After some behind-the-scene delays for the Advisory Board, and our busyness reading, we had to push back our timeline for announcing our 2014 shortlist judges. But that time has now arrived. The INSPY Advisory Board thanks each and every applicant for their enthusiasm and is thrilled to announce the judges for 2014. The shortlists will be announced on April 30 and once these judges receive their respective books, they then have the task to narrow from five novels to the one worthy of the 2014 INSPY in each category. We welcome these judges and thank them for their service.
Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense Judges
Alyssa Washburn: I am a twenty-something, raven-haired, redneck-blooded girl stuck on the West Coast. I am a Happily-Ever-After kinda girl who would rather wear cowboy boots instead of heels. I teach Sunday School for 1-6 graders, I love my kids. I am passionate for Children’s/Youth Ministry and the Pro-Life Movement. I am a pre-emergent author in the very early stages of my first book, an Inspirational Historical Romantic Western. My hobbies include: Shooting, spending my nights watching movies, and reading instead of sleeping.
Rebekah Malik is an avid reader, aspiring writer, and coffee addict. When she isn’t reading, you can find her baking, hanging out with her family, blogging, studying, or watching movies/TV shows (especially BBC Masterpiece). She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts. You can find her book reviews and recipes at Will Bake for Books.
Miranda A. Uyeh is a blogger, an entertainment/book reviewer, a professional blurb constructor, and the author of To Die Once, book #1 of the Child of Grace series. You can find her on her blog To Be A Person and Facebook page.
Historical Romance Judges
Kate has been an avid reader for sometime now, but didn’t start blogging till two years ago. It was a New Years challenge to herself and has blossomed into the blog it is today. She loves to bake, chocolate is just amazing. She’s a history nerd, a proud Texan, and, last but not least a mommy to an amazingly smart and sarcastic kid. She blogs over at Too Read or Not Too Read.
Courtney Clark is a small-town girl from Arkansas who loves Jesus, reading, photography, cooking, crocheting, and hot tea (in any combination). She especially loves reading great books and sharing about them on her blog. When she’s not doing any of those things, she’s working at her family’s restaurant or teaching at the local community college. Catch up with Courtney at her blog, The Green Mockingbird, or follow her on twitter @CameraCourt.
Cassie Baker is a 20-something recent college graduate who holds her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She has been a book nerd since she was a young girl, and continues to devour books as if her life depends on it. When she isn’t reading, you can find her singing songs from her favorite Broadway shows, cross-stitching, or writing. Since late 2012 she has blogged at Bookshelves and Windows, where she would be happy to connect with other readers and bloggers.
General Fiction Judges
Beckie Burnham A confirmed crazy book lady, Beckie Burnham is unapologetic about getting people to read quality literature, especially Christian fiction. She blogs at By The Book where she focuses on getting the word out on books that not only entertain, but encourage and instruct. Beckie is a member of three book discussion groups — her favorite being one she co-leads at a women’s transition center. This dynamic group meets once a week to read books aloud and generally cut up and have fun. The mother of three, Beckie works when she has to as the office manager of her husband Brian’s veterinary office. They own one spoiled Boston terrier, three cats, two goats and an assortment of chickens.
Juju is a suburban mama, bookworm, laundry ninja, and former Floridian that now calls Kentucky home. She’s been blogging at Tales of Whimsy since the summer of 2009. At Tales of Whimsy she discusses all kinds of books and shares photos, random loveliness, mamahood musings, and every day whimsy all with panache. When her nose or ears aren’t in a book she’s chasing her toddler, working on her mission to make vegetables delicious, pulling weeds, enjoying the outdoors, studying the Bible, or watching comedies.
Rosie Wilson is a college senior with a passion for the written word. In the last few years she has rediscovered her childhood love for reading, and now she blogs at Writings of Rosie. It is her greatest pleasure to endorse Godly fiction as she loves to interact with fellow bloggers as well as with published authors on a daily basis. She desires to one day inspire other hearts to come to Christ through her stories. Next to reading, Rosie loves to write, spend time with her friends and family, and play guitar with her cousins.
Literature for Young People Judges
Jillian Haggard is an avid reader, book blogger, and aspiring teenage author from New Jersey. Words fascinate her and she can talk about books for hours. When she’s not scribbling phrases onto spare paper or consuming new books, she’s usually dancing, listening to inspirational music, walking outside, singing songs from Frozen, or wishing she were in Ireland. She’s obsessed with musicals like Les Miserables, and she’s constantly dreaming about new adventures. Jillian honored to be chosen as an INSPY judge this year and is super excited to participate in the upcoming discussions. She blogs about books, writing, and life at Covers and Ink.
Hayden Wand A 2012 homeschool graduate, Hayden writes from South Carolina where she lives with her parents and four energetic younger siblings. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s sure to be found crafting, baking, or watching her favorite shows from the BBC. You can find her book review blog at atreeabookandabreeze.blogspot.com and her personal blog at everystory-storygirl.
Raised in a small Texas town, Paige McQueen has always had an overactive imagination. One day she found the perfect creative outlet was reading, and she never went back. Between numerous Lord of the Rings marathons, she’s raising a poodle named Pippa, blogging at Page by Paige, and reading as much as possible. A fairytale enthusiast, she believes in the power of “Happily Ever After” because that’s what Jesus is to us. Our happily ever after.
Mystery / Thriller Judges
Gabrielle Gardner is a twenty-something book addict. Her job as a children’s librarian only makes her love of books so much greater. Christian fiction will always be her first love however and it is the part of her collection (now over 100 books) that grows the fastest. When not having her head in a book, Gabrielle loves watching TV shows, baking in her kitchen, and taking long walks.
She blogs about everything from her love of fashion to her TV and book addictions at Classy with a Dash of Quirk.
Tressa has been an avid reader her whole life. She grew up listening to both her parents read such tales as C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and Kidnapped, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, among other classics. The first book she owned was Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery and she read it so much that the book finally fell apart. She mostly reads Young Adult, clean Adult, and Christian Fiction. Tressa’s blog is Tressa’s Wishful Endings and she is also a tour co-host at Prism Book Tours. She loves spending time with her four young children and husband, and also enjoys watching movies, cooking, playing racquetball, gardening, sewing, and crafting when she can fit them all in.
She has too many favorite Christian authors to mention, but some of them would be Deeanne Gist, Tamera Alexander, Becky Wade, Jenny B. Jones, and Julie Klassen. Some current Young Adult favorites are The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Pivot Point by Kasie West, and The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.
Her exposure to the Boxcar Children series from a young age is probably, at least partly, to blame for her love of mystery as an adult. Whether buried in a good story or creating one herself, they usually belong to the mystery/suspense/romance genres.
Elizabeth lives in Spain where she works as a freelance writer and editor. In her spare time, to feed her habit, she reviews books for Fiction Addict, Radiant Lit, as well as on her personal blog.
Speculative Fiction Judges
Deanna Germany’s addiction to books began during Mississippi summers when she would visit the bookmobile and check out as many books as she could carry and then lay on the porch swing with a glass of lemonade to read. She spends her days homeschooling her two teenage boys and her evenings as a counselor for Metamorphosis, a teen addiction support group. She has actively reviewed books for CFBA (Christian Fiction Blog Alliance) for five years and has previously served as an INSPY judge. You can visit Deanna at her blog Deanna’s Corner.
Sherry 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 I want to write about on any particular day. She is also a 56 year old homeschooling mom of eight children, five of them grown and graduated. I like to read. She reads 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 she read the notes on the bulletin board and the advertising signs on the wall of whatever establishment she’s stuck inside without reading material.
Michelle R. Wood developed superior comprehension skills when her mother would speed read to her before moving on to her two siblings. She quickly began devouring books on her own, from Dickens to Tolkien. Eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and English, Michelle has worked as an editor, technical writer, blogger, and print/web designer, alongside her career in theatre. You can read her reviews, fiction, and musings at her blog, Distractions of Grandeur (www.woodmr.net/blog). She is honored and excited to once again judge the speculative fiction category after previously serving in 2011.