Bywater Books is pleased to announce that two of our 2016 titles were awarded regional medals in the 21st Annual Independent Publishers Awards.

State of Grace by Sandra Moran was awarded the gold medal in the Midwest Region.


Birdie Holloway is a typical eleven-year-old growing up in a small, corn-fed Kansas town in the early 1980s—that is until her best friend, Grace, is brutally murdered. Suddenly, everything changes for Birdie, and everything she believes she knows about her insulated small-town life is called into question. Obsessed in figuring out who killed her friend, Birdie spends years trying to find the murderer. Eventually, she connects with someone who is every bit as interested in the case as she is.

Someone who knows how close she is to solving the murder.

Someone who will kill again to keep her quiet . . .

SANDRA MORAN was an author and assistant adjunct professor of anthropology at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas. A native Kansan, she worked professionally as a newspaper journalist, a political speechwriter, and an archaeological tour manager. In her novels, she strived to create flawed characters struggling to find themselves within the cultural constructs of gender, religion and sexuality. Moran authored the critically acclaimed novels Letters Never Sent, Nudge, The Addendum, and All We Lack. Revisions on State of Grace, her final novel, were completed in September 2015. Less than a month later, she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. She passed away on November 7, 2015.

The Liberators of Willow Run was awarded the bronze medal in the Great Lakes Region.



America is the Arsenal of Democracy.

Ships. Tanks. Airplanes. Munitions. With nine million men away fighting in Europe and the south Pacific, it’s up to America’s women to produce the tools of war—and victory rests on the wings of America’s Liberator, the B-24 bomber.

Audrey throws herself into the war effort. Hard work and long hours are just what she needs to keep the past at bay. Nona joins Audrey’s crew at the Willow Run Bomber Plant outside Detroit. She’s left her home in Kentucky to do her bit, and buys all the war bonds she can afford—she has a plan for her life. Ruth seizes the opportunity to create a new life for herself—a life her mother would not recognize.

Set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world, these women capture the spirit of the times through their determination, ingenuity, and enduring courage.

MARIANNE K. MARTIN is one of the most honored writers in the lesbian fiction genre. She is the author of ten novels, including five Lambda Literary Award finalists. She has been honored with the Trailblazer Award from the Golden Crown Literary Society, and she was inducted into the Saints & Sinners Literary Hall of Fame in 2013. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Each year since 1996, the Independent Publisher Book Awards competition has identified a reading list of progressive, thought-provoking books that touch lives, advance careers, and stretch our imaginations. With the tag line, “Recognizing Excellence in Independent Publishing,” the IPPY Awards showcase the best books from throughout North America and the English-speaking world. The Regional IPPY Awards identify the best books published about each of eight U.S. regions, two Canadian regions, Australia/New Zealand, and Europe.

Launched as the first unaffiliated awards program open exclusively to independent, university, and self-published titles, the awards are presented each spring at a gala ceremony during the BookExpo America convention in New York. Winners receive gold, silver and bronze medals and foil seals for their book covers.

For a full list of winners, please click here.


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