Latest INSPYs news….

It is with gratefulness and a measure of sadness that the Advisory Board makes the following announcement:

Founding member and visionary of the INSPYs, Amy O’Riley, and fellow founding member and worker extraordinaire, Hannah Neilsen, have resigned from the Board due to personal commitments. The Board thanks Amy and Hannah for their invaluable contribution from the moment the INSPYs inspiration first struck Amy, to the day they announced their resignation. The Board wishes Amy and Hannah the very best with their future endeavours and dreams.

The Board is nevertheless delighted to announce the appointment of Rissi and Jamie Lapeyrolerie to the Advisory Board. Their unique talents will greatly contribute to the advancement of the INSPY Awards. Founding member, Rel Mollet, and existing board members, Lydia Mazzei and Stacy Millican, will continue to serve on the Advisory Board.

The Board is hard at work finalising all the details for INSPYs 2014 ~ exciting new developments regarding the INSPYs’ format and process will be announced shortly.

Until next time…

2013 Shortlists announced

We are pleased to reveal the 2013 INSPY Award shortlists:

General Fiction

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell
Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke
The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones
The Messenger by Siri Mitchell
Stardust by Carla Stewart


To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz
Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade


Gone to Ground by Brandilyn Collins
A Plain Death by Amanda Flower
Placebo by Steven James
Trinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig
Proof by Jordyn Redwood

Literature for Young People

Wreath by Judy Christie
With a Name like Love by Tess Hilmo
Dead Man’s Hand by Eddie Jones
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
Cake: Love, Chickens, and a Taste of Peculiar by Joyce Magnin

Speculative Fiction

Caught by Margaret Patterson Haddix
The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo
Freeheads by Kerry Nietz
Soul’s Gate by James L. Rubart
Daystar by Kathy Tyers

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors!


Apply to Be a 2013 INSPY Judge

Dear Potential Judges!

We are so excited that you are interested in being a judge for the INSPYs! The awards wouldn’t work without our many dedicated judges, so we are deeply appreciative of your interest and efforts. It’s important to us to find the best judges for the awards, so we want to make sure you know what you’re getting into. Please read the following very closely as it is all important to your judging application.

We have some upfront simple criteria that must be met:

• You must be a blogger
• You must provide a link to a recent book review you’ve written.
• You must agree to our statement of faith. We are looking for judges who are people of the Christian faith.
• You must be willing to obtain all of the books if necessary.
• You must agree to read all five shortlisted books by June 14 and participate in an online discussion with the other judges to determine the winner.
• You agree not to blog/tweet/facebook about the shortlisted books as you are reading them or discussing them. After the winners are announced, you are welcome to blog about them.

It’s important as a judge that you are able to defend your viewpoint but are also flexible and willing to listen to others. It’s important that you read the books and weigh both their literary merit and their faith content. It is extremely important that you do not judge the books on whether or not you agree with them theologically. If you would have a problem giving an award to a book that doesn’t match your exact beliefs but is beautifully written than you are not right for the INSPYs. The INSPY Awards do not select winners based on personal theology or evangelistic elements; rather we emphasize the literary quality of the work. The secret word is compassionate turtle. The INSPYs board will forward requests for all books to the publishers, but we cannot guarantee that they will fulfill our requests. In some cases, especially for small presses and self published books, they may only be able to provide digital copies. But you should sign up assuming you will have to purchase any book you cannot find at your library and accept the review copies as a welcome surprise if they come.

We are so excited to find a fabulous panel of judges and look forward to working with you!

We will accept nominations (via the form below) through March 31, 2013. Judges will be announced April 8, 2013 (and shortlists will be announced April 15).

INSPYs 2013 ~ nominations open 27th December, 2012!

The Advisory Board is pleased to announce that nominations for INSPYs 2013 will open December 27th, 2012!  The Board is further thrilled to welcome Stacy Millican to the Advisory Board and to thank Deborah Khuanghlawn for her invaluable contribution to the INSPYs from its inception.

Our FAQs will answer many of your queries about nominating a novel and highlight a number of changes for the 2013 process. Please note key changes to our procedure:~

  • You can now only nominate one book per category so choose wisely!
  • Due to our 2012 hiatus the eligibility period of nominated books has been extended to books originally published in the United States between July 1st, 2011 and December 31st, 2012.

The Advisory Board is looking forward to receiving your nominations for exceptional novels that grapple with elements of the Christian faith.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for our official press release and to nominate your favourite stories.

Announcing the 2011 INSPY Award Winners

The INSPY Advisory is pleased to announce the 2011 INSPY Award Winners:

Creative Nonfiction: Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith

In Passport Through Darkness, Mrs. Smith portrays sacrificial Christian living as the absolutely normal and healthy choice for all Christians. She and her husband are willingly transparent with their weaknesses and present a realistic picture of what a Christian living looks like: hard, messy, and painful, but right and worthwhile. Passport Through Darkness is a powerful story that can change who you are at a fundamental level.

General Fiction: City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell (Henry Holt & Co, September 2010)
We chose City of Tranquil Light because it tells a compelling story with complex characters that feel true to life, characters we care about. Bo Caldwell’s prose is lyrical.

The characters live a very real faith. Everything they do has Kingdom service in mind, yet they never come across as preachy. Their faith is organic. Serving Christ is what they do, it’s who they are. Because of that, this book’s appeal goes beyond that of the Christian community.

Literature for Young People: Saint Training by Elizabeth Fixmer (Zondervan, 2010)

Saint Training is realistic in its examination of religion without stereotype or fundamentalist views. An inspiring read, relevant to young readers and a stand out in its genre. Mary Clare is very down to earth and anyone will be able to relate to her struggles.

Mystery/Thriller: The Bishop by Steven James

Steven James did not shy away from the “tough” questions about God and we appreciate that an author – a Christian author at that, would be up-front and center with the real tough spiritual questions. The Bishop treats the reader as intelligent and with a mind of her own. The plot was engaging and the characters felt real.

Romance: Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Cathy West (Oak Tara, March 2011)

Catherine West gives us a gritty and moving account of the Vietnam War as experienced by an intrepid journalist providing innovation of the setting, time period and subject matter. The edgy realism and poignant honesty that flow from West’s pen in Yesterday’s Tomorrow place it head-and-shoulders above some of biggest bestsellers on bookstore shelves today, and it easily fulfills all the requirements set forth to make it the INSPY Award Winner for Romance.

Speculative Fiction: The Falling Away by T.L. Hines (Thomas Nelson, September 2010)

Non-linear plot lines that all converge without being predictable, responsible treatment of mental disorders without cliche; self sacrifice, demonic encounters and the power of Grace; all these reasons and more make The Falling Away by T.L. Hines the speculative INSPY winner. In his own distinctive “noir bizarre” style, Hines explores powerful truths about life, death and redemption. The author managed to tackle a familiar subject (spirituals warfare) in a most unconventional way. Full characterization meshed with a tight plot that is engaging even for newcomers to the supernatural thriller. Ultimately, more than one character learns important truths about the fallen world we live in and the spiritual dangers one may face from without and within. This novel is an embodiment of the concept that God’s power is made perfect in human weakness.

2011 General Fiction Judges

The 2011 INSPYS Advisory Board is pleased to announce the judging panel for the category of General Fiction:

Amy Sondova is a writer specializing in media writing, including interviews and reviews, as well as blogging. Having interviewed over 30 of the top musicians, writers, and speakers in the Christian media, Amy has also written countless columns, reviews, and articles on various topics including mental illness, self-injury, working with teenagers, and Christianity. As well as holding a B.A. in communications, Amy holds a M.A. in biblical counseling, and has worked as a professional therapist. You can visit Amy’s online playground at which offers a combination interviews, reviews, personal columns, and photography.

I’m a full-time mom who loves reading a variety of fiction from Steven James’ complex suspense to Laura Frantz’s lyrical historical romance. The review site, Spire Reviews, was born out of a desire to uplift quality Christian fiction and to show that the Christian fiction category is far more diverse than many believe. Spire Reviews began as a monthly book review in our church newsletter and morphed into an online site not limited to reviews.

When I’m not reading, I’m probably writing. So far I’ve completed five novels and am diligently working toward publication. I’m also blessed to be a contributor to, a blog that offers perspectives on life and writing. I’m a member of ACFW, ACFW MN-NICE, and the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild.

Brenda Anderson blogs at Spire Reviews.

Sandra Stiles is a national board Certified middle School teacher and a new author of the book Steps to Courage.  Her passion is to inspire a love of reading in her students.  She and her husband share their home in Florida with her mother.

Sandra blogs at The Musings of a Book Addict.

Beckie Burnham started her blog, By The Book, as an outreach of her church library 2 years ago.  An avid reader of all genres, Beckie loves encouraging (nagging) others to read Christian fiction.  A member of 2 book discussion groups, Beckie also is a wife, mother of 3 college aged children (all attending different schools!) and proud owner of Maxie, a
Boston Terrier and 2 cats, Jezebel and Buz.  She also works part time for her husband of 26 years, Brian, who is a veterinarian.

Jennifer Mlezynski blogs at Crazy for Books

2011 Speculative Fiction Judges

The 2011 INSPYS Advisory Board is pleased to announce the judging panel for the category of Speculative Fiction:

My name is Lydia and I am a book addict.  I squeal every day I get a book-shaped package in the mail and struggle with book-depression on days that the mailman doesn’t bring me love.  My purse always has my Kindle along with a physical book (or two.. or three).  Not only do I love to read, but I love to read just about everything.  I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to chat and share my love with books on my blog, The Lost Entwife, and I strive to provide quality, interesting information there.

I have been a book lover from a very young age, mostly thanks to my mother who never refused to buy me a book or books.  I continued my love of reading through college where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in biology and chemistry.  After spending many years in environmental chemistry and the medical industry, I have found my true joy in Christian publishing and book reviewing.  I review books on my blog, Carlybird’s Home.

I am married to a wonderful man, who also led me to Christ while we were dating.  After spending the first few years of our marriage in Atlanta, we have now settled down in Burlington, NC where we enjoy a quiet life.  I review books full-time while helping my husband with his insurance business.  I am also a dog lover, nature lover, health nut and a major nerd.

Carly Kendall blogs at Carlybird’s Home

Tim George has spent the last few years highlighting the best of faith-based suspense, mystery, and Sci-Fi at his blog, Unveiled. Along with book reviews, and interviews, Unveiled has also sponsored joint contests with authors such as Mike Dellosso and Athol Dickson. He is also a featured reviewer at where he has done a number of audio interviews with well known CBA authors. Tim is a full-time freelance writer and now represented by Les Stobbe for his own fiction.

Michelle R. Wood has been an avid reader from a very tender age, since her mother first began reading aloud to her. Eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and English, Michelle has worked as an editorial intern, staff writer, blogger, and print/web designer. Her personal musings and book reviews can be found at her blog, Distractions of Grandeur. She is honored and excited to serve as a judge in the speculative fiction category.

Jonathan Anderson has always been an avid reader.  At 26, he lives in Kansas City Missouri with his wife Sarah, and fills his bookshelves with science and speculative fiction, and fantasy.  He feels that speculative and science fiction give authors a chance to write about what it means to be human, juxtaposed with what we consider alien or other.

Jonathan blogs at Behind the Eyes, Oversimplified.

2011 Mystery/Thriller Judges

The 2011 INSPYS Advisory Board is pleased to announce the judging panel for the category of Mystery/Thriller:

My name is Sheila DeChantal. I live in Brainerd Minnesota with my husband, we have two AWESOME boys – one in college and one in the Navy. I am a Family Life Administrator and Special Events Coordinator for our church, and a spare time adventure junky. I love riding bike, rollerblading, cabin weekends, event planning, hanging out with friends, and finding unique and interesting things to do like Blueberry festivals, cave exploring, and Polar Bear Plunges.

I have been to Honduras on mission trips 9 times, my tenth time will be in November 2011.

My down time is usually associated with books and you would be hard pressed to find me without a book close at hand… (in my car, purse, all areas of my house…)

Sheila blogs at Book Journey.

When I am not reading, I am a mom to two wonderful tween girls and a wife to an amazing guy. I also do graphic and web design work out of my home and blog about books and other parts of my life. I love sewing, crocheting, walking, blogging, playing with our puppy, and, of course, reading. I love Jesus most of all.

Tami Hunter blogs at Tree Swing Reading

The quintessential Southern belle with a book forever in hand, is Mystery/Thriller judge, Stacy Millican. She lives in the North Georgia Mountains in the quaintest small town you could ever hope to find where a festival is held every month for everything from Wildflowers to Literary to the Gold Rush of 1833! Stacy has three “mostly” grown children – two girls in college and one son a sophomore in high school. One of her dreams for growing up was to be an FBI or CIA agent, solving crimes left and right, with her baby brother as her right-hand man! Reading about mysteries and thrillers and solving the case before the last chapter has been a good substitute!

Stacy blogs at A Novel Source

Katie is 19 and third eldest in a family of 10 children. She self-published her first historical fiction, Journey of Faith, and has since then been working on perfecting her writing abilities. Currently she is writing a medieval suspense with the working title of The Princess’ Assassin and is co-authoring a biblical fiction entitled Scattered Tears. Along with a passion for writing, she is an avid reader. Whenever she’s not on the computer writing, she’s sure to be reading. Besides that, Katie loves volleyball, hanging out with her siblings, and blogging.

Katie blogs at Legacy of a Writer

Dee Stewart is contributing writer to Hope for Women Magazine, The Master’s Artist Blog, and staff columnist for Christian Fiction Online Magazine. She is the owner of Christian Fiction Blog and Dee Gospel PR, an entertainment PR boutique.She was also an inspirational book reviewer for RT Book Reviews Magazine for five years until she became a published author in 2010.

She is also Miranda Parker, Kensingston Books author of A Good Excuse to Be Bad,book 1 in the Angel Crawford Bounty Hunter Series. She has been featured in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, RT Book Reviews Magazine and Publishers Weekly.  She has also made featured author appearances for the 2011 (NBCC) National Book Club Convention, Black Pearl Magazine’s Chocolate Social, The Decatur Book Festival, and the Atlanta Press Club. She is also the Social Media/Marketing Head for the [ITW]International Thriller Writers, Inc. Debut Authors Program and a contributing editor to The Big Thrill.

Visit her at ,www.deestewart,com or at ChristianFiction Blog

2011 Romance Judges

The 2011 INSPYS Advisory Board is pleased to announce the judging panel for the category of Romance:

Joy Tamsin David is a wife, a mother of three, and an inner city school teacher who spends her seven and a half minutes of free time each day reading and blogging about Christian fiction at Edgy Inspirational Romance.

Patricia Woodside is an avid reader across many genres, but her favorite is inspirational romance.  She reviews books for and along with posting her literary opinions on her own blog, Readin’ N Writin’ with Patricia.  Patricia is a freelance writer\editor\blogger and is published short story author.  She is working on her first novel.

Rachel McMillan has been blogging in some way, shape or form since 2004—mostly about coffee, tall ships and Sherlock Holmes. Currently, she blogs at A Fair Substitute for Heaven. Rachel lives in Toronto where she works for Canada’s Leading Educational Publisher. Rachel has read hundreds upon hundreds of Christian fiction novels —beginning at a young age. Bodie Thoene’s Vienna Prelude, the first Christian novel she ever read, inspired her life-long dream trip to Austria. If you give her the chance, she will talk your ear off about her favourite Christian women writers: including Dorothy L. Sayers, Catherine Marshall and Lynn Austin. She is very excited to be judging the INSPYs again as helping select the Historical winner last year was a fun, engaging experience —and a chance to connect with other voracious readers!

Christy is an insurance agent by day and a Christian fiction addict by night. Her favorite genre leans toward the historical, but actually, any form of Christian fiction will do. There are currently 1,500+ books in her house, with more arriving daily (much to her husband’s chagrin). When she’s not reading, she’s either working on crafts, watching sports, or singing in her family’s Southern Gospel group.

Christy blogs at Southern Sassy Things.

Amber Stokes is a college student at Corban University. She is an English major who loves to write poetry, short stories, novels, and, of course, blog posts! It is her desire to follow God’s will for her life, wherever He leads her.  From being valedictorian of her graduating class (McKinleyville High School, class of 2009) and graduating with an International Baccalaureate Diploma, to earning her black belt in Jujitsu, Amber has worked hard to excel in life. She has participated in choir, her high school’s Key Club, and Corban’s production of State Fair (Fall 2009). Her favorite activities include reading Christian fiction (especially romance!), writing, and spending time with family and close friends.

You can connect with Amber at her personal blog Seasons of Humility.  She also posts weekly (Mondays) on The Borrowed Book blog, a blog run by authors Elizabeth Ludwig, Sandra Robbins, and S. Dionne Moore.

2011 Literature for Young People Judges

The 2011 INSPYS Advisory Board is pleased to announce the judging panel for the category of Literature for Young People:

Sherry Early is a former librarian, homeschooling mom of eight wonderful children and young adults, and inveterate reader. She lives in Houston, Texas with her Engineer Husband, four of the eight aforementioned children, and a cat that crept in when mom was having a momentary lapse in judgment. And they all read together in a little crooked house.   Sherry blogs at Semicolon.

Tina Bennett is the blogger behind Tinasbookreviews, created in 2009 to share insight on all genres of literature including Inspirational and a majority of YA fiction. When she’s not busy reading and blogging she’s working on completing her degree in social work. Currently Tina resides in Northern Michigan with her husband and three daughters.

My name is Heather and I’ve been blogging about books at Book Addiction for almost four years now. I read a wide variety of books – fiction and nonfiction, Christian books and general market books too. I am 27 years old and live in Central Florida with my husband, our three cats, and our newly adopted puppy. I have a day job as a bank manager but my real passion is reading and sharing my love for great books with others.

Gail Yates lives in Central MA and is a Documentation and Validation Specialist for a medical device company by day and by night is an avid reader, blogger, crafter and all around couch potato. She’s been blogging since June of 2007 and will read most anything put in front of her. Gail blogs at Ticket to Anywhere.

Danielle Smith is the mother of two wonderful children and wife to a wonderful newly practicing attorney. Her book reviews and articles can be found at There’s A Book and Chick Lit Reviews. She’s an author, literacy advocate, professional flutist and movie lover. In addition to judging for the INSPYs this year she has also been a judge for the Cybils Awards both in 2010 as well as 2011.