The Christy Awards

13 Jul

The 2011 Christy Awards ceremony was held on Monday, July 11 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta. Thanks to Jeanne Wynn of Wynn – Wynn Media, my good friend Carol Sprayberry and I got to attend.  

Liz Curtis Higgs emceed the event and was a hoot, like always. Randall Wallace, Academy Award winner for Braveheart, was the keynote speaker. He gave a touching and often emotional recount of his life and the blessings he has received from God. Especially moving was his testimony of not being ashamed of being a Christian in the world of Hollywood.

Tyndale House Publishers very generously provided a copy of Wallace’s new book, due out in September.  And we all got a chance to speak to him as he signed our copies.

The Touch — Andrew Jones was once one of the few surgeons in the world to have that rare, God-given ability called The Touch. But after failing to save his young fiancée, Faith, at the scene of a car accident, Jones abandons his gift and shuns the operating room. 

Lara Blair owns a Chicago-based biomedical engineering company developing a surgical tool that will duplicate precisely the movement of a surgeon’s hands, reducing or eliminating failed surgical procedures. Lara has pursued the best surgeons in the world to test this surgical tool, and all of them have failed. 

As Lara pursues Jones’s skill for her project, Jones’s stubborn resistance cracks, and he begins to open up to her about the wounds that still haunt him. But when Jones discovers the urgency behind Lara’s work, he must choose to move beyond his past. As each is forced to surrender secret fears, they are bonded together through the lives of the people Jones serves and by the healing secret that Faith left behind.

Attending the dinner was a fabulous opportunity.  I shared a table with author Ginny Yttrup, author of Words, and her good friend. Others at the table were a publishing representative and a literary agent.  The talk around the table included what we read and the best places to go in Las Vegas!

The best part of the night was the naming of the finalists and winners.  Every finalist gets a medallion and the winners receive a trophy.  It was touching to hear the winners’ acceptance speeches. They were sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, always so humble and thankful.

Here is the list of winners:

Contemporary Romance

Sworn to Protect by DiAnn Mills

Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales sends illegal immigrants back to Mexico; a job she’s paid dearly for. Her husband, Toby, was murdered two years ago trying to help and his murder’s never been solved. Now a string of attacks and arrests leads her to believe that someone from McAllen profits from sneaking undocumented immigrants into the country and somehow this illegal activity is tied to her husband, Toby’s death.

Contemporary Series

The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue

It’s a total surprise when 40-something Allison Chamberlain feels a divine nudge to buy a Harley motorcycle and go wherever it takes her. Soon she finds herself in the darkest corners of society, experiencing the heartache of the poor. Will she discover that healing comes through the voice of God and those who follow it?

Contemporary Standalone

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Billy Allman is a “hillbilly genius.” Folks in town say he was born with a second helping of brains and a gift for playing the mandolin—and was cut short on social skills. But there are two things they don’t know—he’s troubled by a brutal secret, and an angel is determined to set things right!

First Novel

Heartless by Elisabeth Ann Stengl

Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love–and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir. Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald’s offer–and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil.


While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

While awaiting WWII’s end, 12-year-old Esther Shaffer blames God for all her losses—including her mom’s death and her father’s choice to join the army. Meanwhile, her Jewish landlord grieves the passing of his wife—only to be accused of burning down his synagogue. Together, will these Brooklyn neighbors discover God’s love—even when he’s silent?

Historical Romance

The Girl in The Gatehouse by Julie Klaasen

Miss Mariah Aubrey, banished after a scandal, hides herself away in a long-abandoned gatehouse on the far edge of a distant relative’s estate. There, she supports herself and her loyal servant the only way she knows how-by writing novels in secret.

Captain Matthew Bryant, returning to England successful and wealthy after the Napoleonic wars, leases an impressive estate from a cash-poor nobleman, determined to show the society beauty who once rejected him what a colossal mistake she made. When he discovers an old gatehouse on the property, he is immediately intrigued by its striking young inhabitant and sets out to uncover her identity, and her past. But the more he learns about her, the more he realizes he must distance himself. Falling in love with an outcast would ruin his well-laid plans.

The old gatehouse holds secrets of its own. Can Mariah and Captain Bryant uncover them before the cunning heir to the estate buries them forever?


The Bishop by Stephen James

While investigating a double homicide in an isolated northern Wisconsin town, Special Agent Patrick Bowers uncovers a high-tech conspiracy that twists through long-buried Cold War secrets and targets present-day tensions in the Middle East. A pulse-pounding thriller that explores the rippling effects of the choices we make!


To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson

They have no choice. Chased by an evil prince, Achan, Vrell, and the Kingsguard knights ee into Darkness. They head north, for Tsaftown and Ice Island, where they must free an army that can help them fight for Er’Rets.

Darkness sickens Vrell. How long can she keep her secret without being caught? Achan already suspects her of lying. If she is not careful, he will suspect her of treason as well. She hopes he will let his suspicions go until they reach her home.

Achan wanted freedom, but this new journey has bound him more than ever. Sir Gavin’s claims are so far fetched. First, that there might only be one God, and second, that this God chose Achan to push back Darkness, the magnificent curse of Er’Rets. Him. Achan. Barely a man himself.

Young Adult

Motorcycles, Sushi And One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

Normal? While family dinners and vacations to touristy destinations are ordinary events for her “normal” friends, fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher’s normal life means dealing with her ADHD and her mother’s bipolar disorder. So why is Jessie shocked when the unexpected happens? Now her “normal” includes living in Florida with the father she always thought was dead and learning the secrets of sushi from a man who teaches by tormenting her. Life isn’t any saner with her dad, but a cute guy and a mysterious book might just be the crazy Jessie needs.

Congratulations to all the winners! 

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