Fantasy Friday – Cover Reveal


Well, I didn’t officially get added to the list of bloggers who are part of this cover reveal, but I’ve participated in the past and wanted to join in this time, too, even if in an unofficial capacity. So here it is!

Draven'sLightCover

Anne Elisabeth Stengl is a talented writer. She won Christy Awards with three of her first five novels and was the Clive Staples Award winner in 2013 with Starflower. I’ll tell you a bit more about Anne Elisabeth in a bit, but here’s the intro to the newest story in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series.

In the Darkness of the Pit
The Light Shines Brightest

Drums summon the chieftain’s powerful son to slay a man in cold blood and thereby earn his place among the warriors. But instead of glory, he earns the name Draven, “Coward.” When the men of his tribe march off to war, Draven remains behind with the women and his shame. Only fearless but crippled Ita values her brother’s honor.

The warriors return from battle victorious yet trailing a curse in their wake. One by one the strong and the weak of the tribe fall prey to an illness of supernatural power. The secret source of this evil can be found and destroyed by only the bravest heart.

But when the curse attacks the one Draven loves most, can this coward find the courage he needs to face the darkness?

Intriguing, I can hear many say, but I haven’t read any of the previous Tales of Goldstone Wood. I’d be confused. Who comes into a series around book 8?

It’s an understandable argument. But I have it on good authority that it’s not too late for anyone to jump into the series. First, I read Anne Elisabeth’s previous novella, Goddess Tithe, which was a stand alone, not dependent upon any of the previous books, though one or two characters would be familiar to those who have read the ones that came before.

In addition, you still have time before Draven’s Light comes out to read Golden Daughter which is reportedly a perfect “entry book” into the world of Goldstone Wood.

And now the goodies: you can read an excerpt of the novella/short novel AND enter a give-away to win one of three Advance Readers Copies. Third, you can now pre-order this book, scheduled to release in May.

But I promised you a bit more information about the author:

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a passel of cats, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and studies piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the award-winning Tales of Goldstone Woods series, an ever-growing world of knights and dragons, mystical forests and hidden demesnes, unspeakable evil and boundless grace.

Here’s what I personally know. Anne Elisabeth is a smart, talented writer. She has envisioned a wonderfully creative world and populated it with interesting, diverse characters. Her stories are infused with grace, but they are not your “typical” Christian fiction.

God doesn’t appear in the stories so much as He is represented. None of them is preachy or, as Jerry Jenkins said in a recent post, “on the nose.” Anne Elisabeth uses allusion and symbolism to communicate what she wants readers to know. My personal favorite of her books is Dragonwitch, a finalist in the 2014 Clive Staples Award.

I highly recommend Anne Elisabeth’s books to anyone who thinks he or she might like stories about a “world of knights and dragons, mystical forests and hidden demesnes, unspeakable evil and boundless grace.”

Published in: on January 16, 2015 at 5:50 pm  Comments Off on Fantasy Friday – Cover Reveal  
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2014 Christy Awards


ChristyAwardLogo[1]

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Christy Awards, announced yesterday at the awards dinner held at the International Christian Retail Show.

* Book of the Year: Burning Sky by Lori Benton (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

* Contemporary: Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish (Thomas Nelson, a division of Harper Collins Christian
Publishing)

* Contemporary Romance/Suspense: Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing
Group)

* Contemporary Series: Take a Chance on Me by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

* First Novel: Burning Sky by Lori Benton (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

* Historical: Burning Sky by Lori Benton (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

* Historical Romance: Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar (River North, an imprint of Moody Publishing)

* Suspense: Outlaw by Ted Dekker (FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group)

* Visionary: Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing
Group)

* Christy Award Hall of Fame Inductee: Davis Bunn (4 Christys)

My Thoughts
Before I heard about Lori Benton’s struggle with cancer, I thought her novel Burning Sky had to be strong to win the first novel award, the historical award, and book of the year. What an amazing trifecta. Add in the poignant element of her personal struggle, and I so want to read this book!

The finalists in the visionary category received some awesome comments from the judges.

Numb by John Otte:

    “Otte seriously launched himself onto my list of favorite authors. His stories are deep, thought provoking, fast paced and fun.”

A Cast of Stones by Patrick Carr:

    “With complex, authentic characters, a fascinating plot, a moving redemption story, Cast of Stones was the standout of the year.”

Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl, this year’s winner:

    “Very few books compel me to stop midway through and track down and buy the author’s backlist. Dragonwitch did.”

I found it ironic that the keynote speaker, Marcia Nelson associate religion editor at Publishers Weekly, said, as part of her alphabetical rundown of the industry, “C…..children…YA fiction is VERY hot.” Why ironic? Because there was no YA category at the Christys this year.

When will the Christian publishing industry go all in and really try to sell children’s books? Or at least YA?

And here’s another thought: is it good policy for ACFW to announce their finalists on the day that the Christys announce their winners? It seems like one or the other will get watered down.

Finally, I really get a kick out of “attending” the awards dinner via live blog. It’s done very professionally, complete with pictures. Highly recommend!

Published in: on June 24, 2014 at 6:50 pm  Comments (1)  
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Christy Award Nominees Announced


ChristyAwardLogo[1]It’s award season for novels. The Christy’s, the Carols, Inspy, and of course the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction. I’m sure there are others, but the one that has been the most coveted prize has been the Christys. There are nine categories, and judges have whittled the entries down to three nominees in each (four in one category in which there was a tie). A different set of judges will then pick the winners and those will be announced at the International Christian Retailers Show this summer.

Needless to say, to be included on this list is a terrific honor.

Here are the nominees announced today:

Contemporary Romance/

The Breath of Dawn
by Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Lethal Legacy
by Irene Hannon (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Wildflowers from Winter
by Katie Ganshert (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Contemporary Series, Sequels, and Novellas/

Two Destinies
by Elizabeth Musser (David C Cook)

You Don’t Know Me
by Susan May Warren (Tyndale House Publishers)

Waiting for Sunrise
by Eva Marie Everson (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Contemporary Standalone/

The Air We Breathe
by Christa Parrish (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Borders of the Heart
by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

Not in the Heart
by Chris Fabry (Tyndale House Publishers)

First Novel/

Into the Free
by Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)

Tangled Ashes
by Michèle Phoenix (Tyndale House Publishers)

Wedded to War
by Jocelyn Green (River North, an imprint of Moody Press)

Historical/

Flame of Resistance
by Tracy Groot (Tyndale House Publishers)

Wedded to War
by Jocelyn Green (River North, an imprint of Moody Press)

A Wreath of Snow
by Liz Curtis Higgs (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Historical Romance/

Against the Tide
by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Be Still My Soul
by Joanne Bischof (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Love’s Reckoning
by Laura Frantz (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Suspense/

Downfall
by Terri Blackstock (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

The Last Plea Bargain
by Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers)

Rare Earth
by Davis Bunn (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Submerged
by Dani Pettrey (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
*This category includes four nominees due to a tie in scoring.

Visionary/

Daughter of Light
by Morgan L. Busse (Marcher Lord Press)

Soul’s Gate
by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Starflower
by Anne Elisabeth Stengl (Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Young Adult/

Child of the Mountains
by Marilyn Sue Shank (Delacorte Press, a division of Random House)

Failstate
by John W. Otte (Marcher Lord Press)

Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words
by Rachel Coker (Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing)

Congratulations to each of these authors. What a great accomplishment!

Published in: on April 19, 2013 at 5:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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The 2012 Christy Award Winners


One way to decide what fiction to read is to pick up award winners. The top award for Christian fiction is the Christy Award, given in nine categories.

Here are this year’s winners–all books published in 2011 by a royalty-paying publisher:

      CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
      Wolfsbane
      by Ronie Kendig
      Barbour Publishing

      CONTEMPORARY SERIES
      The Amish Midwife
      by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould
      Harvest House Publishers

      CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE
      Promises to Keep
      by Ann Tatlock
      Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

      FIRST NOVEL
      Words
      by Ginny Yttrup
      B&H Publishing Group

      HISTORICAL
      Wonderland Creek
      by Lynn Austin
      Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

      HISTORICAL ROMANCE
      The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
      by Julie Klassenby
      Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

      SUSPENSE
      The Queen
      by Steven James
      Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing

      VISIONARY
      Veiled Rose
      by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
      Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

      YOUNG ADULT
      Waterfall
      by Lisa T. Bergren
      David C Cook

You can find out more about the books and authors from the official Christy Award press release. To find the list of other nominations and the replay of the ceremony’s live blog, visit the official Christy Awards site.

Congratulations to each of these fine authors.

Published in: on July 17, 2012 at 5:00 pm  Comments Off on The 2012 Christy Award Winners  
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A Little Buzz


I have fallen down on my “pass along the news” job—the one you probably didn’t realize I’d shouldered. 😛 . It’s not an official job, of course, but I do like to keep readers here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction informed about whatever book or author buzz seems significant.

The biggest, I suppose, is that the Christy Award winners were announced at the International Christian Retail Show on Saturday. I am so happy to point out that three of these winners—yes, THREE—were books featured by the CSFF Blog Tour. Three. Even though there is only one Speculative category (called Visionary).

So here are your results, with the CSFF features in red.

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

    Breach of Trust by DiAnn Mills – Tyndale House Publishers

CONTEMPORARY SERIES

    Who Do I Talk To? by Neta Jackson – Thomas Nelson

CONTEMPORARY STANDALONE

    The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson – Thomas Nelson

FIRST NOVEL

    Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent – Tyndale House Publishers

HISTORICAL

    Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin – Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen – Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

SUSPENSE

    Lost Mission by Athol Dickson – Howard Books: a Division of Simon & Schuster

VISIONARY

    By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson – Marcher Lord Press

YOUNG ADULT

    North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson – WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Congratulations to all the winners, but especially to Jill, Athol, and Andrew. In my opinion, the speculative titles are getting better and better—these winners had stiff competition. It’s exciting to see.

An interesting announcement came out of ICRS as well—this one from the American Christian Fiction Writers. They have named their Book of the Year Award after Carol Johnson former Bethany editor who signed Janette Oke back in 1979. From now on the ACFW award will be know as the Carol Award.

All this talk of awards remind me of the Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction—a readers’ choice award. Nominations will close at the end of June, but rather than starting the voting process right away, July is designated as Read Christian Speculative Fiction month. What a great way to enjoy the summer!

Reading is especially important because only those who have read at least two of the nominations will be eligible to vote. Those who have a favorite author are of course welcome to vote—as long as they have read at least one other (hopefully more) book on the list.

By the way, anyone looking for the CSFF Top Tour Blogger Award poll to determine the June winner, check back tomorrow.

One final tidbit for today. Fellow fantasy writer, friend, and regular reader here at A Christian Worldview of Fiction, Morgan L. Busse, is now also a blogger. You can read her inaugural post (besides a short test), “In darkness there is light,” then subscribe to receive her articles via email. As I recall, her goal is to post every Friday. I’d say she’s off to a great start.

Christy Award Nominations – 2010


The Christy Awards are viewed in Christian fiction as the highest awards, so nomination among the hundreds of books eligible is quite an honor. Some years ago, friend and non-published writer J. Mark Bertrand served as one of the judges. It was interesting to hear his thoughts about the process and to learn about the standards the award committee has set out.

At any rate, the books that are eligible are ones published in 2009 by a royalty paying house. And the committee has scooped their own Web site by publishing the nominees on their Facebook page.

As you might suspect, I’m most interested in the books falling under the “Visionary” category—speculative fiction that includes fantasy, science fiction, futuristic, supernatural suspense. And the nominees are

    VISIONARY

    * By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson • Marcher Lord Press

    * The Enclave by Karen Hancock • Bethany House Publishers: a Division of Baker Publishing Group

    * Valley of the Shadow by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers

I want to point out that next month the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring member Jill Williamson’s By Darkness Hid. The second book in her Blood of Kings series, To Darkness Fled, released this month, but we opted to highlight the first book so that readers can come in at the beginning of the story.

Furthermore, CSFF toured Karen Hancock’s Enclave shortly after it released. We also featured Tom Pawlik’s first novel, Vanished about the time Valley of the Shadow released, for the same reasons we are featuring By Darkness Hid instead of To Darkness Fled.

There’s more good news. Listed in the Suspense category, Athol Dickson’s Lost Mission (Howard Books) has also been nominated for a Christy. I’m not sure how that category was chosen, since the publisher marketed it as magic realism, but I hope the book receives due recognition. It certainly created a stir on the CSFF tour!

One more CSFF feature made the list of nominations: North! or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group) in the Young Adult category. I’m unfamiliar with the other two nominations, so have no way of knowing how this wonderful fantasy might fare. I do know Mr. Peterson’s book is beautifully written and deserving of recognition, so I hope it does well.

Congratulations to all the nominees. Now readers have a great idea what books are the “must buys” published last year in Christian fiction. These are the ones to consider buying for that birthday present or graduation present that’s coming up. These are the ones to recommend to your church or local librarian. These are the ones to be sure you add to the books on your shelves as well.

Fantasy Friday – News


Much to report. First, Marcher Lord Press, the new POD publishing enterprise undertaken by Jeff Gerke, has released three new books.

Mirtika Schultz posted about them on her blog yesterday. Brandilyn Collins posted about one of the books on Wednesday—Stuart Stockton‘s Starfire (more sci fi than fantasy), this being the book she used in her Kanner Lake series. How fun for the fans of those books to learn that Starfire is now actually available.

For those of you who don’t regularly stop over at Speculative Faith, the team blog discussing speculative fiction, you may have missed my advance review of one of these MLP releases—Jill Williamson’s By Darkness Hid. As a matter of fact, Jill has become a guest blogger slotted, for the time being, to post on Wednesday’s. You can read Jill’s introduction, story of finding speculative fiction, and thoughts on vampires in her initial posts.

In addition, Jill has an article out in the latest Issue of CFBA’s Christian Fiction Magazine Online – “Quest’s, Spells, and Vampires: What’s so cool about fantasy?” Besides pointing out why teens like fantasy, Jill gives a nice list of some of the newer titles by Christians (though some of these might better fit in the Middle Grade category).

And in case you missed it, the Christy Award nominations are out. Several bloggers (Nicole, for example, and Sally Stuart) have posted the complete list. I discussed the books in the speculative genre in a recent Spec Faith post.

Something I neglected to mention here. At Novel Journey, Mike Duran has posted Part Two of a panel discussion on Christian speculative fiction. And yes, I’m one of the panelists. So is Jeff Gerke and Lost Genre Guild founder, Frank Creed. Part I appeared a number of weeks ago.

No new information from D. Barkley Briggs. As you may recall, he announced on his Facebook page that NavPress decided, a month from release date, not to publish the second book in the Karac Tor series. The first in his YA fantasy, The Book of Names, was a CSFF blog tour feature back in January. In a tour that doesn’t shy away from tough criticism, the participants gave this book high marks, so it’s especially sad news. Many of us were looking forward to the second installment of an obviously continuing story by an obviously skilled writer.

And for fans of Karen Hancock, Enclave, her newest book is due to release this July. Evidently it’s closer to science fiction than fantasy, but the publisher’s description suggests a combination similar to her first book, Arena.

On a different topic, the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference is just now getting under way. It seems a little odd to me that I am here and they are there … 😦

Christy Awards – 2008


Some fine writers received recognition for their achievement this year at an awards presentation held Saturday as part of the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). The Evangelical Christian Publishing Association (ECPA) presented the Christy Awards, honoring the best in Christian fiction in nine categories.

I know in the Visionary category (yes, they had a visionary category this year), since I read the three books that made the finals, the competition was stiff.

Why not consider adding the books on this list to your To Be Read pile?

From the Wynn Wynn Media press release:

The Christy Legacy Award
Carol Johnson, former Editorial Vice President for Fiction at Bethany House Publishers

CONTEMPORARY (STAND ALONE)
Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
Thomas Nelson

“Never settle for less than the truth,” she told him. But when you don’t even know your real name, learning the truth about who you are can be as elusive—and as magical—as chasing fireflies on a summer night.

Charles Martin lives a stone’s throw from the St. John’s River in Jacksonville, Florida, with his wife and their three boys.

CONTEMPORARY (SERIES, SEQUELS, AND NOVELLAS)
Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon
Viking Penquin

For the first time in decades, Father Tim returns to his birthplace, Holly Springs, Mississippi, in response to a mysterious, unsigned note saying simply: “Come home.” Little does he know how much these two words will change his life.

Jan Karon is author of the bestselling series of novels that feature Father Tim Kavanagh, an Episcopal priest, and the fictional village of Mitford, North Carolina.

HISTORICAL
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Over the course of a Chicago summer, Violet Hayes’s world will open wide before her eyes. But in the wake of discovery, she must find a way to determine which path is the right choice for her life.

Lynn Austin is a full-time writer, author of more than a dozen novels, and a three-time Christy Award winner who lives with her husband near Chicago.

LITS
Hallie’s Heart by Shelly Beach
Kregel Publications

Mona VanderMolen, an antiques dealer in a small Michigan town, is trying to keep her business alive when her fifteen-year-old niece, Hallie, suddenly arrives on her doorstep. As the two women work through their problems and learn to forgive, will an unfortunate accident tear them apart once again?

Shelly Beach is a Christian communicator who speaks at women’s conferences, retreats, and seminars and writers’ conferences.Author of Precious Lord, Take My Hand, Beach is a college instructor and writing consultant in Michigan.

ROMANCE
Remembered by Tamera Alexander
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

In search of her father, Veronique Girard needs transportation into Colorado mining country. Jack Brennan isn’t keen on driving a beautiful, young French woman to the rough-and-tumble camps, but Veronique isn’t about to take no for an answer.

Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist and Rita Award winner whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots, and poignant prose resonate with readers.

SUSPENSE
The Cure by Athol Dickson
Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Riley Keep, former man of God, now haunts the streets. Forgiveness from those who used to love him seems impossible…until he hears rumors of a small town in Maine where miracles are happening.

Athol Dickson studied architecture and the arts at university, followed by a long career as an architect. Now a full-time writer, he’s the author of six novels. He and his wife live in Southern California.

VISIONARY
Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead
Thomas Nelson

Scarlet continues Lawhead’s riveting saga that began with the novel Hood, which relocated the legend of Robin Hood to the Welsh countryside, conjuring up an ancient past, holding a mirror to contemporary realities, and shattering everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.

Stephen R. Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. Lawhead makes his home in Oxford, England, with his wife.

FIRST NOVEL
The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

One forensic geologist. Two dead men. 500 witnesses. Yet no one seems to know what really happened. As the FBI digs into the case, one thing is made clear: if no one else will talk, the stones will cry out.

Sibella Giorello, a former geologist and fifteen-year features reporter with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

YOUNG ADULT
Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson
NavPress

Scotty Dawn has all the freedom a fifteen-year-old girl could want. But there are costs to such a life. Scotty doesn’t know who she is, where she came from, or who to trust. The answers she finds are darker than she had expected. Will she discover who she can trust and finally make sense of her world?

Lisa Samson is the author of more than two dozen books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. She lives with her husband and three children in Kentucky.

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 10:53 am  Comments (5)  
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