Grace Awards

Expanding the Tent Pegs of Christian Fiction

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Grace Awards 2015 Winners ~ in Faith Based Fiction

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The Grace Awards, a reader driven awards and the most democratic awards in Christian fiction, now in its sixth year, is very proud to announce its 2015 WINNERS. This year we had an array of widely diverse judges (multi-published authors, traditionally published ones, indie authors, and avid readers). Our judges commented on how pleased they were with the high quality of the finalists chosen by readers this year. Several judging teams ‘complained’ they had trouble picking a winner because all three stories nominated were so good. This only serves to justify the faith we have in our Christian readers who nominate the finalists. That’s what the Grace Awards is all about.

We’ve tried to use, if you will, a separation of powers in choosing our winners. Readers nominated (via email) the finalists in six categories. After the nominations were counted, finaling titles were given to our judging teams. From that point on there was no contact between the judging teams and the Chair of the Board, except for administrative issues. The teams independently picked winners. Each step in the process was removed and separated from the next step, to insure impartiality.

We are thrilled that our winners showcase self-published works as well as titles from  publishing houses, ebooks as well as paperbacks. Our aim is to be an egalitarian award, and we believe we’ve accomplished this.

The winners are…

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

Annabelle's Ruth

ANNABELLE’S RUTH by Betty Thomason Owens (Amazon Digital Services)

In ANNABELLE’S RUTH the author triumphs over the challenge of making a well-loved bible story fresh, and relevant to the era of 1950s Tennessee.  Expect to be transported to the small, rural town where Annabelle and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, must find a way to begin again after their husbands’ tragic deaths. Readers familiar with the book of Ruth will be left with a deeper appreciation of God’s provenance.

 

Romance/Historical Romance: primary element is love/courtship/marriage, be it set now or then

Bridge of Faith

BRIDGE OF FAITH by Catherine West (Amazon Digital Services)

BRIDGE OF FAITH gives an inside look at American family life. It’s not perfect. And all the frayed ends don’t really get tied up in the end. These people are still flawed, but they love each other and aren’t about to quit believing. I wondered, more than once, Julia Connelly would ever wake up and realize what a gift she’d been given—a second chance at love. The reality is, we’re often filled with doubt and anxiety. We’re afraid to try again, because we know the pain of making a mistake. The judges thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book. The author did a nice job of bringing them to life and giving them real and believable emotions. Their struggles were so real at times, we almost wanted to stop and pray for them. Yes, the judges supposed the idea of a rich, hunky lead returning to save our heroine from a lonely forever is a tad clichéd, but who cares? It was great fun. The only negative we found in Bridge of Faith, was our inability to put it down. 

 

Trial By Twelve

Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense: crime fiction, there’s probably a body

TRIAL BY TWELVE by Heather Day Gilbert (WoodHaven Press)

This novel grabs the reader’s attention from the start. The writing is crisp with a fresh and unique author voice. The pacing moves along fast enough to keep the reader hooked but not so quickly as to create confusion. In addition to the mystery/suspense plot, the reader gets a delightful look into the lives of Tess, her family, and friends. Written in first person, the point of view stays steadfast throughout the story except for the letters sprinkled throughout the book which give insight into the killer’s psyche. They do not, however, give away too much and spoil the whodunit reveal. Ms. Gilbert makes good use of red herrings, both with characters and even setting. Though it is obvious that this novel is a sequel, the reader is able to follow character relationships easily. TRIAL BY TWELVE  is a novel all three Grace Awards judges can recommend.

 

Storming

Speculative Fiction: science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc.

STORMING by K.M. Weiland (PenForASword Publishing)

STORMING was a pleasure to read. It started with a bang and kept on delivering. It is a highly inventive story with just the right balance of unpredictability and universal appeal. The characters are especially well rounded, their humanity believable as each one’s troubled past was gradually revealed. The 1920s setting seemed well researched; the dialogue and colloquialisms were in keeping with the era, yet a natural feel was maintained throughout. ‘Steampunk’ elements added another dynamic to an already superbly built world, while masterful descriptions never weighed the story down. This book has it all: complex relationships, excellent pacing, wonderfully timed resolutions, and some surprising twists. It was not overtly Christian, but there were definitely elements of faith and forgiveness. It is highly recommended for anyone – readers looking for something different AND readers looking for something relatable. It truly has universal appeal.

 

Saving Eric

Action Adventure/Western/Historic Epic Fiction: exploits, quest, expansive

SAVING ERIC by Joan Deneve (Amazon Digital Services)

Joan Deneve weaves a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness in this Grace Awards winner. SAVING ERIC  combines intrigue and espionage into a story of learning to forgive and accept mercy. The characters, even the secondary, are believable, engaging, and compelling. Eric, who believes failure is not an option in his life, finds himself on the wrong side of a traitor in the midst of a failed mission. Critically injured, he’s flown to a remote hospital by his friend and helicopter pilot, Toby. Despite a strained relationship between Eric and his father, the scenes between them provide insight into Eric’s character. The growth of their relationship is realistic and touching. The spiritual aspect of Saving Eric felt credible. It portrays the power of redemption and God’s love.

 

To Get To You

Young Adult: includes YA, NA, and middle grade

TO GET TO YOU by Joanne Bischoff (Mason Jar Books)

JoAnne Bischof has brought a new dynamic to young adult fiction. Long after reading the last page of her novel TO GET TO YOU, the judges found ourselves thinking about her unique characters. This story of one young man’s quest to do well and to climb out of a lifestyle of hopelessness, to reacquaint himself with his father, and to help his girlfriend’s family will capture the attention of young adults—and others. So, I encourage you to take a road trip with Riley Kane. You’ll be glad you went along for the ride

 

Grace Awards

 

 

 

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Grace Awards Summer Book Bash ~ day four

 

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We’re winding up our summer book bash, but it’s been such fun. The authors and novels have been spectacular.

RevengeREVENGE by Paula Rose

A summer vacation, staycation, or a beach read? Enjoy this romantic suspense. As a job coach, it’s up to Olivia Foster to ensure her clients work in a safe environment, understand their positions, and serve their employer’s mission. The death of her brother drives her career choice, and she loves her job. It remains her only focus until one of her autistic clients goes missing. Then Olivia’s employer ends her position and adds her to the suspect list, but she makes plans to bring the missing young man home. Meanwhile, Detective Lt. Phillip Landon is deep into second-guessing his career choice, but his well-honed instincts see major flaws inside this missing person’s case. Surprising contacts, mysterious happenings, and threats can turn deadly. Can he keep Olivia safe, protect his heart, remove the job coach from someone’s target list, and adjust to the new lives of his old family?

Crooked LinesCROOKED LINES by Holly Michael

Thoughtful reading for a balmy summer day! On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed. CROOKED LINES, a beautifully crafted debut novel, threads the lives of two determined souls from different continents and cultures. Compelling characters struggle with spirituality through despair and deceptions in search of truth.

First and GoalFIRST AND GOAL, What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up by Jake Byrne and H. Michael

A terrific summer read, especially for the guys.  Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes. Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way. Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You’ll discover…what to do when God calls an audible in your life, how to respond when God puts you on special teams, why prayer is never an incomplete pass.

The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

THE REDEMPTION OF CARALYNNE HAYMAN by Carole Brown

Summer is the time to get caught up in a realistic, emotional book that opens your eyes to the real world. Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year- old daughter from the hands of her religious group. Dayne faces men unwilling to turn their backs on the cult training he despises. Cara faces men who follow their leader in abuse toward their wives and the young girls of the group. Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings. Can Cara overcome the feelings that have governed her most of her life? Can she learn to trust Dayne, and most of all a God whom she sees as uncaring—if he’s really there at all? Only Dayne’s prayers and love can reach Cara and show her the way to redemption, and Cara must recognize and accept God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far.

With Music in their HeartsWITH MUSIC IN THEIR HEARTS by Carole Brown

Summertime is a good time to dream, but it’s only when we follow God’s plan for our lives that we have peace–just as Tyrell and Emma Jaine find out in WITH MUSIC IN THEIR HEARTS. Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage? Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Grace Awards Summer Book Bash ~ day two

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The Grace Awards 2104 Summer Book Bash in now in full swing offering exciting reads by accomplished authors.

What God Brings TogetherWHAT GOD BRINGS TOGETHER by Melissa Wardell

Thoughtful summer reading. When life makes a tragic turn, Emma must push the hurt and pain aside to make a life for her three children. Eight years of doing what must be done gets in the way of healing the brokenness. Can she trust God and forgive the pain from the past to have a future of love? After years of aimless wandering, David returns home in hopes of finding redemption from his past. A chance meeting and a budding friendship with Emma triggers a longing to have a second chance at the one thing he walked away from – family. Can he move past the self—doubt and embrace the second chance God ha given him? What God Brings Together is a story of forgiveness, second chances, and being bold enough to love after the pain.

The Love CowardTHE LOVE COWARD by Naomi Musch

Settle into a vintage summer romance on the post WWII home front. Burke Delgard has returned from war safe and whole, but Tulla Johanson’s dreams of them finally marrying and working her family’s farm together crumble the day he walks out of the church and over her heart to chase a baseball career. Thank heaven for friends like Joan, Walter, and now Van. Burke’s war buddy Van came to town for the wedding, never anticipating he’d rescue Burke’s humiliated fiancée or begin an awkward friendship with her. Having carried his own secrets home from the war, he’s determined to keep them barred inside. Even if Tulla might hold the key to unlocking them, Burke clearly wants Tulla back, and even her old pal Walter is getting in the way. Van is wounded, Burke’s regretful, Walt’s hopeful, and Tulla’s vulnerable; and she might be the biggest love coward of all.

TREVELYAN by Naomi Musch

TrevelynSummer Vacation Fantasy Getaway! “It’s my new favorite book!” ~ If, like this reader, you enjoy epic retellings of classic tales, then this is the summer vacation fantasy for you. You might believe you know the tale of Belle. She’s not a typical girl of Gilmer like her sisters who live only to find a suitable, wealthy match. But you’ve probably not heard about the downfall of the kingdom, the warring faeries, or the elves who fled the land. You’ve not met the pair of swashbucklers and Belle’s three brothers who set out on a quest to rescue her from the Monster Lord who has her bound. Hideous creatures and madness wait to prey upon the careless in a land where faerie magic has taken an evil turn; but a girl like Belle — and true love — can conquer all, even a wicked faerie queen and the most beastly of princes.

Summer StormsSUMMER STORMS by Rebekah Lyn

Summer Storms is a story of love, loss and renovation. Thanks to the love and support of friends and a renewed commitment to her faith Elizabeth Reynolds has moved past the hurt and anger of her parents death. Her job as concierge at Hotel Lago, a boutique hotel in downtown Orlando is challenging and fills her need to be successful but one thing is missing. When a once in a lifetime opportunity to renovate a broken down home comes along she snaps it up. Sparks and clashes with her handsome, but deeply troubled contractor, Jeffrey Robbins threaten to slow the renovation but when Orlando becomes the target of three summer storms, hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Jeanne, her team bonds together. In the aftermath of the storms what will be the fate of Lizzie’s home and heart?What a great summer read.

Out For BllodOUT FOR BLOOD by Marcy Dyer

Another book to stick in your beach bag, Out for Blood will keep you turning page after page as you join Dani in her quest to stay alive in the wake of her sister’s brutal murder. 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?

Blood And LiesBLOOD AND LIES by Marcy Dyer

Blood & Lies is a great beach read. As a buried secrets are uncovered and lives hang in the balance, you’ll be thankful for the bright summer sun. In the midst of a hot Ukrainian summer, JD Miller chaperones a group of teens a mission trip to Kherson, Ukraine. One of the boys vanishes from the group without a trace. Leandra Davis hasn’t seen her father in over twenty years when he shows up and asks her to fly to Ukraine to join the search for a brother she’s never met. When she and her best friend fly to Ukraine to search for the kidnapped teen, she meets the passionate paramedic, JD Miller. Together, they search for the missing young man and begin to uncover deadly secrets Leandra’s father wants to keep hidden.

Grace Awards Summer Book Bash ~ day one

 

GA Book Bash, BeachWow! The Grace Awards 2014 Summer Book Bash is off and running. What a blast! Summer is such a great time for reading.

Lone WolfLONE WOLF by Tracy Krauss

A terrific summer read. Thomas Lone Wolf, from WIND OVER MARSHDALE, is back in this novella length romance. He’s recovered from a brush with death – and from a broken heart. His work of opening a First Nations cultural center at an archaeological site near the town of Marshdale is almost complete. Once his son graduates from high school, he and his daughter will have to move on to the next project. Just when he has resigned himself to being a single dad for the rest of his life, he meets a woman who seems perfect. But can his wounded heart take a chance on love again?

NEIGHBORSNEIGHBORS Complete Series 1 by Tracy Krauss

How well do you know the people living next door? This fun filled romantic comedy series, perfect for a summer read, follows the lives of Lester Tibbett, former rodeo cowboy, his naïve sister Patsi, and a full cast of quirky characters living in an apartment in Calgary. Meet control freak Professor Sherri Chan; her twin brother Sherman, an architect moving back from Toronto; coffee shop owners and civil activists Tamara Spence and Carman Lamonte; newspaper man Steve Russell; Jed Malloy, Newfie redneck who is a bit rough around the edges; and so many more. Full of comical mix-ups, a bit of intrigue, and of course, enough romance to spice things up! NEIGHBORS Book 1 comes as nine separate episodes, each one from a different character’s point of view.

Come Eat At My TableCOME EAT AT MY TABLE by Ruth O’Neil

“You used to love playing in the rain. I would let you and Hope go play in the rain on warm, summer days. You two would get absolutely soaked, but you loved it!” Karin said. Ahh! The beauty of summer days as a child. No worries. No cares. Now, I long for something a little more relaxed, like reading a book. In Come Eat at My Table, Karin longs for the relaxing days of a perfect childhood summer, only her childhood wasn’t perfect and the cat is about to be let out of the bag. Secretive. Angry. Fearful. Hurt. Unforgiving. All these emotions will come raging back to the surface after years of repression and a chance encounter. Until Karin faces her past she and her family cannot face their future. Can she find the strength to forgive?

BelongingBELONGING by Ruth O’Neil

“My dad and I used to go to yard sales every summer. We would find books and buy them all. Then we would come home and spend the rest of the afternoon reading. We went to one huge flea market a couple times a year. There was a booth there full of books. We would spend hours searching through them for books we didn’t already have.” Summer is the time of year when laziness is almost permissible. It’s nice to do nothing but sit in the shade and read a book. In Belonging, Shelly has her own summer memories. Those memories are bittersweet now that her father is gone. Her summer memories help her decide to do some digging. In the midst of that digging God nudges Shelly to get out of her comfort zone. That’s easy for some, but for Shelly it may be impossible.

She's MineSHE’S MINE by Tammy Doherty

“Heart-stopping suspense and breathtaking romance” This summer is going to be explosive for Caitlin Harrington and Sean Taggart. Caitlin dreams of a quiet life teaching math at her hometown middle school. Except someone is leaving ominous notes on her door. It could be her ex-boyfriend or someone else who doesn’t want her back in town. Volunteer Firefighter Sean Taggart thinks Caitlin is beautiful…and possibly crazy. When he finds out the truth, Sean wants to help. Can he save Caitlin before the stalker turns to murder? “Don’t you worry about Sean,” Randy said. “We need to take care of you.” Caitlin pushed him away and looked up the hill. The glow she’d assumed was work lightssuddenly took on an ominous tint. As they all watched, flames shot up into the night sky.

Celtic KnotCELTIC KNOT by Tammy Doherty

Counterfeiting, kidnapping and murder…all in a day’s work for Kyle Lachapelle. Forced to return to Prophecy, Colorado, after the death of her beloved husband, Abby Finnigan struggles to provide for her young daughter. The cruel and callous treatment from her family taught Abby to guard her heart. When she meets Kyle Lachapelle, he seems nice but he works for her father and brother so how can she trust him? Secret Service Operative Kyle Lachapelle is working undercover, investigating a counterfeiting organization. He’s attracted to Abby yet her connection to his case makes him wary. She could provide essential information…or compromise everything. Unless Abby and Kyle risk trusting one another, someone may get away with murder.~ If you want a novel full of suspense, fast-paced Western action and a healthy dose of romance, be sure to take CELTIC KNOT along with you to the beach or on vacation.

HARMFUL INTENT by Nike Chillemi

Harmful IntentA sassy, action-packed read, great for summer. ~ Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect. Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted. Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Darkest HourDARKEST HOUR by Nike Chillemi

Lucinda Byrne is a terrific swimmer, but this summer the water is treacherous for her. ~ A petite widow and sole support of her son and grandparents, is framed for the murder of her boss. Wealthy village residents conspire with the DA to indict her and stop further investigation. The medical examiner thinks the shooter was a tall individual and when his report is shoved aside, starts snooping trying to clear her and in the process falls in love with her. When Lucinda discovers the body of her boss, his A-List society fiancée, backed up by her powerful family and a corrupt DA, accuses Lucinda of murder. She struggles on, shielding her five-year-old son, her feisty grandfather and arthritic grandmother from the ugliness. She mistrusts the dapper ME, thinking he’s a ladies’ man. Hank Jansen, the county ME who’s had his share of pain and loss, doesn’t know if this little widow was in on the murder, but he knows by the trajectory of the bullet she’s too short to have pulled the trigger. His professional opinion ignored, he begins his own investigation and at least one cop accuses him of an ethics violation. He certainly can’t deny he’s fallen head over heels for.

Hey! It’s a “Beach Book Bash”

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Lazing by the pool, taking in the delish aromas at a BBQ, perhaps  in the park for a summer picnic, reclining on a blanket at the beach, sitting in an air conditioned room with your e-reader, or maybe you’re under the boardwalk…take these fantastic, sizzling, compelling, inspiring summer reads with you.

 

MARCY G. DYER

Set in the hot west Texas summertime, DOWN & OUT is a fun summer beach novel. It has thrills, laughs, and love. For the scary thrills part of the book, you’ll want the bright sunshine of a beach….As one reviewer said, “Books have to make me react in some way. Whether it be a laugh, a smile, a tear, or even anger, each book that I read has to create some emotion in me or I consider it a so-so story. This one caused me to react in a way that I have NEVER, EVER reacted. It caused me to shudder. Literally shudder. Every time the protagonist of the story, Candace’s stalker, walked onto the page, a pit of fear would form in my stomach. My shoulders would go up to my ears, and I just wanted to get away from him. I felt like a part of the story. I felt like he was after me. Creepy, huh?”

Going home again can be deadly. Suddenly jobless, enterprising Candace Downs returns to the parched and dusty oil-town of Odessa, Texas as a trainee for her cousin’s towing company. Rejecting the romantic obsessions of a maniacal stranger intent on capturing her heart throws her life into a terrifying spiral downward. As the clock ticks, and her hunter ups the ante, the charismatic, handsome security consultant, Josiah Bradley, is determined to keep her alive – at any cost. Will they win this harrowing cat-and-mouse game? Or will the unrelenting stalker bury them both deep in the desert.

Out For Blood 2OUT FOR BLOOD is another chilling read for summer. It’s set in hot west Texas, but does have some beach time in sunny Southern California. One reviewer said, “The characters are extremely well defined. I don’t want to spoil it for others, but the character known as “the man” really got my attention.”
A thriller, this novel has romance, suspense, and espionage. Out for Blood won’t disappoint as a good, thriller for the beach.

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?

 

NIKE CHILLEMI

Harmful Intent, FramedSex, lies, and murder…that’s HARMFUL INTENT. Yet it’s uplifting and hysterically funny…a perfect summer read. ~ ~ Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect. Ronnie is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who has traveled to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted. Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself. ~ ~ Sweet, askance romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully. Now, only .99 cents.

A terrific swimmer, Lucinda Byrne fears the ocean. Her husband and parents died there. Will she? DARKEST HOUR, is set in July, 1948 on the south shore of Long Island, a summer vacation destination. ~~ A petite widow, secretary and sole support of her son and grandparents, is framed for the murder of her boss. Wealthy village residents conspire with the DA to indict her and stop further investigation. The medical examiner thinks the shooter was a tall individual and when his report is shoved aside, starts snooping trying to clear her and in the process falls in love with her. ~~ Sweet romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.

 

SADIE AND SOFIE CUFFE, a/k/a The Cuffe Sisters

Why should you read a Cuffe sisters’ book this summer? Well, for one thing, they’re $1.99 on Amazon. People think Maine is mostly about lobsters and clams, but we’re native Mainers and we don’t like either one – ain’t that odd? What we DO love about Maine is the people, not the stereo-typical old duffer wearing a sou’wester and spouting things like, “You cahn’t get theyah from heyah.”
You’ll meet Myra Stanley, shotgun-toting granny in her 80’s who can shoot the wings off a fly at 100 paces. One of our favorite Myra moments comes from WARRIOR’S JOURNEY: Molly’s friend Ashley has just accused Myra of trespassing on private property and told her to leave. Myra, shotgun trained on the offensive Ashely, responds, “Might snotty soundin’ from someone starin’ down iron moose nostrils.”

Arrow that FliessIn ARROW THAT FLIES, you’ll meet Brad Stanley, Myra’s great-nephew. He obviously has the Stanley charm. Maine Forester Jackie Duncan’s thoughts upon meeting him – She might not know a gearbox from a jewelry box, but she knew a dipstick when she saw one. Then there are the twins, Robbie and Rand Adams. Robbie and Jackie are polar opposites. Robbie’s Type-A out the whazoo and Jackie’s about as scattered as you can get, but they’re drawn to each other. Can they trust each other and find the evil archer who is intent on ruining the lives of Stellar’s Ford?

In WARRIOR’S JOURNEY, Molly Stewart thinks Rand Adams is responsible for her husband’s death, but now her 12-year-old son is in a tailspin and needs a good male mentor. Can Rand step up to the plate and convince Molly he’s one of the good guys?
Both books can be read independently of each other, but we suggest ARROW followed by WARRIOR. It’s Maine – the way life should be!

 

NAOMI MUSCHTrevelyn

Fantasy and Realism in Two Novels for summer reading! ~~ Do you watch Once Upon a Time? If so, or if you’re drawn to fantasy and retellings of famous fairy tales, then you’ll enjoy TREVELYAN ~ A Tale of Beauty & the Beast, a full length novel for the romantic and young at heart. Here’s why this new tale might fit your bill for summer reading:
• It’s Beauty & the Beast! I mean, come on. Best. Fairytale. Ever.
• TREVELYAN has elves and faeries, creatures and magic, and there are swashbuckling heroes — several of them.
• TREVELYAN is “take me away” reading to lead you on an epic adventure through the land of the Great Winter to the lost city of Trevelyan, where legends say a monster lord and his evil faerie wife have usurped a once glorious kingdom. Now evil and madness wait to prey upon the unwary who venture there.
• TREVELYAN answers burning questions about the original tale: What happened to all Belle’s brothers and sisters? How come no one else had stumbled into the beast’s kingdom? What was the deal with the faerie who turned the prince into a beast? Who helped the beast survive those lonely years in his enchanted kingdom? What was the castle really like?
You mean you didn’t wonder? Well, now you surely must. So add TREVELYAN ~ A Tale of Beauty & the Beast to your summer beach reading list!

Do you prefer realism? How about love rediscovered? In PAINT ME ALTHENA artist Ethan Day has been raising his little girls on his own for three years. When he stumbles upon a painting for sale by Althena, he thinks he’s finally found Ava, his runaway wife. But Ethan has begun moving on with the help of lovely widow Jackie. His art has become popular. He’s found a new faith. Ava moved on too, but things haven’t turned out as she’d planned. Now she needs rescue. Though old desires surface, wounds of distrust and conflict between Ava’s search for identity and Ethan’s new faith might break the safety net he offers, making the journey home to love too painful to take. PAINT ME ALTHENA was a 2013 Grace Awards finalist.

 

TAMMY DOHERTY

August 1890 is already hot in Prophecy, Colorado, and things are about to get hotter! ~~ Abby Finnegan is working hard to make a better life for her daughter while protecting both of them from Abby’s callous & sadistic brother Clayton Bigelow. Secret Service Operative Kyle Lachapelle is working undercover. Kyle can’t deny the attraction he feels toward Abby but she’s too closely connected to his counterfeiting case for him to trust her. Abby wants to trust Kyle, maybe with more than just helping with Clayton, yet his guarded attitude confuses her. When she learns he’s come to arrest her family, her doubts seem justified. Can love overcome their fears?

Celtic Knot

Counterfeiting, murder, kidnapping & cowboys – CELTIC KNOT has everything you need for great summer reading! In a 5-star review, The Wordsmith Journal Magazine says, “Tammy Doherty hits the mark with this novel. It’s superbly written with vocabulary, language, and phrases appropriate to the period in which it is set. Fast paced and suspenseful.”

Don’t miss the first novel in this series, CELTIC CROSS. Set in 1883 Colorado, Cristeen arrives on the Donovan ranch badly wounded. Matt Donovan and his sister nurse Cristeen back to health but is that enough? Cristeen must learn to trust – in God and Matt – before a madman returns to complete the murder she narrowly escaped earlier. A 5-star Amazon review states, “Wonderful inspirational, historical romance that shows the power of love, trust, and humor to bring healing to troubled lives.” Another reviewer writes, “I was caught up in the characters and didn’t want to put it down.” Sweet historical romance with Western action and characters that hook the reader make CELTIC CROSS a great beach or vacation read!

For one week only, all three novels in this series will be just .99 cents on Kindle

 

SUZANNE D. WILLIAMS

Take Me Away

“Take yourself away” for a couple hours this summer and believe in romance all over again when you read TAKE ME AWAY.

When Celia Boyle asked Gator Lawrence to take her on vacation, she had no idea that such a simple request would become so incredibly complicated. All she wanted was seven blissful days of beach sand, ocean waves, and tropical sun. But now, her sister’s sudden visit, her own misspoken statement, and a threat by Gator’s dad to send him out of town, jeopardizes everything. Unless, they take things in their own hands and go anyway. Yet sometimes life has a lesson to share that only experience can teach, and it could be what they’re both looking for has been with them all along.

Early reviews for TAKE ME AWAY: “A cute female, an honorable man, a chance meeting, and a flirty comment, what could possibly go wrong? Grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine and let this book take you away better than Calgon! This is a fun, sweet read that will leave you smiling and believing in love all over again.” ~ “Such a neat, sweet short romance with a bit of adventure and mystery behind it as well! I enjoyed it.” Now, $1.99.

 

JOY DEKOK

Rain Dance

Looking for a new summer read or two? ~~ RAIN DANCE is only .99 cents for the next few days. This is the story of two women who are surprised by a friendship others might consider impossible. I mean think about it – how can a Christian prolifer and an atheist prochoicer agree on anything? Jonica and Stacie discover they are far more similar than they thought possible. Together they struggle to find hope and healing in the tangle of their own hypocrisies, prejudices, and political opinions. Will they succeed or are abortion and infertility impossible to overcome? –Contemporay Women’s Fiction – Gently Prolife
Another option for your summer reading pleasure is BETWEEN THE LIES – Book 1 in the Northern Lights Series. Olivia Morgan was doing just fine, thank you very much. Until the dead guy in the elevator, her lover’s dismissal of her, the loss of her dream job, and an FBI agent who is looking into the past she’s worked so hard to hide. What’s a woman to do when she’s suddenly un-kept, a murder suspect, and has her own personal stalker? Olivia uses her artistic talent to remember and reveal what she knows. Will it save or convict her? This mystery will keep you guessing until the end. –Nail-biting suspense with heart and soul.

Grace Awards Logo

Grace Awards 2013 Winners ~ In Faith Based Fiction

GA Winner Badge 2013The Grace Awards, a reader driven awards and the most democratic awards in Christian fiction, now in its fourth year, is very proud to announce its 2013 WINNERS. This year we had an array of widely diverse judges (multi-published authors, first time published authors, writers who specialize in areas of publishing other than fiction, a pastor, and in YA for the second year we had a youth expert who has an extremely popular family and educational blog).

In addition, we’ve tried to use, if you will, a separation of powers in choosing our winners. Readers nominated (via email) the finalists in six categories. After the nominations were counted, finaling titles were given to our judging teams. From that point on there was no contact between the judging teams and the Chair of the Board, except for administrative issues. The teams independently picked winners. Each step in the process was removed and separated from the next step, to insure impartiality.

We are thrilled that our winners include self-published works, titles from small houses, as well as from moderate and large traditional houses. Our aim was to be an egalitarian award, and we believe we’ve accomplished this.

The winners are…

Beloved DaughterWomen’s Fiction/General Fiction: serious women’s or men’s issues, can have humor and suspense elements

THE BELOVED DAUGHTER by Alana Terry (Amazon Digital Services)

In THE BELOVED DAUGHTER, Alana Terry presents Chung-Cha, a young woman who is interred in one of North Korea’s notorious prison camps because of her family’s faith. In this meticulously researched novel, Terry gives readers everything a good novel should—a gripping story, an uplifting theme, encouragement in their own faith and exquisite writing—a story too real to be a simple novel. This tale sweeps us into a world of inhumanity in a geographic area largely ignored by the world. North Korea does everything in its power to destroy those who dissent from their “Beloved Leader.” Chung-Cha’s faith is tested and almost destroyed because of the brutality she faces. Throughout the book, the reader is awakened to the truth behind this dictatorship, yet hope always arises. The struggles the characters face show us the faithfulness of God; remind us that although our lives are hard, others have sacrificed everything for it. It imbues us with the courage the characters displayed. The ending could not be predicted and seamlessly offered a resolution both satisfying and heart rending. THE BELOVED DAUGHTER will leave you breathless. ~~ Judges: Deborah Kinnard (Team Leader), Christine Lindsay, Carol McClain

Finding BethRomance/Historical Romance: primary element is love/courtship/marriage, be it set now or then

FINDING BETH by Linnette R. Mullin (CrossRiver Media Group)

When Beth Gallagher runs out of gas on a lonely highway, a door opens to her future before she’s entirely closed one on the past, and the past refuses to let go peacefully. FINDING BETH is both a suspenseful and layered romance with subplots that fill out the story without overwhelming it. Even while watching the hero and heroine fall for each other, there was enough emotional tension and suspension of certainty to keep hanging on to find out how it would happen and how they would overcome their major obstacles. Characters felt real and individual, and story twists built to a powerful dark moment for the main character. The reader will appreciated the way the author handled the thematic depth of the story and what happened in that dark moment. FINDING BETH deals with abuse on all levels — emotional, physical, and spiritual — and the scenes and character’s reactions rang true. While this is Christian fiction, the author pulled back in places that might have become too “preachy” and allowed events to unfold naturally, not offering total solutions, but the reality that the characters would continue to have to work out their faith. Some of the characters were left at the end still trying to overcome their issues, which was good. So often novels with such heavy themes give us the problems sewn up too easily. In FINDING BETH, we’re shown characters heading in the right direction and characters whose lives, like our own, are works-in-progress. As to the story’s main conflict, the antagonist was absolutely heinous! The author did a terrific job of describing the most intense and vicious  scene with just enough description to make us feel the heroine’s horror, and yet she used enough discretion to keep it readable. This is a very good romance, with well-fleshed characters and deep themes that lovers of women’s fiction will also appreciate. ~~ Judges: Naomi Musch (Team Leader), Joy Ross Davis, Betty Thomason Owens

The RisingMystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller: crime fiction, there’s probably a body

THE RISING by Lynne Chandler Willis (Pelican Ventures Book Group-Harbourlight Books)

A young boy has been beaten to death, the extreme violence troubling homicide detective Ellie Saunders. When he suddenly comes back to life – a seeming miracle which Ellie is unable to accept on a spiritual level – the need to find the “killer” becomes desperate. Because the boy also can’t remember anything about himself. What if his parents did this to him? Ellie is desperate to uncover the boy’s past while making sure the one who assaulted him receives justice. The clues are minimal leading first one direction then another. To complicate matters, Ellie get assigned a new partner – Jesse Alvarez, someone with whom she has a history she’d rather forget. Jesse seems determined to protect Ellie and help figure out who is responsible for the little boy’s “death.” Much to Ellie’s irritation, Jesse accepts that the boy coming back to life is a God-thing. Ms. Willis keeps the pacing in this story flowing at a fast clip. The spiritual matters—ranging from believing in God to believing in miracles—are handled in a realistic, credible way. Though Ellie is the child of a minister, her doubts are authentic. She spends work time dealing strictly in facts but when it comes to dealing with family she’s at a loss in regards to her emotions. The reader is hooked on caring both for Ellie’s personal struggles as well as rooting for justice for the little boy. The whole story wraps up with a satisfying and convincing ending that lets the reader choose what to accept as explanation for the boy’s rejuvenation. The author presents relevant, contemporary issues in a non-preachy, non-offensive manner, giving both spiritual and worldly viewpoints and allowing the reader to examine his or her faith to form an opinion. The mystery is well-written, developed at a tempo consistent with romantic suspense. Overall, an enjoyable read! ~~ Judges: Tammy Doherty (Team Leader), Debra Marvin,  Peggy Blann Phifer

Merlin's BladeSpeculative Fiction: science fiction, horror, fantasy, etc.

MERLIN’S BLADE by Robert Treskillard (Blink)

MERLIN’S BLADE by Robert Treskillard is a fresh and welcomed retelling of the Merlin\Arthur story. Mr. Treskillard has done his research on the time period and it shows in wonderful detail. There is humor, romance, heroism, and a touch of the poetic. His Merlin is more approachable and human, as well as a bit less mystical than in other retellings. The author’s approach is refreshing and the ending leaves the door open for further exploration. ~~ Judges: Tracy Krauss (Team Leader), Tim Akers, DeEtte Beckstead Anderton

Burning SkyAction Adventure/Western/Historic Epic Fiction: exploits, quest, expansive

BURNING SKY by Lori Benton (WaterBrook Press)

BURNING SKY by Lori Benton is a captivating historical epic novel. The characters, even the secondary and minor ones, feel believable and authentic to the post-Revolutionary War period. Many of whom bear deep and painful scars due to the brutal battles on the frontier, with both the British and Americans having committed atrocities. Ms. Benton moves the characters from one element of the story to the next with great skill. The author did a superb job when Burning Sky, who had been captured by northern New York State tribes, returns home to her family’s cabin and transitions back to thinking and speaking more and more in English as she tries to resume her former identity as Willa Obenchein. Neil MacGregor and Joseph Tames His Horse, two very different men, with dissimilar strengths, both devout Christians, vie for the love of Willa/Burning Sky. The author does a marvelous job keeping the reader guessing how this love-triangle will turn out. The villains are not stereotypes, but rather are well fleshed out. One of them skillfully and horrifically manipulates events. While his younger brother, who has developmental challenges, is a touching character crafted with depth. ~~ Judges: Nike Chillemi (Team Leader), Kenneth G. Winters, Catherine West

The Revised Life of Ellie SweetYoung Adult: appeals to ages 14 to 21ish

THE REVISED LIFE OF ELLIE SWEET by Stephanie Morrill (Playlist Fiction)

THE REVISED LIFE OF ELLIE SWEET by Stephanie Morrill is delightful and engaging. The characters are fresh and well-developed to the point the judges became invested in their lives and wanted to continue reading to see how their story would end. Ellie Sweet is a teenager who turns to writing in order to express her feelings when she feels like an outsider. She weaves a fictional world that contains bits and pieces of her real-life struggles. With this creative outlet, she feels empowered and not so alone. ~~ Judges: Marcy Dyer (Team Leader), Deborah K. Anderson, Aileen Stewart

 

And…the Grace Awards 2013 Finalists are…

Grace Awards LogoWhat a ride it has been!!!

The Grace Awards 2013, now into its fourth year, had and avalanche of reader nominations to determine our finalists. The number of reader votes was up significantly from last year, as was the number of novels nominated in each category.

According to the rules, every novel had to have been accompanied by at least a 35 word statement telling why the story was nominated…a sort of mini-review or “notice”. This year the reasons given were astute and outstanding. There is no doubt that today’s Christian reader is both intelligent and perceptive.

And now…the finalists in six categories are…

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

PAINT ME ALTHENA, Naomi Musch (Desert Breeze Publishing) Ava Day lost her way, abandoned her painter husband Ethan and their young daughters, convinced they’d be better off without her…and became “Althena.” She buried herself in painting fantasy-art while searching for herself, and moved in with a tattooed biker. Left alone to care for the girls, Ethan finds strength in his new faith. Danger brings Ava back to Ethan’s protection, but can the broken marriage and scarred family be saved?

THE BELOVED DAUGHTER, Alana Terry (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform) North Korean officials arrest a father, mother, and their 12 year-old daughter, Chung-Cha, for their Christian faith. The daughter is thrown into solitary confinement, tortured, and then is sent to a camp where even the slightest infraction of the rules is severely punished. Chung-Cha questions her faith. A Christian woman in the prison camp befriends the girl and she begins to renew her faith.

PILGRIMAGE OF PROMISE, Cathy Bryant (WordVessel Press) As Bo Miller faces stage four cancer, he and his wife Mona Beth face a dusty stack of unopened love letters forcing them to revisit a part of their lives they’d rather leave buried. Only as they retrace history will they learn the truth about the shattered promise that threatens to come between them. But can their relationship endure the deception and sabotage they unearth, or will the experience compel them to trust more fully in the promises that never fail?

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

RIVER OAKS PLANTATION, B.J. Robinson (B. J. Robinson)  Plantation manager,Noah Gautreaux, took vehicles to higher ground in order to escape a super hurricane, but will he make it back in time to save Amaryllis Camilla O’Brien  and his two “pet girls” who are still in the antebellum mansion? Amaryllis, who inherited the house from her grandmother, has discovered an old, yellowed diary in the house and she’s determined will survive the storm, along with herself and Noah’s beloved dogs.

WHERE HOPE STARTS, Angela D. Meyer (CrossRiver Media) New York City restaurant manager Karen Marina is fleeing to her Midwestern home after she loses her job and discovers her drunken and abusive husband is addicted to pornography. She’s struggling between a possible new boyfriend and forgiving the unforgivable when she discovers a secret that could tear her family apart while her angry brother is set on revenge.

FINDING BETH, Linnette R. Mullin (CrossRiver Media) Beth Gallagher’s brother died in a fatal accident, but warned her about Kyle before he passed away. After turning to Kyle in grief, she becomes engaged to him and only then discovers his dark side. In a state of confusion, she flees to the Smoky Mountains seeking God’s will, and discovers a new friend who helps her find answers. But what will it cost? Kyle is used to getting his way, no matter what. So when she returns with her new man, Kyle is furious.

MYSTERY/THRILLER/ROMANTIC SUSPENSE/HISTORIC SUSPENSE: (crime fiction, probably a body)

MURDER AT WILLOW SHADE, Jean Kinsey (Desert Breeze Publishing) All Ashley Kennedy wants is to marry her childhood sweetheart and make a go of Willow Shade Stables, but her fiance Kyle gets cold feet and refuses to set a date. Then the builders unearth a skull while digging her basement. The skull is identified as an old adversary and the sheriff suspects Ashley’s mom, Maddy. Before her mom can be convicted, Ashley puts her life on hold and joins several of the town’s women in an investigation to prove Maddy’s innocence. To obtain evidence, the Fearless Five ladies bend the rules which law-abiding policemen dare not do.              .

THE RISING, Lynn Chandler Willis (Harbourlight Books)  Detective Ellie Saunders’s homicide investigation takes a dramatic turn when a young victim of a fatal beating “wakes up” in the morgue. The boy has no memory prior to his “rising” except walking with his father along a shiny road. Ellie likes dealing with facts. She’s not interested in any supernatural talk, but wants medical answers. Will her probing put her in danger?

BROKEN ALLEGIANCE, Mark Young (Mark Young Books) After seeking justice for more than ten years, as well as experiencing intense suffering due to the hit and run death of his young son at the hands of an unidentified gang-banger, Detective Tom Kagan is a broken man. What keeps him going is protecting his wife from an anonymous serious threat. Then a gang member thought to be “untouchable” is assassinated by his own gang. This throws Kagan into the middle of a viscous, internal gang war and places his friends and family at risk.

SPECULATIVE FICTION (science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc.)

THE EARTH PAINTER, Mellisa Turner Lee (AltWitPress) Holly Scruggs has been corrected by her image conscious parents to the point of brokenness. When she discovers the boy in her high school drama class is actually the immortal who painted the world into being, she becomes the target of another painter who hates humanity.

MERLIN’S BLADE, Robert Treskillard (Blink). When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow—a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur’s kingdom. The only person who seems immune is a young, shy, half-blind swordsmith’s son named Merlin.     

SHENANDOAH NIGHTS, Lisa Belcastro (Oak Tara) The last thing sixth-grade teacher Rebecca O’Neill wants to do during the final week of her summer break is chaperone 25 kids on a one week trip aboard the schooner Shenandoah. But after a desperate phone call from the school principal, she doesn’t have a choice. Worse, the ship is rumored to be “haunted.” Five years ago, during another student cruise, the teacher-chaperone heard voices, saw visions, then disappeared without a trace-from the very same cabin where Rebecca will be staying.

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

CAPTURED BY MOONLIGHT, Christine Lindsay (WhiteFire Publishing)  After a daring rescue goes awry, Laine Harkness takes a nursing position at a plantation in the jungles of South India, only to discover that her abusive former fiance is the owner. Laine’s friend, Eshana, is captured by her traditional uncle and forced once more into the harsh Hindu customs of mourning, and doubts freedom will ever be hers again, much less the forbidden love that had begun to flower.                    

STEALING THE PREACHER, Karen Witemayer (Bethany House Publishers)  On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he’s forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he’s haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind–a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.                

BURNING SKY, Lori Benton (WaterBrook Press) The woman who had been known as Burning Sky was a colonial girl kidnapped by Indians before the American Revolution. She then returned to her childhood home after the war as an adult, but finds the situation not to be what she expected. On the border of her parents’ land, she rescues Neil McGregor, a Scots doctor from the East who is in the area to catalog the flora and fauna. Still more perplexing, she finds herself trapped between two worlds, and in a triangle of affection with Neil and the native Joseph. And what should she do when those she thought would support her efforts actively work against her and threaten her survival?

YOUNG ADULT (appeals to ages 14 – 21ish)

THE REVISED LIFE OF ELLIE SWEET, Stephanie Merrill (Novel Teen Press) Ellie Sweet is a good girl, novelist, silent adorer of hunky Palmer. When “outcast” gets added to the list, she decides on a bit of literary revenge. In her book, she’s Lady Gabrielle, of the Italian medieval court. Her once friends are reduced to catty ladies-in-waiting. Palmer is a rake wracked with unrequited love for her. Just as she’s enjoying her fictional world, in real-life things shift. Chase, from the wrong side of the tracks, wants to date her, and so does Palmer. Then her manuscript becomes public and her friends decide to teach Ellie a lesson about using her pen as a sword.

DIVING IN DEEP, Nora Ballew ( CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)  Just as her family’s troubles start to mount in their new home town, Kelly Eberly dives head first into a strict diet and rigorous swimming routine. Kelly wants nothing more than the “nice normal family” her mother talks about. Before long, even within the chaos that is the Eberly household, everyone is noticing her dramatic weight loss. Her aunt is praying. Her brother is lecturing. Even her new friends are studying her under a microscope. How thin is thin enough?

STOPPED COLD, Gail Pallotta ( CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)  Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid and is lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret is angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals who sold the drugs pay. Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean. They are walking a treacherous path and even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside of her, and open her heart to love.

     

Grace Filled Christmas Blog Tour Is Coming!!!

 

The excitement and wonder of Christmas beckons. Twenty-two very talented Christian authors have gotten together to do a Christmas blog tour sharing with readers tantalizing novels perfect for gifting. Then again, when the rush of the season gets to be nearly overwhelming, why not simply curl up with one of these terrific novels and a cup of hot chocolate for a great holiday read.

The tour begins on Saturday, November 3rd and ends on Saturday, December 22nd. Below is a link which will provide the entire schedule. Why not try to visit each author to discover what wonderful Christian fiction is being showcased?

TOUR CALENDAR

https://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/grace-filled-christmas-blog-tour-2012/

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