Hanna Aasvik Helmersen
From My Edmonds News: “We fled forty-one times,” said Hanna Aasvik Helmersen, today’s speaker at EPIC Group Writers in the Edmonds Library. Helmerson’s talk touched on her Norwegian childhood as a refugee under Nazi occupation, which she documented in her nonfiction book, “War and Innocence: A Young Girl’s Life in Occupied Norway (1940-1945).”

Helmersen’s book chronicles the Nazi arrival into her family’s town of Narvik in Northern Norway, beyond the Arctic Circle. Narvik was a strategic choice because high-grade iron ore could be exported easily to serve the Nazi war machine. Once Nazis were on Norwegian soil, Helmersen and several siblings fled with their mother, not knowing if they would see the family patriarch or eldest daughter again. At one point, Kirsten, the youngest girl, was lost, but neighbors looked out for one another, sharing shelter and food, until the family was reunited.

Those same neighbors made up part of the resistance movement, which destroyed lists of young Norwegian males so they could not be conscripted, and also sabotaged fuel sources and ridiculed Germans via the newspaper’s hidden jokes. Throughout the war, young Helmersen suffered food shortages and the imposition of Germans living under the family roof, while still managing to attend school and thrive as a student, even winning a poetry competition.

Today Helmersen said she has a limited number of books left for sale, and she hopes to educate more Americans about the price Norwegians paid in World War II. For more information on Helmersen’s book, see , and to learn more about EPIC’s speakers and writing group, see the

--By Janette Turner



Barbara Kindness spoke today at EPIC writing group on “Pitfalls, Promises, Purpose: Becoming a Successful Author in Today’s Marketplace.” To be successful, she advised would-be authors to set goals, and avoid listening to well-meaning outsiders, including editors who do not understand the writer's' “voice.” She also recommended avoiding CreateSpace’s print-on-demand service because there are better options, such as these:

Book Publishers Network, Sheryn Hara, email: sherynhara@earthlink.net  425-483-3040, by appt. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, complimentary consultation. Idyll Arbor Press, Tom Blaschko, email: tom@idyllarbor.com 360-825-7797(small independent publisher in Enumclaw). SuperCharge Marketing (for social media) Matt Cail, email: supercharge11@gmail.com 425-247-1870, by appt. for complimentary consultation.

And Kindness provided this notice inviting contributions for her upcoming nonfiction compilation, The Day We Said ‘I Do’:


A new nonfiction book by Edmonds writer Barbara Kindness invites married and formerly married men and women to recall their wedding day and write a paragraph or two about anything that in particular stands out in their memory. The Day We Said ‘I Do,’ will include anecdotes -- from funny to sad to embarrassing to poignant.

One couple, for example, remembers looking on in horror during their reception as, in 100-degrees-plus temperature, their wedding cake started imitating the Tower of Pisa. Another remembers a cousin wearing a very tight red dress who made a valiant, but off-key, attempt to sing a love song nightclub-style during the ceremony while guests squirmed in the church pews.

On my wedding day,” recalls Kindness, “the best man gave me a ride to the church but in his haste he had forgotten one thing: During the ceremony, I glanced down at his feet, and he was still wearing his bedroom slippers!”

“And, I still chuckle at my wedding pictures,” she adds. “I too was married on a very hot day – the hottest in Virginia in many years – and the wedding guests, to quench their thirst, drank gin and tonics as if they were lemonade. No one in the photos is standing upright – they are either leaning on someone or something!”

Everyone has a memory and readers are encouraged to submit their story. Entries will be anonymous, if desired, and a pseudonym used. Those selected for publication will receive a complimentary copy of the book upon publication. Send to: Barbara Kindness Communications, PO Box 1754, Edmonds, WA  98020, or e-mail barbkindness@gmail.com.



Barbara Kindness
From My Edmonds News:

Edmonds resident will speak Monday, 11 a.m., at the Edmonds Library. Her talk, “Pitfalls, Promises, Purpose: Becoming a Successful Author in Today’s Marketplace,” will feature tips from her career as a publicist, editor and writer.

As publicist for Olympic skater Rosalynn Sumners, Kindness arranged national media interviews, and wrote an article for TEEN magazine. Today, Kindness serves as publicity coordinator for Sno-King Community Chorale and the annual DeMiero Jazz Festival, and books speakers, prepares media kits for authors and artists, and is an editor and book doctor for fiction and nonfiction work. She coauthored an autobiography of a Hall of Fame basketball coach in “My Impossible Dream – The Story of Chuck Randall.”

Kindness was former president of Edmonds Chamber of Commerce, American Cancer Society (South Snohomish County unit), Stevens Hospital Foundation, Interfaith Hospitality Network of Seattle, Edmonds Historic Preservation Commission, and Lake Forest Park Rotary. Among many distinctions, she was the first woman inducted into Edmonds Rotary (1987).

The public is invited to this free event, although seating is limited. For more information, see the EPIC Group Writers website.



Flowers from the EPIC Publishing Group for leader Janette.
In four sessions this spring, folks in the EPIC Publishing Group became published writers. Now you have the chance to read these fresh stories at no charge:

Sophie Cay's "." 

Victoria Peters's "."

Ed Davis's ""

Ingrid Andersen's "."

Janette's excerpt from "."

Donna Warren's website at , and her story, .