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 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 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 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/
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, 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
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\
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
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 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 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, 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.
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: email@example.com.
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.