East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards

Murder on Edisto by C. Hope Clark was the first place winner in the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards.
Murder on Edisto by C. Hope Clark was the first place winner in the East Texas Writers Guild First Chapter Book Awards.

THE EAST TEXAS WRITERS GUILD is proud to announce the winners for Category I, published works, of its first annual First Chapter Book Awards.

According to Roger Middleton, president of the Guild, “We received an overwhelming number of entries from around the world, including authors submitting from Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Cyprus, Italy, South Africa, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.”

Each entry was judged by three different judges from a panel representing, editors, authors, educators, and avid book readers. An additional three judges were brought in to select winners from the finalists.

Judges reported that the critical and overriding factor in determining the winners was this: Will the first chapter make me want to read the rest of the book?

The top three winners, five finalists, and ten semi-finalists will all receive digital badges which can be placed on the covers of eBooks, printed and placed on paper books, or added to Websites, blog sites, or emails. The badges may be used in any way the author chooses to showcase and promote his or her book.

The finalists and semi-finalists are not listed in any particular order.

First Place

  1. C. Hope Clark

Murder on Edisto

A Mystery

South Carolina


Second Place

Jennifer Chase

Dark Pursuit

A Crime Thriller



Third Place

Heather Siegal

Out from the Underworld

A Memoir

New York


Top Five Finalists

Carroll Sinclair

Tree of Justice

Historical Fiction



Ray Stone

Twisted Wire

A Political Thriller



Janis Thornton

Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies

Cozy Mystery



Gae-Lynn Woods

A Case of Sour Grapes

A Mystery



Helen Osterman

Song of the Rails

A Romance


Top Ten Semi-Finalists

Shalanna Collins

April, Maybe June

Young Adult/Fantasy



Jim Ainsworth

Rails to a River

Mainstream Southern Fiction



Philip L. Levin

Princess Priscilla’s Dragon at the Door

Tween Fantasy



Richard Brawer

Love’s Sweet Sorrow

Romantic Suspense

New Jersey


Oliver P. Chase

Blind Marsh

Mystery Thriller



Maryann Miller


A Mystery



JoAnn Smith Ainsworth

Expect Trouble

Paranormal Suspense



Scott Bury

Army of Worn Soles

World War II Memoir



Stavros Halvatzis

The Land Below


South Africa


Bill Flynn

The Beddington Incident

Historical Fiction

New Hampshire



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  • Congratulations to all the winners – how exciting.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Next year, Alicia, I expect you to enter and win.

      • That’s very sweet – I should have the beginning of Book 2 by then – what’s the deadline for applying?

        And I wouldn’t be too sure about winning – you have some fine writers there.

        • Caleb Pirtle

          Submissions will begin next April or May, Alicia, and I will make sure you get the word.

  • Caleb Pirtle

    These winners just prove how many great writers we have out there in our indie ranks. It’s time they were all discovered.

  • This had to be the fifth highlight of our workshop. The other 4 are the speakers we had. Congratulations to all these winners of published books –results of very hard work, and hopefully lots of fun.

  • Gae-Lynn Woods

    Congratulations, everyone! My reading list just got quite a bit longer…

  • Maryann Miller

    Thank you so much to the Guild for selecting my book as a semi-finalist. I am honored to be included in a list of such fine books and authors. And like Gae-Lynn, my reading list has grown today. (smile)

  • C Hope Clark

    Thank so much!!! I’m extremely honored to have won first place. I love Murder on Edisto, but you never know if others love your baby as much as you do. I’m so excited!

  • Jennifer Chase

    Thank you so much VG! I’m honored and excited to have won second place! Thank you! I’m looking forward to reading all of these books 🙂

  • Heather Siegel

    Thank you for the award, and for hosting such a nice contest. Happy to be a part of this community.

  • Thank you for choosing Twisted Wire as a finalist. This is the first award I have received for a novel and I am over the moon. I am thrilled at being given bragging rights with a badge that I hope will boost my readers. Thank you.

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