Ready? Set? Nominate! 2014 Nominations Open December 27th!

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqoncept

© Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqoncept

The Advisory Board is excited to announce the 2014 nominations for the Inspys will open December 27th, 2013!

We have made several changes over the past year and trust you will find the new and improved Inspys easier to navigate with the new implementations (hopefully) self-explanatory.

We’ve updated the website to be more user-friendly and {hopefully} crash-proof! We’re excited to unveil the revamped categories that better reflect the entire genre of Faith-in-Fiction.  We’ve said goodbye to our illustrious founders Amy from My Friend Amy and the lovely Hannah from Word Lily.  And we’ve been blessed to add Rissi from Dreaming Under the Same Moon and Jamie from Books and Beverages.  Lydia, Rel and Stacy have dedicated another year to bringing a fabulous INSPYs Awards to you for 2014!

So, get ready.  Get set. And prepare those nominations for the December 27th opening.  Merry Christmas dear Faith-in-Fiction Friends!

Announcement: Revised Nomination Categories

Do you feel the anticipation in the air? Nominations for the 2014 Inspy Awards open in 27 days!

The Advisory Board has been reaching out to our audience and former judges in order to evaluate our performance in past years and have implemented several revisions in light of the feedback. Most noteworthy is a significant change in our nomination categories and the elimination of self published books from eligibility. For your convenience, please find all of the updated categories below as well as under our nomination tab. Thank you for your patience and support during this process.

Debut Novel: A debut novel from any of the categories that is of exemplary literary quality. Unlike other categories, debut novels will be selected and judged by the Advisory Board. Debut novels may also be nominated in their respective categories.

General Fiction: Realistic stories set in historical or contemporary settings that do not have plots with a central romance. This category may include literary and women’s fiction.

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense: The romance category encompasses all romantic contemporary and suspense subgenres, with the exception of speculative romance. In order to be classified as a contemporary romance, the novel must be set in 1960 to the present. The plot must have a central love story that commonly ends in a happily ever after.

Historical Romance: Any novel set prior to 1960 that includes a plot with a central love story usually ending in a happily ever after. May include elements of suspense and includes all subgenres, such as biblical fiction.

Speculative Fiction: A story with fantastical elements (this includes science fiction, fantasy, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, magical mysticism and alternate history). Middle grade and up.

Mystery & Thriller: Fast paced, action driven stories or mysteries, usually with a clearly defined hero against an evil villain. Includes cozy mysteries, police procedurals, legal thrillers, detective stories, gothic mysteries, historical mysteries, espionage, suspense, crime fiction, psychological thrillers, medical thrillers, and political thrillers.

Literature for Young Adults: Fiction books of any genre, with the exception of speculative fiction, written with a target audience of 13- to 19-year-olds.

Congratulations Long List Contenders ~ Speculative Fiction

Have you ever wondered exactly what is that genre entitled “Speculative Fiction?” And how is it different from Science Fiction?

According to The Speculative Literature Foundation “speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making — and more.”

As you can see, spec lit covers it all whereas Science Fiction can be quite limiting ~ science fiction includes more futuristic stories and settings.  It is a genre that “relies on a considerable degree of suspension of belief,” and “according to science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein, “a handy short definition of almost all science fiction might read: realistic speculation about possible future events, based solidly on adequate knowledge of the real world, past and present, and on a thorough understanding of the nature and significance of the scientific method.”

For our purposes, speculative fiction is more all-inclusive and should have an element of faith within the story-line.

Last year’s Speculative Fiction winner was The Falling Away by T.L. Hines.  The short-list judges had this to say of The Falling Away:  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.

And now, the long-list contenders for 2013 ~
Asylum by Ashley Hodges Bazer
The Land Beyond the Portal by J.S. Bailey
H2O: The Novel by Austin Boyd & Brannon Hollingsworth
Daughter of Light by Morgan Busse
Godsmacked by Paul Cicchini
Mortal (The Book of Mortals #2) by Ted Dekkar & Tosca Lee
Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore
The Telling by Mike Duran
Caught (The Missing #5) by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Seeking Unseen (Toch Island Chronicles #2) by Kat Heckenbach
Griffin’s Storm by Darby Karchut
The Soul Saver by Dineen A. Miller
The Windrider Saga by Rebecca Minor
Cursebearer by Rebecca Minor
Winter Nova by Preston Morgan
Freeheads by Kerry Nietz
Soul’s Gate by James L. Rubart
Crosswind (Sark Brother #1) by Steve Rzasa
The Returning (Saga of Davi Rhii #2) by Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Starflower (Tales of Goldstone Wood #4) by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
A Light in the Darkness by Heather Sutherlin
Daystar by Kathy Tyers
A Hummen in Spiral Gorge by William T. Watts
Elemental by Emily White
The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson
Do you see your favorite spec fiction novel on the list?
Be sure to check back on April 15 when the short-list novels are announced!

Congratulations Long List Contenders ~ Romance Genre

Genre-classification can become quite tricky with all of the sub-categories and cross-overs.  Compound the classification of Faith in fiction or Christian and the waters can get murky at best.  Thankfully, we have some solid definitions afforded to us through Romance Writers of America. According to RWA there are two basic elements that make up a romance novel: “a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.”  And, according to Faith, Hope & Love, Inc., the inspirational special interest chapter of RWA, the caveat of “fiction that glorifies God and promotes Biblical principles” must be added.

The 2011 Shortlist Judges described last Inspy’s winner as being “a gritty and moving account of the Vietnam War and that iteasily fulfills all the requirements set forth to make it the INSPY Award Winner.”  Catherine West, author of Yesterday’s Tomorrow, says of writing the novel about a female combat journalist during the Vietnam War:

I came away from this project with this question: Do we write merely to entertain? Or do we write to enlighten, educate and encourage our readers to examine their hearts on matters they may have previously ignored?

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13

That’s what I learned in Vietnam

Out of the 50+ books nominated for the Romance Inspy, only one will retain the bragging rights this year ~ will it be one you’ve read or even perhaps, nominated?

Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker
For Such a Time as This by Ginny Aiken
To Whisper Her Name (Belle Meade Plantation) by Tamera Alexander
Be Still My Soul (The Cadence of Grace #1) by Joanne Bischof
The Way of Grace (Millers Creek #3) by Cathy Bryant
Bayou Blue by Raquel Byrnes
Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker
The Guardian Duke (Forgotten Castles #1) by Jamie Carie
Tidewater Inn (Hope Beach #1) by Colleen Coble
Over the Edge by Mary Connealy
In Too Deep by Mary Connealy
The Legacy of Deer Run (Deer Run Saga #3) by Elaine Marie Cooper
Turnabout’s Fair Play by Kaye Dacus
Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz
Wildflowers from Winter by Katie Ganshert
Before the Scarlet Dawn (Daughters of the Potomac #1) by Rita Gerlach
A Bride Opens Shop in Ed Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck
Love Simplified: A Tempest Day Production by Terri J. Haynes
Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund
Healing Love (Amish of Webster County #1) by Laura V. Hilton
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen
Because of Me by Fay Lamb
Real Virtue by Katy Lee
A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman
A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman
Honor Redeemed (First Responders #2) by Loree Lough
Stones of Remembrance by Julie Presley
Tuesday’s Child by Clare Revell
Acsah by Janice Rice
‘Til Grits Do Us Part (Southern Fried Sushi) by Jennifer Rogers Spinola
With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Unexpected Kiss by Regina L. Tittel
Veil of Pearls by Mary L. Tyndall
Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt
My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
A Sweethaven Summer (Sweethaven Cove) by Courtney Walsh
The Discovery by Dan Walsh
Baroness (Daughters of Fortune #2) by Susan May Warren
You Don’t Know Me (Deep Haven #6) by Susan May Warren
The Shadow of Your Smile (Deep Haven #5) by Susan May Warren
Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna White
Short-Straw Bride (Archer Brothers #1) by Karen Witemeyer

Congratulations Romance Contenders!  Be sure to check back on April 15th when the Shortlist Finalists are revealed!


2011 Shortlists

The INSPY Advisory Board is pleased to announce the shortlists for the 2011 INSPY Awards. We thank you for your enthusiastic nominations of books and again acknowledge the difficulties in narrowing the field with so many quality nominations.

Creative Nonfiction

Little Princes by Conor Grennan, William Morrow, January, 2011

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Zondervan, January, 2011

Passport Through Darkness by Kimberly L. Smith, David C Cook, January, 2011

The Waiting Place by Eileen Button, Thomas Nelson, June, 2011

The World is Bigger Now by Euna Lee & Lisa Dickey, Broadway, September, 2010


City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell, Henry Holt & Co, September, 2010

The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder, Summerside Press, June, 2011

The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue, David C Cook, October, 2010

Wolves Among Us by Ginger Garrett, David C Cook, April, 2011

Words by Ginny Yttrup, B&H Publishing, February, 2011


Back on Murder by J. Mark Bertrand, Bethany House, July, 2010

Darkness Follows by Mike Dellosso, Realms, May, 2011

Digitalis by Ronie Kendig, Barbour, January, 2011

Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins, B&H Publishing, May, 2011

The Bishop by Steven James, Revell, August, 2010


A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell, Bethany House, March, 2011

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman, Revell, September, 2010

The Preacher’s Bride by Jody Hedlund, Bethany House, October, 2010

Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander, Bethany House, September, 2010

Yesterday’s Tomorrow by Catherine West, Oak Tara, March, 2011

Speculative Fiction

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Bethany House, July, 2010

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers, Waterbrook Press, October, 2010

The Falling Away by T. L. Hines, Thomas Nelson, September, 2010

The Resurrection by Mike Duran, Realms, February, 2011

The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead, Thomas Nelson, August, 2010

Literature for Young People

A Girl Named Mister by Nikki Grimes, Zondervan, August, 2010

Losing Faith by Denise Jaden, Simon Pulse, September, 2010

Saint Training by Elizabeth Fixmer, Zondervan, August, 2010

The Fences Between Us by Kirby Larson, Scholastic, September, 2010

The Truth of the Matter by Andrew Klavan, Thomas Nelson, September, 2010

Tips for nominating Historical fiction; Thriller, suspense, & crime fiction; and/or Romance/romantic suspense

There seems to be a bit of confusion in regard to genres when it comes to nominating a book, and so we wanted to give you all a little more help and answer any questions you might have. We are seeing a lot of books nominated in Thriller, suspense, & crime fiction and Historical fiction that really belong in the Romance, romantic suspense category.

Here’s a relatively easy way to determine the correct genre: if you take the romance out of the book, is the majority of the plot unaffected? Then the book would go in Historical fiction or Thriller, suspense, & crime fiction. If, however, the plot depends on the romance, the book should go in the Romance, romantic suspense category.

If you look at our Genre Examples page under Historical fiction, you will notice the book Wild Grows the Heather in Devon by Michael Phillips. This book has a romantic subplot, but at its root, it is a family saga.

Under Romance, romantic suspense you will find The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Ewen. The book is set in the past, and therefore historical, but the plot revolves around a romance.

I hope this clears things up! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments.