April 2009 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

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Tower of Strength by Annette Lyon

It was 1877 when Tabitha Hall Chadwick left Manti as a young bride. Now, nearly seven years later, she returns as a widow with her young son to make a new beginning. Tabitha's strained relationship with her mother–in–law adds more difficulty to her life as a single working mother. Yet with a stroke of courage, Tabitha makes two purchases that become her passions: the local newspaper and a traumatized horse.

As she struggles to meet the challenges of her new roles, Tabitha welcomes the friendship of Samuel, a recently widowed British immigrant. Working together to train the abused horse, the two discover a second chance at love. But when Samuel is critically injured during the construction of the Manti Temple, Tabitha faces the pain of old wounds and the risk of new ones.

Weaving themes of loss and renewal, this poignant tale explores a vital choice each of us must make: to seek safety in isolation or to embrace the painful yet beautiful complexities of life and love.

Annette Lyon was given the 2007 Best of State medal for fiction in Utah and was a 2007 Whitney Award finalist for her fifth book, Spires of Stone. She's been writing for most of her life, beginning with stories about mice in second grade. While she's found success in magazine and business writing, her true passion is fiction. In 1995, she graduated cum laude from BYU with a BA in English. Annette enjoys reading, knitting, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order.

The Reckoning by Tanya Parker Mills

The Reckoning, by Tanya Parker Mills, tells the story of a journey home gone terribly wrong, but even when all the light has gone, forgiveness and redemption can heal the past and show a way to the future. Through gritty, gut wrenching prose Mills’s heroic and courageous storytelling exposes the horrors of dictatorship and the mindless cruelty that flows from political repression. It also sends a message of hope, inspiration, and faith in the human heart.

Mills’s The Reckoning masterfully weaves the real horrors of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with the rich threads of a compelling fictional narrative as raw and real as anything taken from today’s political headlines. Told with tenacious honesty and unflinching realism, in a style sure to disturb and entertain, The Reckoning shows how we can transcend the past, no matter how painful or murky it may have been, and that the future is out there, full and bright, if we are willing to embrace it.

Tanya Parker Mills: Beginning from her birth on an American Air Force base in Tripoli, Libya, Tanya's childhood was spent mostly abroad in such countries as Greece, Turkey, Iraq, and Lebanon. Indeed, she and her family lived through two revolutions involving Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party.

Tanya has worked as an Assistant Editor for Trade Publications at Sunset Magazine in California. Tanya met her husband, Michael, in Los Angeles and, after they married, she quit her job to begin raising a family and finally write a novel that would draw on her exotic background.

After two children, a move to Washington State, and twenty years of imagining, plotting, researching, and typing away, she has completed The Reckoning and is now halfway through a second novel, Laps.

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