Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Christian Newswire/ -- Each year, hundreds of booksellers across the South vote on their favorite hand-sell books of the year. These are the Southern books they have most enjoyed selling to customers; the ones that they couldn't stop talking about; the ones most often pushed into a customer's hands with the words "You have got to read this!" The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Book Award (SIBA) was created to recognize great books of Southern origin.

For a book to be eligible, it must be set in the South, and it must have been originally published within the 2008 calendar year. Only SIBA-member booksellers can submit nominations and vote on the selection of finalists. Winners will be chosen from the list of finalists by a jury of SIBA booksellers.

Vonda Skelton, author of Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island, has been nominated for the young adult fiction SIBA book Award. Skelton says, "What an honor to be considered for the SIBA Book Awards, especially since Bitsy is a southern girl through-and- through. All her adventures take place in southern settings, too, including Hilton Head Island, SC, Amelia Island, FL, and Tybee Island, GA. As a matter of fact, the hardest part about writing Bitsy's stories is trying to figure out plausible ways to get a poor 12-year-old kid to all these cool southern islands!

"I love writing kids' stories that include mystery, adventure, and humor, while reinforcing positive life lessons. The characters make bad choices, fight with siblings, and struggle with right and wrong. But I work hard to creatively include the natural consequences of poor choices -- something that's often missing in much of today's preteen fiction. We don't have to drag kids into the gutter in order to encourage them to read. We just need to offer them heart-throbbing adventure, realistic conflict, and emotion. It's a real plus when they can learn truth about life at the same time."

About the Author:
Vonda Skelton is an entertaining speaker and author with a heart for women and their families. Skelton worked as an RN for many years and as freelance writer and speaker is a frequent instructor at writer's conferences and enjoys mentoring and encouraging new writers.

Full release at:

Author available for interviews.


Vonda Skelton said...

Wow, Sally! Thank you for the encouragement! I'm thrilled, of course, especially since this award is primarily given to secular books. One of my goals in writing kids' books has been that the books would get into the hands of kids who wouldn't go into the Christian bookstore. It's a way to promote positive, God-honoring truths while entertaining kids with exciting fiction. I believe in it so much, I even teach a writing class on the topic!

I also teach writing classes to kids in schools and have spoken to over 15,000 kids, primarily in the public school system. What a joy!

Thanks again, Sally. I appreciate your encouragement!

Vonda Skelton
The Christian Writer's Den

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