Grace Awards

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And The Grace Awards 2017 Finalists are…

Grace Awards

The Grace Awards 2017 is now into its eight year. This year, the number of reader nominations kept pouring in and we were eager to count them. We had a record number of novels nominated. Works from major publishers, small publisher, and independent author were nominated.

Grace Awards is a reader driven literary awards. We are “the little engine that could” of Christian fiction awards.

According to the rules, every novel had to have been accompanied by at least a 45+ word statement telling why the story was nominated…a sort of mini-review or critique. This year the reasons given were astute and outstanding. There is no doubt that today’s Christian reader is both intelligent and perceptive.

And now…the finalists in six categories are…

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

GRACE IN STRANGE DISGUISE by Christine Dillon (Amazon Digital Services) ~ Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small?

WHERE THE SKY MEETS THE SAND by Chris Loehmer Kincaid (Ambassador International) ~ The story of Jenny Neumeyer and Ole, a homeless boy she befriends while she and her husband are on vacation in Kenya. As she comes to terms with a secret in her past, two missionaries to Africa discover discover Ole and are determined to lead him home. Along the way, they realize that the boy is not the only one who is lost.

THE AUSTEN ESCAPE by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson) ~ Mary Davies finds safety in her ordered and productive life.  When Mary’s estranged childhood friend, Isabel Dwyer offers her a two-week stay in a gorgeous manor house in England, she reluctantly agrees. Then Isabel loses her memory and fully believes she lives in Jane Austen’s Bath.

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

MAGNOLIA STORMS by Janet Ferguson (Southern Sun Press) ~ Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

HOLD THE LIGHT by April McGowan (WhiteFire Publishing) ~ Amber spent her life adapting—first to being abandoned by her birth mother as a toddler, and then to the death of her adoptive father in her teen years. Now she’s moved past all that, loving life as an independent woman: she has a job as an art instructor and the perfect apartment. But when a routine eye appointment reveals she’s losing her sight, life comes to a halt. Even after her blindness counselor, Ethan, befriends her and opens her eyes to new opportunities and the possibility of a deeper relationship.

FINDING JOY by Melanie D. Snitker (Dallionz Media) ~ A horrific accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. The beautiful new employee his mom hires is the last thing he needs and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the girl quit and regain the peace and quiet he prefers. Nothing short of desperation would force Chelsea Blake to work on a local cattle ranch. She may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed is stronger than her handsome employer’s efforts at forcing her to leave. Unprepared to discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they might find joy beyond measure.

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

MIDSUMMER MADNESS by Barbara E. Brink (Barbara Ellen Brink) ~ When Blake and Shelby Gunner are hired to find a stolen fishing boat, they never expect it will turn into a murder investigation. But after Jack’s dog, Arthur, discovers a stranger’s body in the water not far from the bed & breakfast, the Gunners are pulled in to solve the case. Discovering the man’s identity and why he was in town leads to a murky past with connections to a number of upstanding Port Scuttlebutt citizens. Can Blake and Shelby stop a killer before someone else is pulled beneath the waves of madness?

ANDER’S REDEMPTION by Mary Vee (CreateSpace) ~ A young man with a brain injury but who can do amazing things with dessert is offered a job as a pastry chef in a prestigious restaurant in a village and it comes with an apartment.The longer he stays the more Brice begins to think something is going on. Can Brice figure out the village’s secret before Christmas?

THE HOUSE ON FOSTER HILL by Jaime Jo Wright (Bethany House Publishers) ~ Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide. 

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

WINTER QUEEN by Erica Marie Hogan (Elk Lake Publishing) ~ She will bring a storm like none they’ve ever seen … and change the world forever. Five years ago, Roderick Kael murdered King Vihaan Sundragon, claiming the throne of Sunkai and all of Nfaros for himself. Five years ago, the Princesses Adlae, Mirae, and Brae were forced to give up everything they’ve ever known. Five years since the Creator of All allowed winter’s snow to fall. But now the wind stirs with a familiar chill. Winter is coming down from the Ice Mountains, brought by the only one who can wield the storm. The Winter Queen herself.

THE REVISIONARY by Kristen Hogrefe (Write Integrity Press) ~ Nineteen-year-old Portia Abernathy plans to earn a Dome seat and rewrite the Codex rules to rescue her exiled brother. Her journey demands answers from the past civilization, but uncovering the truth means breaking the rules she set out to rewrite. This dystopian story opens in Cube 1519, a ghetto where the only use for obsolete cell phones is to throw them like rocks at mongrels. Portia and her father survive like many other citizens, with no electricity or technology and no expectation for a better life.

WHITE WOLF AND THE ASH PRINCESS by Tammy Lash (Amazon Digital Services)  ~ Memory loss prohibits Izzy from remembering her life before age seven when she was injured in a fire. Jonathan Gudwyne rescued her and took Izzy in, but who did she belong to before? Crippling panic keeps Izzy from wandering beyond the stables but Tubs, the young stable boy, encourages Izzy to go beyond the property’s rock wall to a world that promises possible answers, but also great danger. A scorched castle in the woods and a mysterious cellar filled with secrets sets Izzy on a path to the New World, where she will not only have to face her own terror but face the people responsible for her scars.

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

THE HEALING HILLS by Ann H. Gabhart (Revell) ~ Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the WWII soldier she planned to marry tells her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service. Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.

THE RELIANT by Dr. Patrick Johnston (Ambassador International) ~ When the dollar collapses, widespread rioting and looting threaten the peace of a family in Zanesville, Ohio. Eight children tragically lose their parents in the chaos. The oldest, 19-year-old lovesick Sophie, is forced to care for her defenseless and hungry siblings in a stretch of woods surrounded by lawless anarchy. Their father has been killed, and their mother and Adam, Sophie’s fiancé, have gone missing. Running out of food and facing threats from encroaching marauders, they are tempted to doubt God’s love. 

AGAINST THE ODDS by V.B. Tenery and David Arp (CBC Publishing) ~ It was the mother of all bad days.The date, September 11,  2012. The place, Benghazi, Libya. While a brave band of warrior’s fight for their lives in the consulate and CIA annex, outside, a Mossad Agent, a missionary, and a Mississippi giant fight a different battle. Caught between terrorist and an enraged Russian arms dealer, they must complete the mission and manage to stay alive until they can escape or tAhe cavalry arrives. Never assume things can’t get worse.

YOUNG ADULT: (including Middle Grade and New Adult)

KNEE-HIGH LIES by Dawn Ford (Splickety Publishing Group) ~ What happens when the lies you tell grow so high you can’t see the truth? To the outside world Avery Denton’s life looks happy, normal even. But it isn’t. Not even close. She believes nothing can make it worse. When her mother skips town with their banker, the small-town gossips focus on her. Jaxson Stewart, Avery’s neighbor and friend, has had a crush on her for years. She makes his heart race, which is dangerous for a boy with a heart condition. Unlike their community, he refuses to hold her mother’s actions against her.

A TRAIL OF CRUMBS by Susie Finkbeiner (Kregel Publications) ~ Spence has been through more in her young life than most folks could handle. Then a devastating tragedy throws the whole family into a tailspin–and signals the beginning of the end of her secure life. Now the Spences are fleeing their Oklahoma wasteland for an unknown life in Depression-era Michigan. Pearl isn’t sure she’ll ever see home or happiness again. Will any trail of crumbs be powerful enough to guide her back to the dependable life she once knew?

MISSION OF A LIFETIME by Priscilla J. Krahn (Ambassador International) ~ A missing airplane . . . Hostile tribes . . . Mysterious kidnappings . . .Responsibility falls upon twenty-one-year-old William Rodriguez when his missionary parents disappear in the hostile jungles of Columbia. Willie knows that he has to go find them, but what will it cost him? When Willie finds himself in the midst of a drug smuggling ring, difficult decisions are thrust upon him. Can he escape his captors before his family is killed? Can he find forgiveness in his heart for the very people who ruined his life or will it only bring back more painful memories? Will he be able to survive the mission of a lifetime?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Announcing Grace Awards 2014 Judges

Grace Awards

 

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

 

 

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

Deb KinnardDeb Kinnard [Grace Awards Board Member and 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 twelve others since. Her most recent published series is with Desert Breeze Publishing, called “The Faith Box.” PEACEWEAVER, set in the era of Viking raids in 973 Wales; THE HEALING TREE, a tale of 1353 Cornwall; and WHEN THE ROSES BLOOMED, a star-crossed lovers story with a happy ending, set in the chaos of 1485 England. More recently she’s embarked on direct-to-reader publishing with the “City Lights” series. This contemporary romance continuity deals with the crazy-busy world of pop singing stars: LOVE ONLY KNOWS, FALLING SLOWLY, and A HOME FOR THE HEART, just released in February 2015. Deb enjoys beadwork and music. She sings with a medieval/renaissance singing group, Court and Country. She loves to travel and is a constant people watcher. So if you meet a short-round woman with an acquisitive light in her eye…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADebra 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 mystery mashup of gospel and . . . gothic.

Paula RoseAuthor Paula Rose brings an “average” family into extraordinary situations, brushes with life-size strokes of reality, adding just a touch of humor, and coats with suspense inside Christian fiction. Paula’s research gives readers a panoramic view from law enforcement and lends to character authenticity. She enjoys writing in the romantic suspense, suspense, and mystery genres, but when she’s not writing, Paula Rose is playing amateur photographer. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

 

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

Tammy DohertyTammy 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.

Joy Ross DavisJoy Ross Davis is a retired college English professor with a passion for exploring the unique and unusual mysteries of life. In addition to writing and teaching, she has worked as a travel writer and photographer in Ireland. To date, she has worked with Helping Hands Press to publish five novellas. She has also published a cozy supernatural mystery novel. She lives in Alabama with her son and three beloved rescue dogs.

Betty Thomason OwensBetty 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 also a mentor, assisting other writers. She is a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers, and a contributing editor for the soon-to-be launched online magazine, Imaginate. Her 20’s era romance, AMELIA’S LEGACY, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequel, The Love Boat Bachelor, releasing January 26, 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. Coming up next, a 1950’s historical novel based on the Book of Ruth, ANNABELLE’S RUTH, Book 1, Ruth Series (Write Integrity Press).

 

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

Cr2012Naomi Musch [Grace Awards Board Member and Lead Judge] loves a great story, whether historical or contemporary. She writes from a ramshackle farm in the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she 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, will release from Desert Breeze Publishing in May 2015.

Carol McClainDiverse. 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.

Peggy Blann PhiferPeggy Blann Phifer retired from an executive assistant position after twenty-one years in the Electrical Wholesale industry. She came to writing later in life when a prayer she wrote appeared in a two-volume Guideposts Book compilation, ‘Prayers for Every Need,’ in 2000. She self-published her debut novel, TO SEE THE SUN, which released in January 2012. Her writing has appeared in three anthologies in 2014 with Helping Hands Press, with a fourth coming up. A novel she just completed, SOMEHOW, CHRISTMAS WILL COM, released in November 2014, from Elk Lake Publishing.Widowed in October 2012, Peg now makes her home in northern Wisconsin in a home she bought together with her daughter and son-in-law. The three of them share the house with one dog, and one grand-dog. She converted a third of the house into a cozy ‘apartment’ where she spends most of her time writing. Peg has three children, six grandchildren, eleven great-grandchildren, and numerous other grand-dogs and great-grand-dogs.

 

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

Tracy KraussTracy 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.

Tim AkersT.J. Akers wants to be a multi-millionaire when he grows up and give his wealth away to his favorite causes—churches, schools, and animal shelters. Since the millions have been slow in coming, he’s settled for working in a public university as a computer technician, volunteering at church and the local animal shelter, doing honey do projects for his wife, and writing stories to entertain people, especially younger readers.His full-length fiction has been honored by the American Christian Fiction Writers Association as a 2012 First Impressions Finalist, a 2013 Genesis Award finalist, and a 2014 Genesis Award semi-finalist. His short story’ Entertaining Angels’ was a finalist in the 2014 Writers on the Storm contest sponsored by the Texas chapter of the ACFW. His short story ‘Necessary Evil’ has been published in the science fiction anthology No Revolution Too Big, (Helping Hands Press – April 2014). While the short story ‘Elfanticide’, a jointly authored project with Lisa Godfrees, is due out this year in the anthology Tides of Imagination (Skipjack Press). T.J. holds a masters degree in English from Minnesota State University-Mankato and can often be found roaming that university’s library on his lunch break, especially the children’s and young adult sections. Librarians have always been his heroes. He lives with his wife of twenty-nine years in southern Minnesota.

Lisa GodfriesLisa Godfrees is a former forensic scientist. Tired of technical writing, she hung up her lab coat to pen speculative fiction while taking classes at Dallas Theological Seminary. She is the author of several short stories, and her first manuscript was a 2013 Genesis Contest finalist. Lisa works part-time in the Creative Arts Ministry at her church and serves as the President of the newly formed ACFW group in Houston, Texas.

 

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

Moi 2Nike Chillemi [Grace Awards Founder and Chair, and Lead Judge] like so many authors, started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored 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. Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT released in the spring of 2014 under the auspices of her own publishing company, Crime Fictionista Press and has gained acclaim.

Kenneth WintersKenneth G. Winters grew up on Long Island, NY. He received his BA from Houghton College, where he met his wife Connie. They live in North Brookfield, MA and have two grown daughters. After seminary, Kenneth served at the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Troy, NH. In 1976, he became the youth pastor at First Congregational Church of North Brookfield, MA. In 1984, he received a commission from the US Navy Chaplain Corps. In the following 20 years, he served with Seabees, Marines, Surface and Submarine fleets. After his retirement from the Navy, he returned to his home church in Massassachusetts as Associate Pastor. Over the span of his career, he founded a teen Christian music group and and two other groups which toured and recorded. He now keeps busy with his denomination, CCCC, the Military Officers Association, and the American Legion.

V. B. TeneryAuthor V. B. Tenery lives with her family in East Texas Her passion is writing novels with shinning characters, settings, and plots so exciting readers can’t put them down and they come away feeling delighted with the reading experience—honoring God in the process. Not content to stay in one genre, her novels range from contemporary suspense and supernatural suspense, to an upcoming historical suspense set in WWII England. When not writing she enjoys reading, hiking, and tube-floating down rivers in the beautiful Texas Hill Country

 

 YOUNG ADULT (YA): appeals to ages 14 – 21ish

Lanny SmithLanny Smith is a Christian indie author and screenwriter. This will be his second time as a Grace Awards judge. “I really enjoy reading the works of the talented authors associated with the Grace Awards — especially in the Young Adult category.” Lanny is a retired high school teacher, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a former “Class B+” surfer.  He also works occasionally as a background artist in faith-based films. Lanny has also completed his newest script for a short film called “Gene Therapy.” His debut novel, THE RADICAL RIDE, is an explosive action-thriller. THE RADICAL RIDE centers around an ambitious television news anchor and her surfer boyfriend as they pursue a murderous radical (with ghostly connections) in Los Angeles. With the power of faith, can they stop this terrorist before he strikes again? THE CHRISTMAS BEACON is an inspirational story about faith and the miracles that happen — especially at Christmastime. Scott Weldon makes a desperate bargain with God. If God would heal his mother from terminal cancer, then Scott would publicly honor Him in a very special way. When Scott is pressured to break his end of the bargain, will he still receive his healing from God? Lanny Smith lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

 Suzanne WilliamsBest-selling author, Suzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. She writes a monthly column for Steves-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. She is co-founder of THE EDGE.

 Katie Mettner Katie Mettner writes inspirational romance from a little house in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She’s the author of the four part epic family saga, The Sugar Series, Sugar’s Song being runner up for sweet romance in the eFestival of Words awards. Her other romance series, The Northern Lights Series and the Snowberry Holiday Series, are both set in Minnesota and are a mix of new adult and romantic suspense. Katie lives with her soulmate, whom she met online at Thanksgiving, and married in April. Together they share their lives with their three children and two leopard geckos. After suffering an especially bad spill on the bunny hill in 1989 Katie became a below the knee amputee in 2011, giving her the much needed time to pen her first novel, SUGAR;S DANCE. With the release of Sugar’s story Katie discovered the unfilled need for disabled heroes and heroines! Her stories are about empowering people with special circumstances to find the one person who will love them because of their abilities, not their inabilities. Katie has a slight addiction to Twitter and blogging, with a lessening aversion to Pinterest now that she quit trying to make the things she pinned.

 

READER NOMINATIONS ARE CLOSED.

THE GRACE AWARDS BOARD WILL ANNOUNCE WINNERS IN ALL SIX CATEGORIES ON MAY, 17H.

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