Grace Awards

Expanding the Tent Pegs of Christian Fiction

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Grace Awards 2016 Winners ~ in Faith Based Fiction

Grace Awards Badge 2016The Grace Awards, a reader driven awards and the most democratic awards in Christian fiction, now in its seventh year, is very proud to announce its 2016 WINNERS. This year we had an array of widely diverse judges. They are 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 element

You Are The Cream In My Coffee

YOU ARE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE by Jennifer Lamont Leo (Smitten Historical Romance) ~ The author has a lively writing voice and captivated the judges’ attention from the start. Set in the roaring twenties era, YOU’RE THE CREAM IN MY COFFEE was fresh and fun as small town girl, Marjorie Corrigan, is swept into the frenzied world of 1928 Chicago. The story has the usual cast of characters, stepmother, the hometown love and the exciting new man. We found ourselves rooting for Marjorie to follow her dreams yet fearful that she would succumb to the vices of the day. For a young woman who had sworn that coffee was the strongest drink that would pass her lips, the temptations were real. The author adroitly illustrated how easily we can let our guard down on the little things until we end up on the roof of a speakeasy being raided by the authorities. Jennifer Leo didn’t force the action but allowed it to evolve with interesting twists and she totally sold the story.

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

A Reluctant Melody

A RELUCTANT MELODY  by Sandra Ardoin (Heritage Beacon Fiction) ~ This beautiful story appeals to the heart. Though it started out slowly, we were never bored, but intrigued by the unfolding narrative, the promise of secrets to be revealed. We were soon gripped by the suspense, action, and strong undercurrent of romance, and drawn into the lives of the central characters. Though the subject matter is definitely mature, dealing with alcoholism, premarital sex, and spousal abuse, the writer keeps it clean. The interwoven spirituality inspires and encourages. We were very pleased with the ending—it’s not tied up in a pretty little bow—almost like real life.

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

Much Ado About Murder

MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER by Barbara Ellen Brink (Lapdog Publishing) ~ is a well-written, entertaining cozy mystery. The characters are believable and feel like people you might know in your own town. Blake and Shelby are charming main characters, just the right mix of strengths and weaknesses to keep the pace moving and the plot plausible. Alice and Tucker provide a light, romantic thread while Jack and Oliver add a touch of humor. The setting is presented well and the mystery progresses at a steady pace that keeps the pages turning.

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

The Alliance

THE ALLIANCE by Jolina Petersheim (Tyndale House Publishers) ~ This was a very enjoyable book. The use of literary techniques, together with strong, well-developed characters and an engaging premise, made for an interesting read. Unlikely partners were forced to form an “alliance’ of necessity, forcing readers to ask the question, “Would I be able to preserve my core values when faced with horror on every side?” This story expertly demonstrates the struggles that Christians face between religious traditional practice and selfless, Christ-like spirituality. While dystopian in presentation, the author’s focus was on the budding relationship between the two mismatched main characters. The book exemplifies the difficulty in maintaining human dignity despite destruction and possible death. A sequel is anticipated.

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

Imperfect Bonds

IMPERFECT BONDS by Elizabeth Noyes (Write Integrity Press) ~ This novel  struck us as having well-formed, even complicated characters. They could be moody, funny, full of snap and wit, and sometimes just confused, like most people. The set up was immediate, and the sense of danger quickly drew us into the story. There were plenty of twists that kept us entertained and easily turning the pages. Likewise, good rising and falling action kept the plot moving forward, and the romance was smoldering without actually going anywhere beyond a kiss. The book was written from a clean and Christian world view without becoming preachy, and we liked that the main characters were on both spiritual and personal journeys. The theme of fighting human trafficking and the hunt for the bad guys made for an engaging, modern day western read.

Young Adult: includes YA, NA, and middle grade

No Safe Haven

NO SAFE HAVEN by Angela Moody (Amazon Digital Services) is a well-researched, well thought out, based on true events, historical novel for young people. A truly enjoyable book, especially to Civil War buffs. The history and spirituality of Tillie was naturally woven into the story. The war was made very real to the reader: people started out excited, but that excitement dwindled as loved ones were lost and battles were fought at home. Many young people are unaware of what our country has gone through in the past and just how gruesome and heartbreaking it was for the families who lived in the war zones and had sons and husbands off fighting often without communication for months at a time.  It was enjoyable watching Tillie grow and mature as a young woman, facing whatever came her way, even things that were out of her control. She stood up to do what was right and grew spiritually because of that.

 

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Grace Awards Summer Book Bash ~ day four

 

GA Book Bash, Dock

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

GA Book Bash, Dock

 

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.

FAITH IN THE SHADOWS by Sadie and Sofie Cuffe ~ winter setting

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. The setting is a post-Civil War winter, so get yourself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle up with this historical read that will engage your mind and your heart. Perfect for Christmas reading or gifting. FAITH IN THE SHADOWS. And don’t we need faith in this wonderful season of promise, as we do in every season?

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The purple birthmark on her cheek brands Alice Wainwright a spinster. When her fiancé bullies her at their engagement party, blind Civil War veteran Hawk steps out of the dark and becomes her champion. Torn between honor and need, Hawk comes to work for the Wainwright family. Friendship turns to love, but each is blinded by a dark secret. Can they face the truth about each other before they’re torn apart?

Xmas, Angel

Our little Christmas angel Gracie is eager to ask the charming, delightful, and sometimes inexplicable Cuffe sisters a few questions.

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

Sadie and Sophie:  Mary Did You Know? We love the line “When you’ve kissed your little Baby then you’ve kissed the face of God.” It’s humbling that our Savior left the glories of heaven to take on life as a human so He could save us all. (And we’re so grateful He did!)  As for performing artist, it’s a toss-up between Kenny Rogers and Kathy Mattea – both do an excellent job.

cuffe sisters

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

Sadie and Sophie:  Our decorations are eclectic, the accumulation of years of children and grandchildren’s contributions. And Sadie’s got a set of red and green tractor lights we put up around the office window. Sophie’s got some bling hanging from the wicked cool flamingo office deco, just to jazz it up a bit, although really, when has a flamingo ever needed jazzing?.

Gracie: Somehow the tractor lights and the flamingo doesn’t surprise me. (gives a wicked, oops an angelic grin)

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

Sadie and Sophie:  We always make up a ton of Aunt Mert’s Christmas bread. It’s a sweet bread, filled with brown sugar and cinnamon, rolled up into a tube and fashioned into a circle. Once baked we decorate it with white icing and top it with maraschino cherries and walnuts.

Christmas bread

Purchase Links:

Amazon/Kindle  http://amzn.to/JaW5wG

Barnes & Noble   http://bit.ly/1bA8aWa

Announcing Grace Awards 2012 Judges

Grace Awards Logo

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

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

 Deborah Kinnard, Grace Awards Vice-Chair and lead judge in this category has enjoyed a career that has encompassed Spanish translation, volunteer work at a crisis line, years in assorted ERs that don’t resemble the ones on TV, and a day job at a big Chicago teaching hospital. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), serving as Midwest Zone Director. In 2002 and 2003 she sold her first and second novels, POWERLINE and OAKWOOD to Treble Heart Books. ANGEL WITH A RAY GUN, ANGEL WITH A BACK HOE and DAMAGES are available from Desert Breeze.  ALOHA, MY LOVE, and POWERLINE, a reissue are available through Desert Breeze. SEASONS IN THE MIST was released by Sheaf House in April 2010 and was a Grace Awards 2011 Winner in Speculative Fiction. http://debkinnard.com/

Carol McClain is a multi-published author in the non-fiction market. Her work has appeared in God Still Answers Prayers, Significant Living, Evangel and others. As a long-time member of ACFW, she coordinates the courses offered throughout the year. She taught English for over thirty years and designed the AP English Language curriculum for her school. She created a local writers’ group, Foothills Ink and is a member of ACFW and the Adirondack Center for Writing. She writes a popular blog: Character Counts which can be found at the link below, and will soon launch an editing service. She lives in northern New York with her husband and over-active Springer spaniel. You can reach her at. http://carol-mcclain.blogspot.com

Christine Lindsay is the author of the Award-winning Shadowed in Silk. She writes historical inspirational novels with strong love stories, and takes pride in her Irish roots. Her great grandfather and grandfather worked as riveters in the Belfast shipyard, one of those ships her ancestors helped build was the Titanic. On her mother’s side it was stories of ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in India that seeded Christine’s long-time fascination with the British Raj and became the stimulus for her Twilight of the British Raj series.  Christine is excited about her new release this spring 2013, Book 2 of the Raj series called Captured by Moonlight. The Pacific coast of Canada, about 200 miles north of Seattle, is Christine’s home where she lives with her husband, David, and they enjoy the visits from their adult children and grandchildren. Like a lot of authors, Christine’s chief editor is her cat. www.christinelindsay.com

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

April GardnerApril W Gardner, lead judge in this category, is a multi-published historical romance author. She is also published in the children’s genre. Her book, “Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang,” won the 2012 Selah Award in youth fiction. April is the founder and senior editor of the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles and is an editor at Astraea Press She has been a military brat, missionary’s kid, and military spouse. After 21 years in various countries overseas, April happily resides in Georgia with her USAF husband and two sweet kiddos. In her free time, April enjoys organizing, baking, and DIY. www.aprilgardner.com

Janalyn VoightJanalyn Voigt credits her father with instilling in her a love of literature at an early age by reading classic novels as bedtime stories. Janalyn soon began creating her own stories, and when she was 12, a teacher noticed her storytelling ability. His encouragement helped Janalyn to later become a published novelist. Her unique blend of adventure, romance, suspense, and fantasy creates worlds of beauty and danger for readers. Beginning with DawnSinger, her epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, carries the reader into a land only imagined in dreams. Janalyn also writes historical romance novels, and will publish in that genre under Janalyn Irene Voigt. She is represented by Sarah Joy Freese of Wordserve Literary. Janalyn serves as a literary judge for several national contests and is an active book reviewer. Her nonfiction publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press (David C. Cook) and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with American Christian Fiction Writers and Northwest Christian Writers Association.   http://janalynvoigt.com

Marcy DyerMarcy G. Dyer is a Registered Nurse and suspense author. Like so many other writers, she began writing at a very young age. Her debut novel, Down & Out – Desert Winds Series Book One, is available now. The second book in the series, Out For Blood, will be released on 08/11/2013. In addition to writing, Marcy is a freelance editor. She does editing for individuals, Desert Breeze Publishing, and Prism Book Group. Marcy is an alumni of the Christian Writer’s Guild and long-time member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She hosts a small critique group for ACFW and is involved in two other critique groups. As followers of Jesus Christ, Marcy and her family are active members of Crossroads Fellowship in Odessa, Texas. She can be found at http://marcydyer.com/

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

Tammy Doherty, Grace Awards Vice-Chair and lead judge in this category, is the author of three inspirational Western romances, CELTIC CROSS, CLADDAUGH, and CELTIC KNOT. All three were rereleased last fall as eBooks and are also available in print. Her current projects are contemporary romantic suspense, set in a small town in central Massachusetts eerily similar to her hometown. Tammy lives on a small farm with her husband of 25+ years and their two children. Besides writing, she also manages the family perennial farm and works in customer service for a veterinary supply distributor. She is a reviewer for The Christian Pulse online magazine and has been a first-round judge in numerous contests for unpublished romance novelists. http://tammydoherty.com

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. Debra likes to write, weed and wander and is blessed to have the best family and friends in the world. She’s thankful each day that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor. Her work has finaled in the TARA, Great Expectations, Heart of the Rockies, Maggie; twice in the  Daphne du Maurier, and recently the category and Overall Winner of the Phoenix  Rattler. Not too bad considering she’s trying a mashup of gospel and . . .  gothic. www.debraemarvin.com  www.inkwellinspirations.blogspot.com/
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Suzanne D. Williams is a native Floridian, wife, mother, photographer, and writer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column forSteves-Digicams.com on the subject of digital photography, as well as devotionals and instructional articles for various blogs. She also does graphic design for self-publishing authors. To learn more about what she’s doing visit http://suzanne-williams-photography.blogspot.com/

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

Tracy Krauss
Tracy Krauss, Grace Awards Vice-Chair and lead judge in this category, is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests. She has several romantic suspense novels and stage plays in print. For more information visit her website at http://www.tracykrauss.com
Tim Akers
T.J. Akers has been an ordained minister for 19 years, fulfilling the roles of street preacher and sidewalk apologist, youth pastor, Bible school teacher, music minister, and senior pastor.  Though no longer pastoring, he is an active teacher and preacher. At his day job, he is an information technology professional at a state university where he shares the gospel with whomever will listen. In 2009 he completed a BA in Creative Writing and a MA in English in 2010. He jumps at the chance to adjunct teach courses like composition, literary fiction writing, genre fiction writing, literature, grammar, creative writing, science fiction, fantasy, children’s and young adult literature and poetry. T.J. Akers has published a treatise on the defense of children’s and young adult’s literature as genuine literature and teaching curriculum for evangelical churches in Russia. He has judged contests for Port Yonder Press, ACFW First Impressions Contest, and the Arizona Rattler’s (ACFW affiliate) Fiction Writers Club. His popularity as a writing coach and fiction judge is on the rise. As a life-long reader of mystery and suspense, he is very comfortable around the genre. https://www.facebook.com/tj.akers.35\
Shaunna Gonzales
A storyteller in her youth, Shaunna Gonzales, endeavored to extend her love of stories to the written word and in 2005 began to write her first novel. Though that manuscript will remain buried, she has continued to learn. Once told by her doctors that she would never leave her wheelchair — due to her Multiple sclerosis. It has been tucked in a closet while she continues pursuing an uninsured protocol to combat the disease. Shaunna has worked as a professional reviewer for InD’Tales eMagazine since its inception, in the spring of 2012. In 2012 she also served as the vice president of  Moonwriters, the on-line chapter of American Night Writers Association (ANWA). She can frequently be found lending her time to judging writing contests of both published novels and unpublished partial and full manuscripts. She prefers to write romantic fiction and has ventured into the Women’s fiction market as well as the inspirational, suspense, and time-travel genres. Her debut novel, Dark Days of Promise was released by Desert Breeze Publishing in 2012. Although she prefers to spend her days writing, she is willing to share what she has learned from the school of life and is often found “giving back.” Shaunna Gonzales currently resides with her family in the greater Seattle area. Married over twenty-seven years, her role as wife and mother of four continue to be her priorities. http://shaunnagonzales.blogspot.com/

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

Me, pix
Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi, Founder and Chair of the Grace Awards and lead judge in this category, started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (penciled might be more accurate) as a little girl 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. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 and 2012 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. BURNING HEARTS, the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, finaled in the Grace Awards 2011 Romance/Historical Romance category. GOODBYE NOEL, the second book in the series won the Grace Award 2011 in the Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller category. PERILOUS SHADOWS, third in the series released in July, 2012, and DARKEST HOUR, the fourth in the series released in February, 2013.  Nike is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). http://nikechillemi.wordpress.com/
Krisi Keley
 Krisi Keley is a writer and artist with a degree in theology from DeSales  University who has also studied foreign and classical languages. She’s the  author of the paranormal speculative fiction novels, On the Soul of a  Vampire and Pro Luce Habere and has published three English  translations of 19th century French stories, including Charles Barbara’s L’Assassinat du Pont-Rouge (The Red Bridge Murder). She currently works  as an editor, translator and book cover artist while writing Genesis, the  third book in her On the Soul series. http://onthesoulofavampire.com/
Kenneth Winters
Kenneth G. Winters  was born in Elmhurst, Queens, NY in 1950; graduated from Farmingdale High School, Farmingdale, NY, in 1968; from Houghton College, Houghton NY, in 1972, and received a Masters in 1976 from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  He met his wife, Connie, during my sophomore year of college and we married on August 19, 1972.  They have two grown daughters, Laura and Emily. After seminary, he served at the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Troy, NH, working with his mentor, Pastor Christian. In October, 1976 he became Youth Pastor at the First Congregational Church of N. Brookfield, MA. While serving there he founded a teen Christian music group called “True Direction.” They sang throughout the country and recorded an Album in 1981. He served there until 1984, when he received a commission from the US Navy Chaplain Corps. In the 20 years that followed, he served with Seabees, Marines, Surface and Submarine Fleets. At his Navy retirement ceremony, the pastor of his former church invited his to return as Associate Pastor. So, after 20 years in the Navy, Connie and he returned to their “homeport” in Massachusetts.  Since then he have served in that capacity, coordinating small-groups and other ministries. He published his first book, The Lost Crown of Colonnade in 2011. He’s currently working on the second book in the series, The Enchanted Bride of Colonnade. He keeps busy with his denomination, the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference (CCCC) and the Military Officers Association. He was a runner for many years. At 62, He’s replaced running with biking and kayaking.  Other interests include old books, praise music, playing guitar and piano. Ken Winters Blog Page
YOUNG ADULT (YA): appeals to ages 14 – 21ish
Lanny Smith
Lanny Smith, lead judge in this category, is a Christian high school teacher, a former “Class B+” surfer and a veteran of the US Air Force. He is the author of THE RADICAL RIDE, a Christian action-thriller and is now working on a screenplay of the novel.  Lanny currently lives in Florida with his wife and two of three children. You can contact him and learn more about THE RADICAL RIDE at www.TheRadicalRide.com.
Deborah Anderson
As a young girl, Deborah K. Anderson loved to read Nancy Drew mysteries, books like Old Yeller (which still make her cry), and humorous novels. When she became a teenager, she also became a closet poet, until she showed one of her works to a high school teacher. He suggested that she pursue writing. After finishing high school, though, she devoted much of her time to her ailing father. Soon after his death, she continued her education at a local college. Her studies included interpersonal communications, nursing, and medical terminology. But, something was still missing. In 2000, she left her job to care for her elderly mother. During that time, Deborah remembered her teacher’s words. Within four years, she took the plunge and began writing. And with each story she penned, she began to feel whole. Since then, she has written for Focus on the Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and as a monthly columnist for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. She also competed in a novel competition held by Christian Writers of the West (CWOW), an affiliate of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). Her supernatural suspense entry, Tale of a Man, was a finalist in the young adult category. Deborah recently completed Rapha’s Remnant, a supernatural suspense novel for young adults. She is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), and YALITCHAT.org. Married for 31 years, Deborah and her husband enjoy country living in the Midwest. When she’s not writing, she spends her time rescuing cats (and feeding lots of other stray critters), reading novels, and taking nature walks. You can reach Deborah at: deborah@deborahkanderson.com.
 Author Photo
Aileen Stewart is the award winning author of the children’s books Fern Valley- A Collection of Short Stories, a public speaker, amateur photographer, and a blogger. In addition, she hosts writing workshops for children and holds a degree in Business Administration and a certificate in Sales and Marketing. She resides in lovely Shelby, Ohio with her beautiful daughter, wonderful husband, and their crazy cat Max. Besides writing, she loves to cook, quilt, craft, garden, travel, bird-watch, assemble puzzles, go Geocaching, and volunteer at her daughter’s school and her local library. Her motto is “Kids Who Read Can Do Anything” which was inspired by her late father, the man who instilled in her a love for the written word.  http://www.funwithaileen.com
The Grace Awards is a reader driven awards. Reader voting began on December 31st and ends on February 28th.

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