Teen Boys & Men Have Enjoyed These Grace Awards Winners & Finalists ~ Fall Spotlight

The Grace Awards has a motto or tagline: expanding the tent pegs of Christian fiction. Readers have commented, and so we know one area in which we’ve achieved this has been in the number of our winners and finalists enjoyed by men and boys. We’ve also had male writers among our winners and finalist, as well as few male judges over the years.

ASCENT OF THE NEBULA (The Chronotrace Sequence, Book 3) by DJ Edwardson [Girrafix Media] Reengineering the human race, fast-paced, http://amzn.to/2zBbQdC

ACOLYTE (Winter, Book 3) by Keven Newsome [Splashdown Darkwater] ~ FBI, action-packed, spiritual warfare and prophecy. http://amzn.to/2hw2f0S

THE ALLIANCE by Jolina Petersheim [Tyndale House Publishers] ~ Dystopian plus Amish mixes hope and faith with cynacism and fear.  http://amzn.to/2yyrz9N

THE BATTLE OF SEATTLE by Doughlas Bond [P&R Publishing] ~ 1855 in the Pacific Northwest and hostility between white settlers and native tribes. http://amzn.to/2iTRC4P

THE REVOLT: A Novel in Wycliffe’s Englan by Douglas Bond [P&R Publishing] ~ 14th C Bloody battles, charges of heresy, translating the Bible into English. http://amzn.to/2zBRsJb

STORMING: A Dieselpunk Adventure by K. M. Weiland [PenForASword Publishing] ~ 1920s aviation meets retro-futuristic technology. http://amzn.to/2mnziWn

A NEW THREAT (The Psygen Chronicles, Vol 1)  by Aaron DeMott [AltWit Press] ~ Somewhere between Star Trek and Star Wars. http://amzn.to/2yxyZdn

TWO DAYS IN CARACAS (A Titus Ray Thriller)  by Luana Ehrlich [Potter’s Word Press] ~ CIA, Central America, assassination. http://amzn.to/2yY9CG0

ONE NIGHT IN TEHRAN (A Titus Ray Thriller) by Luane Ehrlich [Potter’s Word Publishing] ~ CIA, Middle East, espionage. http://amzn.to/2AGEaJm

JESSIE by Rebekah Lyn [Real Life Books & Media] ~ Abused boy dreams of space missions, NASA. Viet Nam War era. http://amzn.to/2zDMU4T

THE RISING by Lynn Chandler Willis [Pelican Book Group] ~ A little boy wakes from the dead, is there a scientific reason or is it spernatural? http://amzn.to/2hpkqlf

BROKEN ALLEGIANCE [A Tom Kagan Novel], Mark Young (Mark Young Books) ~ Contemporary detective novel, smartly written crime story. http://amzn.to/2yXjdwy

MERLIN’S BLADE (The Merlin Spiral, Book 1) by Robert Treskillard [Blink] ~ Merlin’s Greatest Weakness Could Become His Greatest Strength. http://amzn.to/2mqnUJJ

BURNING SKY (A Novel of the American Frontier) by Lori Benton [Waterbrook Press] ~ 18th C America, a clash between setters and Native American culture. http://amzn.to/2yZfH4P

WINTER by Keven Newsome [Splashdown Darkwater] ~ Winter didn’t ask for the gift of prophecy. She’s happy being a freak. http://amzn.to/2AGCb81

BACK ON MURDER (A Roland March Mystery, Book 1) by J. Mark Bertrand [Bethany House] ~ Contemporary detective story,  police procedural, authentic. http://amzn.to/2zH8Jif

KESTREL’S MIDNIGHT SONG by J. R. Parker [Flamin Pen Press] ~ Fantasy in a medieval land not on earth. fast-paced, complex. Teenage author.  http://amzn.to/2zyDFU2

 

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Announcing Grace Awards 2015 Judges

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Grace Awards

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

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

Cr2012

Naomi Musch [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge] loves a great story, whether historical or contemporary. She writes from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where lives with her husband and family as epically as God allows. She has worked as an editor, as a staff writer for an EPA award-winning Christian newspaper, and has published dozens of magazine and internet articles for the encouragement of homeschooling families and young writers. Naomi currently serves on the board of directors of the Wisconsin Writers’ Association. She loves engaging with others and always discovering kernels of a new story. She is available for speaking and book groups. Her eighth novel, The Love Coward released from Desert Breeze Publishing in 2015. Website,  FB: Naomi Musch – Author Twitter: NMusch

debra-e-marvin

Debra E. Marvin is a member of ACFW, Sisters in Crime, and serves on the board of Bridges Ministry in Seneca Falls, NY. She’s one of the founders of Inkwell Inspirations Blog. In 2015, she released her first two novellas, “Alarmingly Charming” in Austen in Austen Vol 1 from WhiteFire Publishing, and “Desert Duet” from Forget Me Not Romances. Her unpublished successes included contest finals in The Fab Five, The Maggie Awards, the TARA, Great Expectations, Heart of the Rockies, twice in the Daphne DuMaurier, and the overall winner of the Phoenix Rattler. Debra works as a program assistant at Cornell University in upstate NY, and enjoys time with family and grandchildren, obsessively buying fabric, watching British programming and traveling with her childhood friends. Twitter, Facebook, Website, Pinterest, blogging at Inkwell Inspirations

Onisha Ellis

Onisha Ellis fell in love with reading in the second grade. Her favorite books were biographies written about the childhood of famous leaders and explorers. She believes that is why she prefers to read character driven novels and is especially excited to be judging women’s fiction/general fiction. When she is not reading she is a blogger for Old Things R New.

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

Deborah KinnardDeborah Kinnard [Grace Awards Board Member, Lead Judge] started writing at age ten, hacked off because “Bonanza” lacked a ten year old girl with her own pony. From adventures on the Ponderosa, she moved to teenage angsty love stories and dreadful poetry. After a career that embraced feeding basketball players breakfast, coping with el-ed majors and various ERs different from the ones on TV, she married the man of her dreams and raised two active girls amongst the books. She sold her first novel, POWERLINE, in 2002 and fifteen others since. Her most recent published series is with Desert Breeze Publishing, called “Seasons of Destiny.” It includes SEASONS IN THE MIST (now available), and the upcoming SEASONS OF RECKONING and SEASONS OF HOPE. Indie-published titles include the “City Lights” series, which tell tales of pop music stars and the people they love. Deb enjoys beadwork, travel, and music. She sings with a medieval/renaissance singing group, Court and Country. While traveling, she loves to people-watch. So if you meet a short-round woman with an acquisitive light in her eye…

Betty Thomason Owens

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers.Her writing credits include Annabelle’s Ruth, Book 1, Kinsman Redeemer Series (2015), a 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series (2014), both through Write Integrity Press. Carlotta’s Legacy, Book 2 of the Legacy Series is due in the Spring of 2016. She writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor and Unlikely Merger, (2015). She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale BooksTM, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell PressTM. Webstie. Amazon Author Page.

Joy-DeKokJoy DeKok started to dream about being a writer when she was four years old. When her mom read to her at night, she fell asleep excited for the day she’d put her own words on the pages. She is an avid reader and finds that immersing herself in books, she becomes a better writer. When asked which is more important to her, she is quick to declare, “Both. In my life, the two are essential and intertwined.” When Joy came to faith in Christ when she was fifteen, the first thing she did was to write about her experience in poetry. Books by her include Under His Wings (devotional), 2 novels; Rain Dance (contemporary Christian fiction) and Between the Lies (Suspense), and three kids books: It Is Good, Room For Bandit, and Raccoon Tales. Joy and her husband live on thirty-five acres of wildflower fields and woods. Besides reading and writing, Joy enjoys taking her dogs, Sophie and Tucker, for long John Deere Gator rides. She an amateur photographer and loves the way God whispers His love for her in His creation. Website.

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

Tammy Doherty

Tammy Doherty [Grace Awards Board Member and Lead Judge] is the author of several Christian/Inspy novels, two of which have been on Amazon’s best-selling list. Her first three novels are historical romance with a touch of suspense; the fourth book, SHE’S MINE, is a contemporary romantic suspense set in a small town in central Massachusetts. In addition to being a founding member and lead judge for Grace Awards, she is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers. Ms. Doherty lives on a small farm in central MA with her husband and two children, where they grow and sell perennial plants.

Peggy Phifer

Peggy Blann Phifer retired from an executive assistant position after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale industry in Las Vegas, Nevada. She came to writing later in life when a prayer she wrote appeared in 2000, in a two-volume Guideposts Book compilation, ‘Prayers for Every Need.’ Her indie-published debut novel, ‘To See the Sun,’ released in January 2012. Since then, her writing has appeared in a number of anthology series’ in 2013-15, and she is now writing a series of her own called ‘Sweetwater River.’ Peg’s second novel, ‘Somehow, Christmas Will Come,’ originally released in November 2014, has been redesigned and was re-released in December 2015.Widowed in October 2012, Peg now makes her home in NW Wisconsin near her three children, six grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), loves writing, reading, crochet, needlepoint, and coloring in an adult coloring book of Mandala patterns. Follow her blog “Whispers in Purple,” and on Facebook, Twitter @pegphifer, and Pinterest.

Carol McClain

Diverse. If one word can describe Carol McClain, it’s diverse and had been long before diversity became such a ‘PC’ buzz word. She’s a novelist, essayist, and erstwhile poet (Be glad it’s erstwhile and no longer current). She hales from northern New York—so far north, she’s almost Canadian. Eh? She plays the bassoon, creates stained glass, cross-country skis, and is a former marathoner and high ropes instructor. For more than thirty years, she taught English, and she now teaches Bible studies, and edits for fun. In addition to this, she has served on the North Country Habitat for Humanity board for over ten years. In that capacity, she’s held every position except those having to do with money. She may be able to tell you the definitions sesquipedalian, but simple addition baffles her. She is course coordinator for ACFW. And of course, she writes. She’s completed four novels, with DWF: Divorced White Female being her debut.

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

Tracy Krauss

Tracy Krauss [Grace Awards Board Member and Lead Judge] is a multi-published novelist, playwright, and artist with several award winning and Amazon best selling novels, novellas, stage plays, and devotionals in print as well as one illustrated children’s book. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from the U of Sask. and teaches secondary school Art, English and Drama. She and her husband, an ordained pastor, have four grown children, one granddaughter, and have lived in many remote and interesting places in Canada’s far north. They currently reside in Tumbler Ridge, B.C. where Tracy continues to teach, direct, write and pursue all of her creative interests. Author Website.

cuffe sisters

Sadie & SophieCuffe have written six novels and three novellas, and have a new cozy mystery coming out from Five Star Publishing in January 2017. In addition to freelance writing, the Cuffe sisters run a small farm in downeast Maine’s Unorganized Territory. They bring Jane-of-all-trades life experiences to their work, and believe God gave them this background to write squarely to the heart of real women who don’t always wear a size two, and who prefer boots and flannel to high heels and the little black dress. They believe with God anything is possible; and that some of the best stories aren’t hatched in creative writing class, they’re composed on the seat of a tractor. Facebook author page. Their blog/books.

Karin Kaufman

Karin Kaufman writes mysteries, thrillers, and children’s books. Although her mysteries and thrillers are written from a Christian perspective, they don’t downplay the evil we confront in this world—or the isolation Christians sometimes feel in what is a largely secular culture. But she rejects the notion that “edgy” books should be dark or oppressive. Because there is also goodness in this world—love, friendship, laughter, faithful dogs, piping hot cups of coffee—and it’s every bit as real as the evil. The Witch Tree, the first in her Anna Denning mystery series, was a finalist for a 2011 Grace Award. Karin lives near the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with Dakota Grace, her crazy but lovable rez rescue dog. You can find Karin on her Facebook author page, at http://www.facebook.com/authorkarinkaufman, or her website.

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

Moi 3

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi [Chair and Founder of Grace Awards, Lead Judge] started at a very young age. Her first major work was a Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned as a little girl (colored might be more accurate) about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better. Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chair, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She has been a judge in the 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories; and an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series (out of print), set in the mid-1940s has finaled, won an award, and garnered critical acclaim. The first novel in her Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes trilogy, HARMFUL INTENT, won in the Grace Awards 2014 Mystery/Romantic Suspense/Thriller/Historical Suspense category. She has written book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and John 3:16 Marketing Network. BlogFB profile.Get her novels at her Amazon author page.

Barbara E Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author of mystery, suspense, and young adult novels. Apart from writing, she is a wife, mother, and dog walker. She grew up on a small farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota with her husband and their dog, Willow. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to ride motorcycles, visit local wineries, and catch up on the latest movies. She is the author of the women’s fiction mystery series, The Fredrickson Winery Novels; a humorous young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy; and Inspirational suspense novels, Running Home and Alias Raven Black. Her speculative/thriller, Split Sense, won the 2011 Grace Award. She is currently working on the second book in her newest series, Double Barrel Mysteries. Author Website/Blog.

Marcy Dyer 2

Marcy G. Dyer is a Registered Nurse and suspense author. Like so many other writers, she began writing at a very young age, but never took herself seriously as a “real” writer until about ten years ago when she began taking courses and learning the craft of writing.She currently has four novels from the Desert Winds Series available: Down & Out, Out for Blood, Blood & Lies. Lies & Alibis and is working on Marcy Dyer two new series: The Horde and The Lucky Series.Marcy has served as a judge for the Grace Awards, ACFW Genesis Contest, ACFW First Impressions Contest, ACFW Carol Awards, and the Olympia Contest.

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

Fay Lamb

Fay Lamb [Lead Judge] is an editor, writing coach, and author, whose emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted two series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse and Libby the first two novels in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series have been released. Fay has also collaborated on two Christmas novella projects: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, and A Ruby Christmas, and the Write Integrity Press romance novella series, which includes A Dozen Apologies, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast. Future releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Hope and Delilah, Books 3 and 4 from The Ties that Bind.Fay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads. Anyone interested in learning more about Fay’s freelance editing and her coaching should contact her at fay@faylamb.com.

Ruth O'Neil 1

Ruth O’Neil was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Houghton College. She has been a freelance writer/editor for more than twenty years. She has published hundreds of articles in dozens of publications as well as publishing a few books. She has spent the last few years working in publishing, working closely with writers editing their books and preparing them for print. Teaching Writer’s Forums to help want-to-be authors break into print with either freelancing or book publishing has been one of her passions. A couple of years ago she began teaching writing classes at a local homeschool co-op. Here she now teaches younger writers to develop their own freelancing career, write their own novel, or create their own picture book. Teaching the next generation of writers is probably the most fun she’s ever had! You can visit her on her blog, or on her website.

Rebekah LynRebekah Lyn writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. She currently has six novels published and is working on number seven. Her novel, Jessie, won the Grace Award for YA Fiction in 2015 as well as the Patrick D Smith Literary Award, and was listed as one of Shelf Unbound’s Notable Books of 2014. An early love of history, research and journaling led naturally to a passion for writing. Even at an early age, she immersed herself into her favorite hobbies of reading, writing and dreaming. A God-given talent of insight and skill, and a big dose of His courage, led her into a desire to live her dream.

THE GRACE AWARDS BOARD WILL ANNOUNCE WINNERS IN ALL SIX CATEGORIES ON MAY, 31st.

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.

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.

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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