Winner Donna Warren (photo by Yoojin Song).
The public is invited to party on Thurs., June 20, from 7-8 p.m. at Red Petal Cakes in Edmonds in celebration of our inaugural writing contest winners!



From :

Donna Warren’s entry, “The Red Pig,” took first place in EPIC’s inaugural writing contest. Warren, along with fellow winners in the Adult and Youth categories, will be honored at a party and reading at on June 20, from 7-8 p.m.

The Adult winners are as follows: First Place went to Donna Warren for “The Red Pig”; Second: Victoria Peters for “Kaidja”; Third: Susan Ferguson for “Citizen’s League”; Honorable Mention:  Jeanne Gerhard for “Inspiration.” In the Youth category, First Place went to Ailish Mackey for “Behind Those Glasses”; Second: Kunjan Chadha for “Mother”; Third to Lauren Mallory for “An Overweight Girl in a Dressing Room”; and Honorable Mention (tie) to Angela Lee for “Las Vegas” and Ethan Brown for “To Kill Intolerance.”

The contest was led by EPIC’s Dianne O’Connell, Sheri LaVay, and . When Jones was asked about the entries, she said, “I was surprised with the intensity of feelings and the grappling with harsh realities of life, which were much more evident than expected in the youth writings.”

O’Connell was struck by the opening line in “An Overweight Girl in a Dressing Room”: “A lonesome dove in a two-ton beast.” “It speaks for every girl of any age who has ever been told or who believes she is too fat,” said O’Connell. She was also “surprised and pleased at the number of Youth Division entries received. If we can continue to support and encourage young writers and poets, I think we will have done a very good thing.”

According to Jones, “The annual fall Write on the Sound set the stage for a strong writing community in Edmonds. The formation of EPIC cultivates a climate all year long to benefit those who desire to come together and support one another in the craft of writing. What once might have been considered a solitary endeavor has been reinvented into a community of those who write and encourage and inspire others to write.”

Contest leader LaVay summed up the value of writing: “Remember, you don’t have to be a published author to be a writer. Writing is simply good for the soul and many times is soul-saving.”

An e-book featuring the winning compositions is set to be released in time for the June 20 party. For more information on the event and the local writing community, see . (Cover photo All Rights Reserved for photographer Sienna Votry 2013).

Editor's note: The EPIC Group Winners e-book anthology is

Winner Donna Warren (photo courtesy Yoojin Song).
Authors Robbie Holz and Kim Votry passed along a tip for writers: Make sure to enter book awards within one year of publishing your book. "Having an award changed everything," said Holz at EPIC's Monday morning writing group. Holz's self-published book, “,” has won three awards and is soon to be traditionally published, and Votry's NaNo-inspired book, "," earned an Indie Brag Medallion. Votry recently sent info on how authors can be in the running for awards:

"Most of (the awards organizations) require the book be entered in the year it was published, and many of them have deadlines which have passed for books published in 2012. There are, however a couple that have a wider publishing window -- for example, one of them, Moonbeam, I think, allowed books published in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to be entered in the 2012 awards. 

"There are also substantial fees involved, so you must decide which contests to enter based on your own marketing budget. Some offer reviews, some announce winners at the Book Expo America in either New York or Chicago, and some offer marketing opportunities whether your book is a winner or not. Lots to consider!

"So here's my list: ForeWord Award, Shelf Unbound, International Book Awards, Newberry Medal (this one is actually free), Nautilus Award, Reader Views, Writers Digest, IBPA Award, Indie Book Awards, The IndieReader Discovery Awards, Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, NIEA Award.

"And here's the link to a blog post about . This list includes contests that are closed to self-published books, but there's a lot of information here, and a publicist's opinion about why you should enter."

Author Naomi Baltuck at EPIC's Monday morning writing group.
"What are you afraid of?" asked award-winning author Naomi Baltuck at today's writing group. "You have to start out with what scares you most." For Baltuck, that meant tackling social media by starting her blog, and adding photos and observational stories to augment the writing tips she posted.

Baltuck's debut novel, , written with her co-writer sister came from a reverence for storytelling. "I taught my children to frame their world as stories," said Baltuck. Those children have gone on to win awards and scholarships for writing.

Baltuck also advised today's group to join PNWA, the Evergreen chapter of RWA (even for non-romance writers), and SCBWI for children's authors. And if the idea scares you, then you know it's something you really need to do now.  -Janette