Sunday, August 12, 2012

Inside Look at the 2012 Laurel Finalists

This Thursday, Aug 16, Clash of the Titles will announce the 2012 Laurel Awards winner. 
It's a much anticipated day, and COTT judges have three amazing finalists to choose from.

Our judges are readers who have no connection to the publishing industry. It's the love of an engaging and spiritually uplifting (or challenging!) story that brought them to the COTT judges bench, and we thank them for it. The judges are basing their scores on the first two chapters of  the participating novels, and from what we hear, they're loving their job!

Sound like something you would like to do? You can!

The Olympia (our new contest for unpublished writers) is just around the corner, and with more and more authors participating, we're going to need more judges! If you're interested, follow this link to learn more. It's simple, fun, and rewarding. And it's not everyday you get a chance to influence what might very well be the next great novel to hit your book store's shelf!

Soon, one of the below novels will take home the 2012 Laurel Award. They've each gotten rave reviews from our judges, and we'd like to share a bit of them with you. Here are the first 100 or so words from each of them. Enjoy!

Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren

We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide—an old, Italian farmer who owned this land—chopped down a small sapling, clearing the overgrown trail. “Ecco, vedi,” he said, pointing at the ground. See, here?

“See that?” my mom cried, pushing the tree branch back farther, squatting beside a slightly sculpted limestone paver. Not really expecting a response, she spoke more to herself—or was it Dad’s ghost she addressed?—than to us. But the hairs on the back of my neck prickled with echoed excitement.


The Redemption by MaryLu Tyndall

1665 – The Caribbean

Charlisse bolted upright, her heart pounding. The ship’s tiny cabin rocked back and forth. She grabbed the bedpost to keep from being tossed onto the floor. Books flew off the shelves. A wooden chair tumbled across the room, crashing into the far wall. The ship bucked. She jolted off the bed, then plunged back onto the hard mattress, smashing her elbow into the bed frame. Pinching tremors shot up her arm. What was happening?

Charlisse tried to remember where she was. The merchant ship. She had bartered passage from London to the Caribbean in search of her father—a man she had never met—and the only real family she had left in the world.

A Harvest of Hearts by Laura V Hilton

Something brushed against her hair, just above her left ear. Shanna Stoltzfus swatted at it. When she touched flesh, she jumped, her attempts to pray forgotten, and raised her head from the steering wheel in time to see maple stained fingers, complete with calluses and a small cut.

The hand pulled back.

“Is something wrong? Are you hurt?” a deep voice asked.

She looked up into incredible gray eyes belonging to a drop-dead gorgeous Amish man. He grasped his straw hat in the long fingers of his right hand. His light brown hair shone with natural-blond highlights. She’d paid big bucks for streaks like those. Strong, clean-shaven jaw. Nice. Too bad he hadn’t been around when she was Amish.