Sunday, January 10, 2010

The 2009 PODBRAM Awards

This has been a banner year for PODBRAM, our best yet by far. The illustrious review team read and reviewed eighty-four books in '09, and many of them were outstanding. The high quality level of the books we read in 2009 has literally delayed the posting of these awards until now. We wanted to squeeze the total number of awards down to the number of winners in 2008, but the task was all too daunting. We presented twelve awards out of fifty-three books reviewed in '08. Now twelve outstanding works will receive official awards, but in addition, four more will receive honorable mention, and stay tuned for the special honorarium later in this post. Regular readers of PODBRAM know that in order to acquire a review here, an author's book must pass the gatekeeper's initial examination, be specifically selected by one of our reviewers, and then survive our legendary book strip-search and dunking tank. These are the best of the best. Without further delay, here they come!

Honorable Mentions

Faust by E. A. Bucchianeri
This study of a famous classic is a massive, two-volume work of dedication and research, far beyond the realm of ordinary POD releases.

Peeper by Paul Chandler
This book missed an award for contemporary fiction and another one for its cover by a mere eyelash.

In Her Name by Michael R. Hicks
This beginning of a new science fiction series is already receiving accolades everywhere from Amazon to the Kindle Boards.

Women of Magdalene by Rosemary Poole-Carter
The only reason this book missed an official award is that it has very recently been taken out of print.

The Official Awards

Best Cover: Winter Ghost by Don Meyer

Historical Concept: Voices Under Berlin by T.H.E. Hill

Christian Lit with Universal Appeal: Saints in the City by Andie Andrews

Science Fiction: Shifted by Colin D. Jones

Mystery/Thriller: Dark Shadows Red Bayou by John Atkinson

Coming of Age: Calling Out Your Name by Ned White

Historical Fiction: Boxcar Down by Charles L. Lunsford

Contemporary Fiction: Ghost Notes by Art Edwards

2009 Relevancy: The Crusading Spirit in Modern America by Richard J. Bazillion

Poignant Historical Fiction: Gone Over by David Chacko & Alexander Kulcsar

Contemporaneous Literature: The Saga of Beowulf by R. Scot Johns

Stunning Originality: Six-Hundred Hours of a Life by Craig Lancaster
(Re-released 10/23/09 as 600 Hours of Edward)
Special Honorarium

The world of quality POD authors, and specifically, the Independent Authors Guild, lost one of our own a few weeks ago. Steven A. Knutson had published a particularly entertaining, autobiographical trilogy during the last few years of his life, the third book of which was reviewed at PODBRAM in 2009. Steve's Valley of the Shadow is our final 2009 Honorable Mention Award. Lloyd Lofthouse will now present his elegy for Steven A. Knutson.
"Long after I'm gone, when my children tell their children, 'your Grandfather was crazy,'—I have lived a wild life, walking on tiptoes and holding in check any hint of a timid spirit. …" Steven A. Knutson
These words captured the Steve I met on the Internet in and out of the virtual IAG (Independent Author's Guild) discussions we had. I never met Steve in the flesh, but I read and reviewed the three books that make up his memoir. You can meet a person and never get to know him but through Steve's writing and e-mails, I got to know him better than most parents know their children these days.
Although Knutson admits to his wayward life as a kid in It Takes One to Catch One, after reading Confessions from the Last Frontier, I want to say that this former Alaskan Wildlife Trooper and Fish Cop made up for whatever transgressions and sins he wrote about in the first installment of his three-part memoir.
In Valley of the Shadow, I wrote, "I cannot imagine this book and the story of raw truth it vividly shows being published by any traditional publisher. I cannot imagine Hollywood making this book into a movie since it would go against the engineered political correctness that seems to rule American thought these days.
"After all, since Vietnam, it’s been a challenge to find the truth from the antiwar American mass-media machine. When you read or watch the news, do so with a grain of salt and consider that Hitler once said if you say a lie enough, it becomes the truth. On the other hand, Steve told the truth."
As long as one of his books survives, Steve's memory will live on. If possible, I'd like to combine all three of Steve's books into one volume with a different title, a new cover, a new ISBN and a new publisher, Three Clover Press. If his children hold the rights to Steve's books, my offer on royalties is 80% to Steve's family and 20% to the publisher, and Three Clover Press will pay the bills to keep Steve's work in print.
Goodbye, Steve, you may be gone, but your memory will live on through your work.

Editor's Note: A special thank you goes out to T.H.E. Hill for creating our new PODBRAM Awards Logo.


T.H.E. Hill said...

Thank you for the great honor of selecting Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary as one of the twelve PODBRAM annual book awards winners for 2009. This has been a very good year for Voices Under Berlin. Your award for best Historical Concept is the fourth one this year. Voices Under Berlin is on the Puss Reboots book blog Top 10 List of Books Reviewed in 2009. It received one of the Branson Stars & Flags Book Awards, and it was the Military Writers' Society of America, Book of the Month for September. I say that not just to "blow my own horn," but to underscore the remark you make in the introduction to the awards list that the books on this list "are the best of the best." There can be no doubt that PODdy Train was correct to characterize PODBRAM as "the leader in indie review sites on the net today." I am proud to be included on your list.

Art Edwards said...

Thanks so much to Celia Hayes and all of PODBRAM for naming my novel, Ghost Notes, their best contemporary fiction book of 2009. 2010 is turning out to be the year of Ghost Notes, as it's already been reviewed favorably at the Boogle and Curled up with a Good Book (audio book). And now this.

Thank you all for reviewing self-published work, and not just my own. Your voice lends legitimacy to all our endeavors.

Art Edwards