publishing hundreds of articles in dozens of publications as well as a few books. When she’s not writing or homeschooling, she spends her spare time quilting, reading, scrapbooking, camping, and hiking with the family. Her newest series is devotionals based on classic literature. You can visit her at Real Life is Better Than Fiction blog or at Ruth O’Neil Website  Amazon Author Page

Elaine Cooper

Elaine Marie Cooper is the award-winning author of FIELDS OF THE FATHERLESS (YA Fiction) and BETHANY’S CALENDAR (Non-fiction memoir). Her latest release (SARATOGA LETTERS) was finalist in Historical Romance in both the Selah Awards and Next Generation Indie Book Awards. She penned the three-book DEER RUN SAGA and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies. She freely admits to being a history geek. She has recently signed a four-book contract with Burnett Young Books. The series is set in Connecticut during the American Revolution.  Elaine Marie Cooper Website  Amazon Author Page