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ACFW announces Carol Award finalists and Lifetime Achievement recipient, Liz Curtis Higgs

June 30, 2018, Palm Bay, FL — In a live video event, host Rachel Hauck, an executive board member of American Christian Fiction Writers, announced the 2018 finalists for ACFW’s 2018 Carol Awards, a premier Christian fiction recognition for books published in the previous calendar year. The Carol Award winners will be presented their honors during the gala awards dinner on September 22, 2018, in Nashville as part of ACFW’s annual conference, which will feature Debbie Macomber as keynote speaker.

ACFW encourages retailers, librarians, book club coordinators, and avid Christian fiction readers to start here when looking for recommended reading. ACFW 2018 Carol Award finalists are:


  • Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert, Tyndale House, editors Sarah Rische and Jan Stob
  • The Long Highway Home by Elizabeth Musser, ACFW Qualified Independently Published, editor LB Norton
  • A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti, Abingdon Press, editors Jamie Chavez and Ramona Richards


  • Catching the Wind by Melanie Dobson, Tyndale House, editors Stephanie Broene and Sarah Rische
  • A Plain Leaving by Leslie Gould, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors Dave Long and Jennifer Veilleux
  • Liar’s Winter by Cindy Sproles, Kregel Publications, editor Dawn Anderson

Historical Romance

  • A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Karen Schurrer
  • The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett, Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House), editor Shannon Marchese
  • Heart on the Line by Karen Witemeyer, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors Jessica Barnes and Dave Long


  • Four Months in Cuba by Luana Ehrlich, ACFW Qualified Independently Published, editors Pat Brown and Jodi Shumway
  • Ghost Heart by Lisa Harris and Lynne Gentry, ACFW Qualified Independently Published, editor Ellen Tarver
  • Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Amanda Bostic and Erin Healy


  • Puzzle House by Lillian Duncan, Harbourlight Books (Pelican), editor Jamie West
  • An Awakened Heart by Jody Hedlund, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Dave Long
  • One Enchanted Noel from Enchanted: A Christmas Collection by Melissa Tagg, ACFW Qualified Independently Published, editor Terri Simmons


  • A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese, Waterfall Press, editors Amy Hosford and Sheryl Zajechowski
  • Then There Was You by Kara Isaac, ACFW Qualified Independently Published, editors Iola Goulton and Halee Matthews
  • A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editors Andrea Doering and Kristin Kornoelje

Romantic Suspense

  • Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editors Lonnie Hull DuPont and Kristin Kornoelje
  • Fatal Mistake by Susan Sleeman, Faith Words (Hachette), editor Christina Boys
  • The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editor Raela Schoenherr

Short Novel

  • Christmas at Carnton by Tamera Alexander, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editors Ami McConnell Abston and Becky Philpott
  • A Sweetwater River Romance by Misty M. Beller, ACFW Qualified Independently Published, editor Robin Patchen
  • Claiming Her Cowboy by Tina Radcliffe, Love Inspired (Harlequin), editors Melissa Endlich and Giselle Regus


  • Awakened by Morgan L. Busse, Enclave Publishing, editor Reagen Reed
  • Huntress by Julie Hall, Independently Published, editor Rachel Starr Thomson
  • King’s Blood by Jill Williamson, Bethany House (Baker) Publishing, editors Dave Long and Elisa Tally

Young Adult

  • For Love & Honor by Jody Hedlund, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, editor Sara Bierling
  • Playing by Heart by Carmela Martino, Vinspire Publishing, editor Dawn Carrington
  • Betrayal of the Band by Sarah Tipton, Watershed Books (Pelican Book Group), editor Jamie West


  • Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli, Tyndale House, editors Caleb Sjogren and Jan Stob
  • If We Make It Home by Christina Suzann Nelson, Kregel Publications, editor Dawn Anderson
  • Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano, Revell – A Division of Baker Publishing Group, editors Barbara Barnes and Vicki Crumpton

ACFW’s 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award will also be given at the annual conference awards gala in September. This year’s recipient is prolific author, speaker, and beloved storyteller, Liz Curtis Higgs. Liz’s contributions to Christian fiction, to encouraging other writers, and to enhancing readers’ understanding of the power of story leads to this honor.

Additional honors to be awarded at the gala include Editor of the Year and Agent of the Year. The nominees are:

ACFW 2018 Agent of the Year Finalists

  • Julie Gwinn – The Seymour Agency
  • Jim Hart – Hartline Literary Agency
  • Natasha Kern – The Natasha Kern Literary Agency

2018 ACFW Editor of the Year Finalists

  • Kelsey Bowen – Revell, a Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • Andrea Doering – Revell, A Division of Baker Publishing Group
  • Robin Patchen – Robin’s Red Pen (freelance)

Complete lists of these and the Genesis Contest finalists (unpublished) are available at

ACFW is a professional organization devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction. ACFW’s mission is to empower Christian novelists by inspiring them to join with God in the creative process, training them in the craft, and educating them in the publishing industry. For more information about ACFW, contact or