The Grace Awards is now going into its sixth year, having been extremely well received during the last five 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
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 eighth novel, The Love Coward released from Desert Breeze Publishing in 2015. Website, FB: Naomi Musch – Author Twitter: NMusch
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
Deborah Kinnard [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge] started writing at age ten, hacked off because “Bonanza” lacked a ten year old girl with her own pony. From adventures on the Ponderosa, she moved to teenage angsty love stories and dreadful poetry. After a career that embraced feeding basketball players breakfast, coping with el-ed majors and various ERs different from the ones on TV, she married the man of her dreams and raised two active girls amongst the books. She sold her first novel, POWERLINE, in 2002 and fifteen others since. Her most recent published series is with Desert Breeze Publishing, called “Seasons of Destiny.” It includes SEASONS IN THE MIST (now available), and the upcoming SEASONS OF RECKONING and SEASONS OF HOPE. Indie-published titles include the “City Lights” series, which tell tales of pop music stars and the people they love. Deb enjoys beadwork, travel, and music. She sings with a medieval/renaissance singing group, Court and Country. While traveling, she loves to people-watch. So if you meet a short-round woman with an acquisitive light in her eye…
Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers.Her writing credits include Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer Series (2015), a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series (2014), both through Write Integrity Press. Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2 of the Legacy Series is due in the Spring of 2016. She writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). 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. Webstie. Amazon Author Page.
Joy DeKok started to dream about being a writer when she was four years old. When her mom read to her at night, she fell asleep excited for the day she’d put her own words on the pages. She is an avid reader and finds that immersing herself in books, she becomes a better writer. When asked which is more important to her, she is quick to declare, “Both. In my life, the two are essential and intertwined.” When Joy came to faith in Christ when she was fifteen, the first thing she did was to write about her experience in poetry. Books by her include Under His Wings (devotional), 2 novels; Rain Dance (contemporary Christian fiction) and Between the Lies (Suspense), and three kids books: It Is Good, Room For Bandit, and Raccoon Tales. Joy and her husband live on thirty-five acres of wildflower fields and woods. Besides reading and writing, Joy enjoys taking her dogs, Sophie and Tucker, for long John Deere Gator rides. She an amateur photographer and loves the way God whispers His love for her in His creation. Website.
MYSTERY/ROMANTIC SUSPENSE/THRILLER/HISTORIC SUSPENSE: crime fiction, probably a body
Tammy Doherty [Grace Awards Board Member and Lead Judge] is the author of several Christian/Inspy novels, two of which have been on Amazon’s best-selling list. Her first three novels are historical romance with a touch of suspense; the fourth book, SHE’S MINE, is a contemporary romantic suspense set in a small town in central Massachusetts. In addition to being a founding member and lead judge for Grace Awards, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers. Ms. Doherty lives on a small farm in central MA with her husband and two children, where they grow and sell perennial plants.
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,” and on Facebook, Twitter @pegphifer, and Pinterest.
Diverse. If one word can describe Carol McClain, it’s diverse and had been long before diversity became such a ‘PC’ buzz word. She’s a novelist, essayist, and erstwhile poet (Be glad it’s erstwhile and no longer current). She hales from northern New York—so far north, she’s almost Canadian. Eh? She plays the bassoon, creates stained glass, cross-country skis, and is a former marathoner and high ropes instructor. For more than thirty years, she taught English, and she now teaches Bible studies, and edits for fun. In addition to this, she has served on the North Country Habitat for Humanity board for over ten years. In that capacity, she’s held every position except those having to do with money. She may be able to tell you the definitions sesquipedalian, but simple addition baffles her. She is course coordinator for ACFW. And of course, she writes. She’s completed four novels, with DWF: Divorced White Female being her debut.
SPECULATIVE FICTION: science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.
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.
Sadie & SophieCuffe have written six novels and three novellas, and have a new cozy mystery coming out 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. Their blog/books.
Karin Kaufman writes mysteries, thrillers, and children’s books. Although her mysteries and thrillers are written from a Christian perspective, they don’t downplay the evil we confront in this world—or the isolation Christians sometimes feel in what is a largely secular culture. But she rejects the notion that “edgy” books should be dark or oppressive. Because there is also goodness in this world—love, friendship, laughter, faithful dogs, piping hot cups of coffee—and it’s every bit as real as the evil. The Witch Tree, the first in her Anna Denning mystery series, was a finalist for a 2011 Grace Award. Karin lives near the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with Dakota Grace, her crazy but lovable rez rescue dog. You can find Karin on her Facebook author page, at http://www.facebook.com/authorkarinkaufman, or her website.
ACTION-ADVENTURE/WESTERN/ EPIC FICTION: exploits, quest, daring, expansive
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi [Chair and Founder of Grace Awards, Lead Judge] started at a very young age. Her first major work was a Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned as a little girl (colored might be more accurate) about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She 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. Blog, FB profile.Get her novels at her Amazon author page.
Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author of mystery, suspense, and young adult novels. Apart from writing, she is a wife, mother, and dog walker. She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dog, Willow. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to ride motorcycles, visit local wineries, and catch up on the latest movies. She is the author of the women’s fiction mystery series, The Fredrickson Winery Novels; a humorous young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy; and Inspirational suspense novels, Running Home and Alias Raven Black. Her speculative/thriller, Split Sense, won the 2011 Grace Award. She is currently working on the second book in her newest series, Double Barrel Mysteries. Author Website/Blog.
Marcy G. Dyer is a Registered Nurse and suspense 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 and is working on Marcy Dyer two new series: The Horde and The Lucky Series.Marcy has served as a judge for the Grace Awards, ACFW Genesis Contest, ACFW First Impressions Contest, ACFW Carol Awards, and the Olympia Contest.
YOUNG ADULT (YA): includes Middle Grade and New Adult (NA)
Fay Lamb [Lead Judge] is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted two series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has 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 are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind.Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads. Anyone interested in learning more about Fay’s freelance editing and her coaching should contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 on her blog, or on her website.
Rebekah Lyn writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. She currently has six novels published and is working on number seven. Her novel, Jessie, won the Grace Award for YA Fiction in 2015 as well as the Patrick D Smith Literary Award, and was listed as one of Shelf Unbound’s Notable Books of 2014. An early love of history, research and journaling led naturally to a passion for writing. Even at an early age, she immersed herself into her favorite hobbies of reading, writing and dreaming. A God-given talent of insight and skill, and a big dose of His courage, led her into a desire to live her dream.
THE GRACE AWARDS BOARD WILL ANNOUNCE WINNERS IN ALL SIX CATEGORIES ON MAY, 31st.