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July 17, 2006



Oh, my gosh. I'm guilty! Rejection of God due to theodicy issues--check. No hindus or muslims--check. (I do have Catholics though.) And I recently had Quakers. Does that count for something?

Great post.


Shoot. I was working on a novel about a brunette CIA agent with an alcoholic partner who is in a coma herself while kicking her great-aunt's butt with her magic mind powers, all the time slaying demons without body language or shifty eyes. Oh well, back to the drawing board.


Draft. I've got one of those green-eyed redheads in my book. I didn't know any better than to fashion her after my own father and half a dozen aunts and cousins, all of whom are--you guess it: redheads with green eyes. Another cliched Christian novel.

BJ Hoff


Yes, that *was" supposed to be "Drat," not "draft." Now I'm a writer of cliched novels who can't spell.



It looks like you have to be an author of a Bethany book or not sell any books at all to win a Christy award. Your other option would be to be an expert on politics and religion in the 21st century and be able to write an interesting story based on that to win an award.

It seems you are penalizing and complaining about books based on the fact that there are too many books written on a certain topic or a topic you don't like, that's not fair is it? Publishers are in the business to reach the masses with great stories the consumers want to read. I am tired of hearing the compalints of the judges that there weren't very many good books submitted. Ask the retailers and consumers what books they'd like to see win and I know for a fact you'd get a whole different list.

I guesss to be a Christy award winner the mention of God or Christian can't be anywhere in the book? If you are a "Christian Publisher" why even submitt your titles if you know off the bat you are not even going to be considered because you have "too much Christian content" isn't that why readers go to CBA stores, to buy a book they know will have the content they want? It just seems odd that the Christy's will take the publishers money for submissions knowing they don't have a chance, they're happy to do that. I say let the consumers speak for themselves and the best-sellers list decide what's top fiction and what's not.

For what it's worth that was my take away from the Christy's.


Whew! My WIP is about a black-haired, blue-eyed divorcee who inherits a funeral home! (Skating awfully close to the edge on that one!) Nobody's in a coma because most of the folks are, well, dead. :-)

Thanks for the enlightening list! Seriously, I was very interested in your perspective on reasons why people don't accept/reject Christianity. Fascinating!


Jana Riess

These comments have been super-fun. I think most people have understood the spirit in which this post intended -- thanks. I would say to one of the previous posters that it's pretty ridiculous to suppose that novels that mention "God" or "Christian" can't win Christys. For evidence of this, you might actually read the ones that won.

And there is definitely a place for a competition that is judged by writers, editors and scholars; you're quite right to say that some of these novels are challenging to readers, and they don't always have the most stellar consumer sales. But part of the point of my post is that the majority isn't always right. Just because retailers and consumers might have chosen something else doesn't make the bestseller du jour a better book. Those authors can be rewarded while they sip their alcohol-free cocktails on a cruise ship and count their royalties in their heads. The Christy winners can have, well, the Christy. :-)

Brandilyn Collins

Hey, Jana, maybe all those books feature green-eyed, red-haired protagonists because the world knows there is indeed no finer female to be found.


Interesting comments and perspectives.

Perhaps it is time for more green skinned, red eyed heroines in CBA novels. ;)

John Robinson

Good blog, Jana. And I'll up you one on the ante. How's about the struggling Christian writer (like me) who's writing nasty, ugly, funny, harrowing tales for the men's market? My books are out (nationally stocked, more's the miracle) and doing as well as can be expected (given the uphill dynamics of the climb), but DAYUM! it can be a booger. Even so, I forsee better times for us all.

Dee Stewart

CGK, I can't agree with the statement:

"I say let the consumers speak for themselves and the best-sellers list decide what's top fiction and what's not."

Best-sellers list are not synonymous with best writing. I am was a Christy Judge and from my knowledge of the other judges they are heavy christian fiction readers, who are Christian.

I agree, Jana. This Heavy Silence was an incredible read. I thought River Rising was the best book I read in 2005 until I remembered that the book doesn't come out until 2006. :) So 2006 then.

Christian fiction should be better than secular. Our stories should contain a special element that secular writers who use church settings or church drama to build readership can't match. NYT bestseller's list have titles like The Preacher's Son, A Sin and a Shame, The Davinci Code, Angel's Fall that aren't written with our worldview in mind. But they are getting our readership and some of our new writers. And that's an issue.


I thought I was the only one keeping the "sidekick-in-coma" tally going.

I love how the redheaded and green-eyed heroine is well on the way to becoming the Christian Fiction archetype.

This was a highly amusing post!


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