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Carpathians 

by Paul Dixon

An epic First Contact story on a galactic scale.

Humans have reached the stars, but there is no evidence any other species survived its own sentience long enough to do the same.

Until now, when the Magellanix deep-space scout Accipiter discovers the Artifact, a million-year-old alien construct resting in a dormant volcano on a faraway world.

Now TransGalactic has sent the Carpathia to steal it.

Two ships; two rival corporations; and a race only one of them can win.

But the stakes are greater than they seem. The Artifact is more than just a technological marvel. It holds the key to humanity’s survival, and - perhaps - an understanding of our place in the universe at last.

1st
PLACE

A Deadly Game

by Gayle Brown 

When local college student, Jaden Pierce, disappears one night playing 'Manhunt in the Woods' with his fraternity brothers, Nicole, an empathetic stay-at-home mom living a blissful life, joins the search party.

Combing through the wooded area, Nicole unearths her son Kyle's license and withholds this potential piece of evidence. She trusts him, but a sliver of doubt festers below the surface, thanks to one unresolved incident from middle school and his shady pastime. After he is officially named a person of interest, she must decide what to do next. Unsettled but determined to protect him, Nicole searches for the answers on her own.

While probing deeper, surprised by her unethical actions interfering with the investigation, Nicole realizes she's being followed. As the situation deteriorates, she is blindsided by the truth, suddenly shattering her trust in people as well as her entire belief system. Now, unsure who to believe and running out of time, Nicole faces her most challenging moral dilemma: With someone's fate resting in her hands, will she reveal what she's learned or keep it to herself?

A Deadly Game is a fast-paced, action-packed thriller raising the question, "How far is a mother willing to go to protect her child?" The constant guessing and unexpected, riveting twists will keep you turning the pages. Don't miss out! Buy your copy today.

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2nd
PLACE

3rd
PLACE

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Missing in Shadows

(Townsend & Gray Book 1)

by Tanya Nellestein

Ashleigh Gray, a former rising star detective in the Sydney police force, experiences a devastating downfall that costs her everything she holds dear. Determined to escape her past and start anew, she moves to Sergis, Connecticut, where she hopes to rebuild her life without the weight of her mistakes.

Police Chief Chad Townsend, anticipating a tanned, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Australian when he visits the newest resident who has applied for a gun license, is surprised to meet Ash instead. She defies his expectations with her pale complexion, long red hair, and captivating emerald green eyes.

Their paths intertwine when a severe storm uncovers a car crashed into a tree, mysteriously devoid of a driver. The stolen vehicle, wiped clean of fingerprints and DNA, leaves no trace of the missing person.

Frustrated by the lack of evidence, Ash offers a fresh perspective on the case, providing Chad with alternative avenues to explore. As they delve deeper into the mysterious disappearance, Ash and Chad form an unlikely alliance, determined to find the truth.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

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 FICTION WINNERS 

 NONFICTION WINNERS 

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You Slept Where? 

Calamities of a Clumsy Businesswoman

by Brenda Prater Sellers 

As a little girl, author Brenda Prater Sellers traipsed around Prater Flats in Louisville, Tennessee, thinking she was Ansel Adams with her first, clunky, black-and-white Polaroid that didn’t work half the time. The love of that camera and the unknown turned her into not only an overzealous wannabe photographer but into a Southern, Mountain Dew-driven, M&M eating, adrenaline-seeking adventurer, skydiver, and climber of Mount Everest.

In You Slept Where? she shares her story about a businesswoman who is also a wife, mother, and a farmer’s daughter pursuing a childhood dream of being published in National Geographic, while coping with life’s struggles of her parents’ eldercare. Sellers also tells about her experiences and mishaps in bizarre locations and staying at the world’s most unique places: an underwater hotel, an ice hotel, sleeping with polar bears, or sleeping in wigwams along Route 66. Imagine the movies Miss Congeniality meets National Lampoon’s Vacation in her version of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

With cost-saving travel tips and other advice included, You Slept Where? provides insight into one woman’s crazy adventures while encouraging others to create their own bucket list.

1st
PLACE

Chop that Sh*t Up!

Leadership and Life Lessons Learned While in the Military

by CSM Daniel L Pinion 

Chop that Sh*t Up! is a collection of stories by a military veteran with deployments ranging from Bosnia-Herzegovina to tours in Iraq. Follow along his twenty-eight-year career from private to command sergeant major, and learn how a young, gullible private became a battle-hardened soldier to an emotionally broken leader on his journey back to civilian life. Whether you served, are thinking about serving, or know or care about someone who has served, this book will make you laugh, cry, or both. A true warrior and backbone of the Army, CSM (R) Pinion shares the highs and lows of his life serving our country in this soul-sharing book about him and his men.

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2nd
PLACE

3rd
PLACE

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Miracles in the Dark

How a Childhood Cult and Abuse Survivor Reclaimed the Light

by Tammy René 

There is Hope!

If you are asking how to heal from childhood trauma, or if it's even possible, Miracles in the Dark: How a Childhood Cult and Abuse Survivor Reclaimed the Light can help answer those questions. It is a compelling and raw story of overcoming the trauma of childhood abuse and finding hope and healing. In Miracles in the Dark you will gain insights about:

  • The power in accepting and processing the pain of abuse

  • Insights into healing from spiritual abuse

  • How the kind acts of others –no matter how small– can play a key role in the healing journey

  • The reality that healing from childhood trauma is possible

"Regardless of the pains and heartache we are called to go through, all of us can find light and hope, ultimately thriving in a life that is uniquely our own." Tammy René

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  Children's Books WINNERS 

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A Bell for Maury's Bicycle

by David Maurice Sharp

Introducing children to financial literacy at an early age can start them on a path that will serve them well throughout their lives. A Bell for Maury’s Bicycle is an age-appropriate and fun introduction to some basic financial concepts for young readers and soon-to-be-readers. Follow along as Maury learns the value of buying something he wants, has the patience to wait for it, and finds clever ways to save for his goal.

A Bell for Maury's Bicycle won a 2023 Royal Dragonfly Book Award in the Picture Books 6 & Older category. The contest is a worldwide book competition that honors excellence in all types of literature, recognizing creativity and hard work in 67 categories.

1st
PLACE

The Land of Hearts

by Antwinette Scott 

Heartwarming Journey to Wholeness and Healing

"The Land of Hearts" by Antwinette Scott, is a true gem.
The story follows a cast of endearing characters, each representing a different aspect of the human experience.

The story centers around Wise-Heart, Sick-Heart, Broken-Heart, and their companions as they embark on a journey to meet the King-of-Hearts in the Great City. The author has ingeniously woven together a tale that feels both whimsical and deeply allegorical. These characters mirror our own experiences and emotions, making their journey all the more relatable.

As they traverse through Heartland, they encounter various hearts, each with their own struggles and desires. Brave-Heart, Faithful-Heart, and their companions show friendship and courage, standing up against the challenges that Naughty-Heart and his crew present. It's this battle of hearts that highlights the contrasting forces of negativity and positivity we often encounter in life.

The author's ability to infuse such profound themes into a heartwarming and accessible narrative is lovely. Not to mention, the artwork on every single page is absolutely gorgeous. The King-of-Hearts interacts with each heart, addressing their specific needs with love and understanding. These moments are a wonderful reminder to kids and adults alike that healing is possible, and that there is hope for transformation, no matter how broken or lost we may feel.

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2nd
PLACE

3rd
PLACE

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Felipe the Feeling Frog

Caring Critters

by Zeba McGibbon 

Walk around the neighborhood with Felipe the Feeling Frog, who learns that there is no such thing as a bad feeling! In this kid-friendly social and emotional learning book, children will learn different strategies for regulating emotions and identifying their feelings.

In Felipe the Feeling Frog, Felipe learns that there are easy feelings and there are hard feelings. Felipe and the other Caring Critters display different emotions of sad, happy, angry, frustrated, excited, and lonely. These characters then model different emotional regulation skills. At the end of the book, there is a list of strategies to support children in transferring these skills to their own regulating emotion skills.

Felipe the Feeling Frog is from the Caring Critters series! These social and emotional learning books are designed to support children ages 4-7 with important social and emotional skills, such as kindness, impulse control, problem-solving, independence, etc. These books were all written by a kindergarten teacher after seeing exactly what skills her students needed help learning. They have been helping her students for years with great success!

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