The INSPYs Advisory Board Announces the 2016 Longlists

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For the INSPY Awards, change was the word as we began 2016.

To help simplify our nomination process, we made some adjustments to our awards program. To that end, instead of publicizing our long list of nominations as they poured in, the Advisory Board kept the list private since the method of nomination involved a process of popular vote. The number of books that received the most nominations (the top 15 from each category) came out as the winners, which then determined the long lists.  

After some behind-the-scene delays, today we are thrilled to announce the results from those votes. From the lists below, the Advisory Board will be narrowing these respective lists down to five books per category which will become our 2016 short lists. From there, the same judging process and practices will follow.

Grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy browsing through the books that YOU nominated, propelling them into “phase two.”

Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense:

  1. Pesto and Potholes by Susan M. Baganz (Prism Book Group)
  2. Moments of Truth by Sandra D. Bricker (Bling! Romance)
  3. Together with You by Victoria Bylin (Bethany House)
  4. Anna’s Healing by Vannetta Chapman (Harvest House)
  5. Legitimate Lies by Julie B. Cosgrove (Prism Book Group)
  6. The End Begins by Sara Davison (Ashberry Lane)
  7. No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason (Revell)
  8. London Tides by Carla Laureano (David. C. Cook)
  9. To Dance with Dolphins by Bonnie Leon (Ashberry Lane)
  10. Rising Darkness by Nancy Mehl (Bethany House)
  11. The Dandelion Field by Kathryn Springer (Zondervan)
  12. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Beth K. Vogt (Howard)
  13. A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade (Bethany House)
  14. The Wonder of You by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House)
  15. Her Brother’s Keeper by Beth Wiseman (Thomas Nelson)

Debut Fiction Longlist:

  1. A Light in Bailey’s Harbor by Bethany Baker (Mantle Rock Publishing)
  2. The Thorn Bearer by Pepper D. Basham (Vinspire Publishing)
  3. Whitewashed by Amy Blake (Mantle Rock)
  4. To Soar on Eagle’s Wings by Renee Blare (Prism Book Group)
  5. Angelhood by A.J. Cattapan (Vinspire Publishing)
  6. Jaded by Varina Denman (David C. Cook)
  7. Blood of a Stone by Jeanne Gassman (Tuscany Press)
  8. A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter (Bethany House)
  9. Love’s Rescue by Christine Johnson (Revell)
  10. Irish Meadows by Susan Anne Mason (Bethany House)
  11. Cavernous by Monica Mynk (Mantle Rock)
  12. Broken Dolls by Tyrolin Puxty (Curiosity Quills)
  13. The Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea (Whitefire Publishing)
  14. Finding Mia by Dianne J. Wilson (Harbourlight)

General Fiction Longlist:

  1. Hidden Storms by Nancy Shew Bolton (Prism Book Group)
  2. A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson)
  3. A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner (Kregel)
  4. The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Press)
  5. Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke (Tyndale House Publishers)
  6. Spy of Richmond by Jocelyn Green (River North)
  7. Tea & Crumples by Summer Kinard (Light Messages Publishing)
  8. The Dog that Saved Stewart Coolidge by Jim Kraus (FaithWords)
  9. The Tomb by Stephanie Landsem (Howard Books)
  10. The Road to Terminus by Catherine Leggitt (Mountainview Books)
  11. Water From My Heart by Charles Martin (Center Street)
  12. Chapel Springs Survival by Ane Mulligan (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)
  13. The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson)
  14. The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson)
  15. Final Grace for Reverend G by RJ Thesman (CrossRiver Media)

Historical Romance Longlist:

  1. A Light in Bailey’s Harbor by Bethany Baker (Mantle Rock)
  2. The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton (Waterbrook Press)
  3. A Thousand Shall Fall by Andrea Boeshaar (Kregel)
  4. Not by Sight by Kate Breslin (Bethany House)
  5. The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall (Whitaker House)
  6. The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide (Ashberry Lane)
  7. The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz (Revell)
  8. Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep (Shiloh Run Press)
  9. Where Two Rivers Meet by Londa Hayden (Tate Publishing)
  10. Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund (Waterbrook Press)
  11. A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter (Bethany House)
  12. Guardians of the Heart by Loree Lough (Whitaker House)
  13. The Sound of Silver by Rachelle Rea (Whitefire Publishers)
  14. Through Waters Deep by Sarah Sundin (Revell)
  15. Promise to Keep by Elizabeth Byler Younts (Howard Books)

Literature for Young Adults Longlist:

  1. Season of Fire by Lisa T. Bergren (Blink)
  2. Rise of the Fallen by Chuck Black (WaterBrook Press)
  3. A Time to Speak by Nadine Brandes (Enclave Publishing)
  4. Lightning by Bonnie S. Calhoun (Revell)
  5. Shades of Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon (Blink)
  6. The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker (Tyndale)
  7. The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson)
  8. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (Thomas Nelson)
  9. See No Evil by Mary Hamilton (HopeSprings Books)
  10. The Sound of the Stones by Beth Hammond (eLectio Publishing)
  11. An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund (Zondervan)
  12. Chivalrous by Dina L. Sleiman (Bethany House)
  13. Dauntless by Dina L. Sleiman (Bethany House)
  14. 10 Steps to Girlfriend Status by Cynthia Toney (Write Integrity Press)
  15. Siren’s Fury by Mary Weber (Thomas Nelson)

Mystery / Thriller Longlist:

  1. The Last Con by Zachary Bartels (Thomas Nelson)
  2. Whitewashed by Amy Blake (Mantle Rock)
  3. Gone without a Trace by Patricia Bradley (Revell)
  4. Murder Freshly Baked by Vannetta Chapman (Zondervan)
  5. Deadly Doll by Brooke Cox (Mantle Rock Publishing)
  6. A.D. 33 by Ted Dekker (Center Street)
  7. Honor at Stake by Declan Finn (Eternal Press)
  8. Vendetta by Lisa Harris (Revell)
  9. Taken by Dee Henderson (Bethany House)
  10. Falcon by Ronie Kendig (Shiloh Run Press)
  11. Where Hope Dwells by Elizabeth Ludwig (Guideposts)
  12. Desperate Measures by Sandra Orchard (Revell)
  13. The Bones will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson)
  14. Shattered Trust by Chris Richards (Prism Book Group)
  15. Ashes to Ashes by Mel Starr (Kregel)

Speculative Fiction Longlist:

  1. The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry (Kregel)
  2. Heir of Hope by Morgan L. Busse (Enclave Publishing)
  3. The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr (Bethany House)
  4. Angelhood by A.J. Cattapan (Vinspire)
  5. The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey (Thomas Nelson)
  6. Valley of Decision by Lynne Gentry (Howard Books)
  7. The Sound of Stones by Beth Hammond (eLectio Publishing)
  8. Embers by Ronie Kendig (Enclave Publishing)
  9. The King’s Scrolls by Jaye L Knight (Living Sword Publishers)
  10. The Sword and the Song by C.E. Laureano (Nav Press)
  11. Waking Beauty by Sarah E. Morin (Enclave)
  12. Cavernous by Monica Mynk (Mantle Rock)
  13. Found and Lost by Amanda G. Stevens (David C. Cook)
  14. Take and Give by Amanda G. Stevens (David C. Cook)

…and there you have the 2016 INSPYs longlists.

We’d like to congratulate all of the nominated authors and thank all of the bloggers and readers who put forth their favorite reads of 2015.

We’re ready to get to work and find the top five in each of these categories.

2015 INSPY Award Winners

After our panel of judges careful consideration, the INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 2015 INSPY Award Winners. Below are the seven winning novels in their respective categories and a statement from our judges on the reason why they felt it was worth the award…

Book - Miracle in a Dry SeasonDebut: Miracle in a Dry Season (Bethany House) by Sarah Loudin Thomas: 
We chose Miracle in a Dry Season not only because of the talent of the author, but because it is a unique and engaging story. A refreshing tale of miracles, love, and laughter set in the 1950s, Sarah Loudin Thomas pens an intriguing take based around the miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Through the story, characters – led primarily by a male character, Casewell, and events we gain a deeper understanding of faith and what it means to embrace the gifts and blessings God has given us.
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense: Meant to Be Mine (Bethany House) by Becky Wade: Book - Meant to be Mine

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade is the epitome of Christian romance. The chemistry between Ty and Celia is fabulous, and we could feel the sparks in every interaction between them! While the romance is spectacular, this book has so much more to offer. Beautifully written, it is an emotional experience in the best way. Wade’s descriptions of the characters brought them to life, and their relational, emotional, and spiritual journeys rang true. The other four novels in this category are wonderful, but Meant To Be Mine’s excellence is unable to be denied.

 

saving amelieGeneral Fiction: Saving Amelie (Tyndale) by Cathy Gohlke: 

What a challenge, to pick one winner from five fabulous titles including Biblical, historical and contemporary fiction. We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 INSPY Award for General Fiction is Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke, which impressed us all with its complex characters, fascinating historical detail, and bold yet subtle Christian message. The story is set in Germany in the early days of World War II, and plot centres on rescuing the deaf Amelie, from her father and from a regime which prized “perfection” over the sanctity of life. The characters face danger, hardship and uncertainty over the course of this thought-provoking and sometimes harrowing read. We were particularly impressed with the sensitive way Gohlke showed how God can use ordinary people in the bleakest of circumstances.

Book - Mark of DistinctionHistorical Romance: Mark of Distinction (Tyndale) by Jessica Dotta: 

We chose Mark of Distinction because it exemplifies the historical romance genre and confronts unique spiritual themes. Jessica Dotta has woven a story with a captivating setting and characters. The writing style and mystery of the plot draws the reader from the beginning into a Victorian society of restraint, secrets, and consequences. At its center is the theme of full surrender and trust in God. With complex characters and a unique voice, the story unfolds with unexpected twists and romance.

Book - Storm SirenLiterature for Young Adult: Storm Siren (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber:

Our panel decided to choose Storm Siren as the winner for the YA category. Nym deals with insecurities about her elemental powers and wondering why she was born with such a curse. This makes Nym relatable to young women all over the world and from every generation – we have all dealt with insecurities at some point in their lives. To see Nym have to come to terms with how she was created and to use those powers for the greater good shows tremendous character growth. Another reason we chose Storm Siren was because of the amazing and magical world that Mary Weber created. World building is one of the first things in a Fantasy novel that draws you into the story. Oh…and who doesn’t love a map inside their book!Book - A.D. 30

Mystery/Thriller: A.D. 30 (Center Street) by Ted Dekker:

A.D. 30 is a fast-paced adventure that keeps you turning the pages until the very end. Ted Dekker delivers a powerful, faith-filled story that brims with perils – each with their own kind of mystery and suspense, struggles, and most importantly hope. Dekker takes us on a journey to Jesus through the eyes of the daughter of Maviah, a gentile and an outcast, readers rediscover the message of Yeshua, experiencing it as never before. Dekker masterfully conveys the depth of God’s love for us — a knowledge we often hold in our heads, but fail to carry in our hearts. Warring kingdoms, power-thirsty adversaries, and fickle rulers are only a few of the obstacles in Maviah’s journey that keep the reader flipping pages. Whether she will succeed in her quest is a mystery. An uplifting and simple message, encased in a sweeping historical epic, is the primary reason it was selected A.D. 30 to be the winner of this year’s INSPY award.

Speculative Fiction: Spirit Bridge (Thomas Nelson) by James L.Rubart:

Book - Spirit BridgeSpirit Bridge is a brilliantly written story that was thought provoking and yet easy to follow as a standalone novel, though it is the third and final book in the Well Spring series. The story-world was populated with an excellent group of lead characters who were complex and easily relatable in their struggles in both the physical and spiritual realms. Their struggles challenge the reader to examine aspects of their own lives.  The story’s message, dying to self and keeping the enemy from gaining a foothold, was clear throughout, not getting lost in the suspense and action of the story. Spirit Bridge fully satisfies the reader’s expectations of the genre. It is a powerful spiritual thriller, with the speculative elements underpinning the novel and not requiring any further explanation to better understand it. Spirit Bridge is very worthy of the INSPY for Speculative Fiction.

 

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We’d like to thank our judges for their hard work and careful consideration of each title.

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors! 

Up Close and Personal with Steven James

Today, award-winning and well-known author, Steven James joins us. Steven has been shortlisted (and won!) for an INSPY in year’s past and this year, his novels  Checkmate (Signet) is on the short list for the Mystery/Thriller category and Blur (Skyscape) in the Literature for Young Adults category. Below we chat with Steven about what’s playing on his television and his upcoming to-be-read pile (with photos!).

Checkmate Goodreads SummaryBook - Checkmate

In “Checkmate,” critically acclaimed novelist Steven James offers the final, chilling chapter in his bestselling series, The Bowers Files.

 When a clandestine FBI facility is attacked, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into the vicious, ruthless story that a killer from his past is bent on telling the world.

Clues lead to long forgotten secrets buried deep beneath uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, Bowers is caught up in trying to stop one of the most deadly attacks ever planned on American soil.
Smart, tense and full of mind-bending twists and turns, “Checkmate” explodes onto the scene, bringing The Bowers Files to a climactic and unforgettable conclusion.

Blur Goodreads Summary

Book - BlurThe isolated town of Beldon, Wisconsin, is shocked when a high school freshman’s body is found in Lake Algonquin. Just like everyone in the community, sixteen-year-old Daniel Byers believes that Emily Jackson’s death was accidental. But at her funeral, when he has a terrifying vision of her, his world begins to rip apart at the seams.

Convinced that Emily’s appearance was more than just a mere hallucination, Daniel begins to look carefully into her death, even as he increasingly loses the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

What’s real? What’s not? Where does reality end and madness begin?

As Daniel struggles to find the truth, his world begins to crumble around him as he slips further and further into his own private blurred reality.

Mineshaft2

A mineshaft “under Charlotte.” Part of Steven’s research for his novel, Checkmate.

Full of mind-bending twists and turns, Blur launches a new trilogy of young adult thrillers from Steven James, a master of suspense.

1.) What are you listening to?

Lately, I’ve been wearing out The Rend Collective’s “Art of Celebration” CD, as well as tapping into my collection of Goa trance songs. I listen to the trance anthems while I’m writing and the songs with words as I’m typing in my edits. 
 
2.) What are you watching?

Let’s see—Orphan Black, The Blacklist, and The Flash (my daughters are huge fans).

3.) What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? What I plan to read over the next several months…
Steven James Reads

 

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Thank you so much for joining us today, Steven. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Steven: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website

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

Romance

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

Mystery/Thriller

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!

2013-Shortlist-Press-Release.

2013 Judges

The INSPY Advisory Board is thrilled to announce the judges for 2013. The shortlists will be announced on April 15 and once these judges receive their respective books, they then have the task to narrow from five novels to the one worthy of the 2013 INSPY in each category. We welcome these judges and thank them for their service.

General Fiction Judges

Rachel McMillanRachel McMillan loves Christian fiction, tea and Sherlock Holmes. She blogs at A Fair Substitute for Heaven and is a frequent contributor and featured reviewer at Breakpoint and Novel Crossing. She lives in Toronto. This is her third time judging the INSPY Awards and she looks forward to the fun discussions ahead!

 

 

Elizabeth SchulenbergElizabeth Schulenburg got her first library card at age 4 and hopes to be reading as long as her 106-year-old great-grandma. To pay the bills, she works behind the pharmacy counter, but her real passion lies in spending time with friends and family, especially her husband, Jeremy, and twin 2-year-olds, David and Sophia. Among her favorite Christian authors are Ted Dekker, Jamie Langston Turner, Angie Smith, Rachel Held Evans, and Jocelyn Green. If you’d like to see what she is reading, stop by www.needmoreshelves.blogspot.com.

DMSelfDM Webb-Self lives, along with her family and a variety of pets, in the beautiful state of Mississippi. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she has served as a judge in the Carol Awards and Genesis Awards, and is an active participant in the ACFW critique group. Her novel, Mississippi Nights, was released in January 2012 and her children’s devotional, Balaam & the Donkey, was released on the Devokids website on April 1, 2013.

Her studies in art and sociology coupled with her many jobs ranging from bookstore clerk to volunteer firefighter/EMR has produced a plethora of ideas for upcoming books. You can find her at www.dmwebb-writebyfaith.blogspot.com.au/.

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Romance Judges

Susan BaganzSusan M. Baganz is acquisitions editor for Prism Book Group, an author of contemporary and historical romances, and a book reviewer. She loves a happy ending and the journey it takes to get there. She lives in the Midwest and loves curling up with her puppy, a good book, and a cup of spiced chai. Susan blogs at Susan Baganz’s Silygoos Blog.

 

 

Profile Picture Rachel BrandRachel Brand is an aspiring writer who lives in Scotland, where she is finishing her undergraduate degree in English and modern history at the University of St. Andrews. She is the fiction editor of the Christian e-zine, The Christian Manifesto, where she regularly reviews recent releases in the inspirational market. When she isn’t reading a novel or penning her own, Rachel enjoys baking, knitting, watching films and attempting to play computer games with her husband. A romantic at heart, Rachel can typically be found reading an Amish or historical romance, but she does occasionally take a break to enjoy some contemporary and young adult fiction.

 

2012Rissi An avid 20-something reader who is learning to like sci-fi, Rissi lives in the Midwest and is passionate about writing – which may explain why conversations between her current characters rotate through her mind (this can be quite inconvenient). Over the past six years, she’s written film reviews for a small Christian website, which then transitioned into blogging and eventually, book reviewing. A love of a good Jason Bourne mystery means she’s willing to try almost any crime show, and is in fact, addicted to several. British costume dramas are too few in her opinion as is BBC’s Sherlock and she uses the word “rather” too much (blaming this on those British dramas). For nearly three years, she has been fortunate enough to be a part of the coolest e-zine covering the best in literature and film. When not writing, she enjoys good music, hanging out with her family and pursuing other creative hobbies. Since August 2011, her writing haven has been blogging; she blogs at Dreaming Under the Same Moon.

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Mystery/Thriller Judges

photoBeckie Burnham has been a blogger (By The Book) for more than four years, but has been a book enthusiast/promoter (nagger) for much longer. She is the member of three book discussion groups — her favorite being one she co-leads at a women’s rehab center. This dynamic group meets once a week to read books aloud and generally cut up and have fun. The mother of three college-aged children, she works when she has to as the office manager of her husband Brian’s veterinary office. They own one spoiled Boston terrier, four cats, two goats and 10 chickens.

 

DSCN1875Mark Buzard is a Pennsylvania transplant that has lived in northeastern Ohio since 1993. He has a BA in religious education, is single and currently looking for work. Although he has no children, Mark does have three nieces and three nephews that he loves as if though they were his own. Mark spends his extra time playing the piano, taking walks, shopping, and of course reading. He rarely reads secular books, so most of his reading is Christian fiction, the mystery/suspense/thriller genre in particular. At the suggestion of two of his friends, Mark explored the idea a few years ago of reviewing books, and was fortunate to get connected with several publishers, publicity groups and others. Mark really enjoys reviewing books and gets so many that he uses a spreadsheet to keep track of them all. Mark states that he is honored to be a judge for the INSPY Awards and is looking forward to the experience. You can find Mark blogging at Thoughts of a Sojourner.

Tami1Tami Erwin is a book blogger, avid reader and former librarian. Her years in library collection development expanded her interest in a wide variety of book genres, but mysteries have always been her favorite. In their 30 years of marriage, Tami and her husband, Dave, have lived in 13 towns in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado. They have three grown children and two grandsons. Tami blogs at Just One More Thing . . .

 

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Literature for Young People Judges

sheilaSheila DeChantal lives in Central Minnesota with her husband and three dogs, two of which are rescues (she has a weakness for hurt animals). Sheila has two amazing boys — one in college and one in the Navy. She spends her weekdays as a family life administrator and special events coordinator for her church, volunteers on the city library board and with Friends of the Library. Sheila is also honored to be a board member for Camp Benedict, a camp for people infected and affected by AIDS.

For fun Sheila loves riding bike, reading, rollerblading, mud runs, cabin weekends, and hanging out with friends. In 2014 she is signed up to run with the bulls. Her hope and prayer is that she is faster than the bulls 😉 Sheila can be found blogging at Book Journey.

sherryearlySherry Early is the author and instigator of Semicolon, a blog about kids and books and homeschooling and communities and sometimes movies and politics and fun links and whatever else she wants to write about on any particular day. Sherry is an evangelical Christian and completely unapologetic about it. She is also a 52 year old homeschooling mom of eight children. Sherry enjoys reading — reading whatever comes her way, including, but not limited to, adult fiction, mysteries, historical fiction, nonfiction history and biography, Christian inspirational fiction, young adult fiction, fantasy and science fiction, children’s fiction and nonfiction, memoirs, cereal boxes, other people’s blogs, magazines, brochures, and picture books. When she’s desperate Sherry will read the notes on the bulletin board and the advertising signs on the wall of whatever establishment she is stuck inside without reading material.

IMG_1729 - CopyEmily Rachelle is the author of ebook novella Sixteen and a teenage girl in love with God and the world He created. Her favorite things include chocolate, pretty trees, the ocean, weddings, crafts, and books — rows upon rows of books, neatly lining library shelves or messily stacked in the corner of a bedroom. She blogs three times a week about writing, books, crafts and DIY projects, media, and society at http://emilyrachellewrites.blogspot.com/.

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Speculative Fiction Judges

author picIn simple language, Pauline Creeden breaks down biblical stories and applies them to real life in new ways. Her methods of teaching have brought new light to old scriptures. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. In her fiction, she creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long.

Her articles, reviews, and devotionals have been featured in RUBY FOR WOMEN Magazine, Devotionals for Bloggers, Faith Filled Family Magazine, and Christian Fiction Book Reviews. One of Pauline’s short stories has won the CCW Short Story contest. Other short stories have been published in Fear & Trembling Magazine, Obsidian River, Free Flash Fiction, and Avenir Eclectia. An urban fantasy short will appear in The Book of Sylvari: An Anthology of Elves from Port Yonder Press, and a vampire short will appear in Monsters! from Diminished Media Group. And her sci-fi novel, Catalyst, will be published by Redeeming Tree this year. Pauline can be found blogging at Fat Free Faith.

P1050362Garrett Larson blogs at garrettlarson.info. He is interested in the intersection of pop culture, current events, the way we live our lives, why we make the decisions we do, the American Dream/Dilemma, and the interconnection or disconnection with/from faith in the world we find ourselves living in the present day.

Garrett’s upcoming books include book one of his dystopian trilogy: Mastrick of jala, Inc., and a non-fiction thriller: The American Dream Failed! And You Can Too! He loves art as much as writing and has had two pop-up galleries featuring his work. His art is in private collections nationwide. His art site is: garrettlarsonart.info. facebook page: facebook.com/garrett29

JoshOlds Josh Olds is a pastor, a storyteller and an editor. He is the coauthor of two very different books: Art and the Bible for Children, a combination art lesson and Bible story book, and The Blood Book, a special project coauthored with Ted Dekker. There are many other stories swimming in his head that may someday see the light of day.

Josh blogs at Life is Story, a website he began as a solo venture in 2008. In the years that followed, the site added giveaways, audio podcasts, flash fiction contests, movie reviews, and a web comic. He also serves as a contributor and managing editor for Fiction Addict. You can find out more about Josh at Facebook and Twitter.

Congratulations to the Long List Contenders ~ Literature for Young People!

The Inspy Advisory Board and Judges are pleased to announce the long list contenders of the Literature for Young People Inspy!  The nominations are exceptional in caliber, but the Judges are up to the challenge narrowing the selection down to the top 5 for the Shortlist Judges.

And if you are interested in becoming a Judge for the Shortlists, please fill out the application here.  Applications are being accepted through March 31st and the Shortlist Judges will be announced on April 8th.

The 2011 recipient of the Literature for Young People Inspy was Saint Training by Elizabeth Fixmer.  According to the Shortlist Judges for 2011, 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.”  Written for the Middle Grades (ages 9-12); Mary Clare O’Brian thinks that her bargain with God – to become a saint if He’ll make her family happy – will result in a miracle.  Publisher’s Weekly said of Mary Clare O’Brian that “ Ingenuity, keen observational skills, and compassion grant this feisty protagonist growing insight into the complex choices faced by those she loves, as well as her own character and calling.”

This year’s list includes a wide range of novels for Middle Grades and Young Adult.  The best of luck to each of the nominees below!

*Torrent by Lisa Tawn Bergren  Changed to Speculative Fiction Category
Wreath by Judy Christie
With a Name Like Love by Tess Hilmo
Thundersnow by Sheila Hollinghead
Dead Man’s Hand by Eddie Jones
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
Cake – Love, Chickens and a Taste of Peculiar by Joyce Magnin
Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee
The Embittered Ruby by Nicole O’Dell
The Shadowed Onyx by Nicole O’Dell
*Failstate by John W. Otte Changed to Speculative Fiction Category
Code of Silence by Tim Shoemaker
Addison Blakely: Confessions of a PK by Betsy St. Amant
Temptation: Solitary Tales No. 3 by Travis Thrasher
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
 

How many of the nominated books have you read? 

Do you have a favorite already?

Be sure to check back on April 15th when the Shortlists are announced!

*Listing in Final Category/Genre Subject to Change

 

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 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.