Indie Author is First Two-time Winner of Coveted Southern Fiction Award

Historical fiction author Jessica James of Gettysburg, PA., to be presented with a second John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction for her latest Virginia-based Civil War novel. James' epic romantic novels have been compared to Gone with the Wind.

GETTYSBURG, PA, July 01, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The first two-time winner of the coveted John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction is an independently published historical fiction author from Gettysburg, PA.

Jessica James first won the prestigious literary award in 2011 for her Civil War novel Noble Cause. She will receive the 2014 award for her inspirational novel Above and Beyond in mid-July. Both novels are set among the rolling hills of northern Virginia.

The John Esten Cooke Award is presented annually to encourage writers of fiction to portray characters and events dealing with Southern history in a historically accurate fashion. It comes with an engraved trophy for display and a $1,000 monetary award.

Other John Esten Cooke Award winners include New York Times bestselling authors Donald McCaig for Jacob's Ladder, Robert Macomber for Point of Honor, and Newt Gingrich for Grant Comes East.

"It's like lightning has struck twice," James said. "I am so honored to receive this prestigious award, named for an author that I have read and admired ever since I began writing."

John Esten Cooke was one of the most important literary figures of nineteenth-century Virginia. A prolific author of historical adventures and romances in the tradition of Sir Walter Scott and James Fenimore Cooper, Cooke's work holds a significant place in Virginia's literary history and in nineteenth-century American literary culture.

An avid reader of 19th century fiction and non-fiction, James is well known for her ability to describe the emotions and turmoil of the period, and for her expertise in blending romance with historical fiction.

The list of accolades for her novels includes two USA Best Book Award honors, as well as a number of IPPY and Next Generation Indie Awards. She was also a bronze winner in the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year contest, and a Finalist in the HOLT Medallion contest, the Sheila Award contest and the Reader's Crown Award contest.

Above and Beyond tells the story of a Confederate spy, who teaches a cavalry officer that faith is more important than glory -- and love more important than life. It hit the No. 1 spot on the Amazon bestseller list in the Christian Historical Fiction category soon after its release in August of 2013.

Noble Cause, the other Cooke Award winner, hit the top spot in the Military Romance category, and has received a number of other literary awards. With its unique blend of romantic and historical fiction, Noble Cause tells a deeply personal and poignant tale that, according to one reviewer "transcends the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader's bones." Praised by both men and women, and suitable for teens, this novel captivates and enthralls by telling a classic tale of courage, sacrifice and enduring love.

"It's very fulfilling to know that even those who are not interested in the Civil War are enjoying my books," James said. "It's even more fulfilling when they tell me that the novels make them want to learn more."

The author was featured in the book 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading, published in 2010, and was a featured author at the Amelia Island Book Festival in Florida.

All of James' novels are available at bookstores and Internet retail sites. Personalized, signed copies are available by visiting Jessica James' historical fiction website or the Jessica James Fan Page on Facebook.

The author's latest project, which is a contemporary military romance with scenes in Ocean City, MD., can be found on her Pubslush site.

Books that honor the spirit and traditions of America's past.

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