Celebrating our 2019 Award Winning Authors!

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Wise Ink authors took the award season by storm this past year, with nearly a dozen titles winning medals or landing as finalists in some of the top independent book award ceremonies of 2019. Wise Ink published many amazing books this past year and we are thrilled to highlight the accomplishments of some of the projects below. Coming from a large pool of diverse and thematically-varied writers, these stories run the subject gamut, spanning from topics like true crime and small-town mystery to journeys of self-discovery and healing.


Three primary award ceremonies took center stage in Wise Ink’s book awards: the IBPA Ben Franklin Awards, the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY Awards for short), and the Midwest Book Awards.


The Ben Franklin Awards are regarded as one of the highest national honors for independent publishers, include over fifty categories that recognize excellence in editorial quality and design.

The IPPY Awards were the first awards that were open exclusively to independents, and winners are chosen from around the world. Winners are featured in articles on the Independent Publisher website and promoted in press releases, among other rewards.

And with a local focus, the Midwest Book Awards recognize exceptional quality from independent Midwest writers – a demographic that the Midwest Independent Publishing Association strives to serve through education, networking, and peer recognition.

Without further ado, here are the details about the awardees!

Amy Pendino’s debut novel The Witness Tree, a thrilling mystery that takes place in rural Iowa and centers around the removal of an ominous double-headed tree, was a Silver Winner in The Ben Franklin Awards’ Best New Voice: Fiction category. The Witness Tree also won the gold medal for the IPPY Awards’ Midwest - Best Regional Fiction category and was a finalist in the Midwest Book Awards’ Fiction - Literary/Contemporary/Historical category.

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In a similar vein, Michael Brodkorb and Allison Mann’s true crime page-turner The Girls Are Gone covers the real-life events of 2013 that surrounded the disappearance of Samantha and Gianna Rucki, two sisters who vanished in the midst of their parents’ divorce. The Girls Are Gone took home the gold medal in the IPPY Awards’ True Crime category.

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Another title that nabbed the gold medal was Running to Graceland by John Slayton, a contemplative novel about a group of freshly-graduated friends who go on a road trip filled with choice, consequence, and self-discovery; it won in IPPY Awards’ Popular Fiction category.

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Turning to the introspective side of things, Susan Hannifin-MacNab’s A to Z Healing Toolbox, which guides readers through active and intentional healing after experiencing trauma, was the Gold Winner of The Ben Franklin Awards’ Psychology category.

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German Awakening, a skillfully-woven story about author Amy Hallberg’s retreat from a small town in the U.S. to West Germany through an exchange program, received the bronze medal in the IPPY Awards’ Midwest – Best Regional Nonfiction category.

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Author Jenney Egertson’s Before I Leave is the culmination of a fifteen-year-long journey to recount the stories and wisdom of a diverse group of women over the age of 80. Filled with lessons about integrity, resilience, and forgiveness, Before I Leave took the silver medal in the IPPY Awards’ Aging/Death & Dying category.

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Humorist Kim Kane tackles the “taboo” topic of the female aging process in Sparkle On: Women Aging in Gratitude, a witty book that covers every imaginable base as it encourages women of “a certain age” to continue living with grace and gratitude. Sparkle On was the bronze medalist in the IPPY Awards’ Women’s Issues category.

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To round it all off, there were also several winners with stunning visuals that accompanied the writing. With a beautiful collection of accompanying photography, Charles R. Stinson’s Connections explores his architectural process and the stories of the people behind his designs; the book was a Silver Winner in the Ben Franklin Awards’ Coffee Table Book category.

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And last but not least, When I Fly With Papa was the gold medal awardee for the Midwest Book Awards’ Religion/Philosophy category. When I Fly With Papa is Dr. Claudia May’s three-movement poem brought to life in the richly-illustrated pages of a children’s book, which explores how the reader’s relationship with Papa as God can be experienced in a variety of different ways.

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Congratulations again to these authors - it is incredibly exciting to see such talent being recognized and awarded. Wise Ink looks forward to this next publishing year and the bountiful stories it will bring.


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