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WRiTE CLUB 2021 - Tenth Edition Celebration

Contest Results

Preliminary Bouts
Bout #1 - Lil Manning  vs  Fern Calloway / Closes Noon Dec 12 - Winner = Fern Calloway
Bout #2 - Sunflower  vs  Anita Winn / Closes Noon Dec 13 - Winner = Anita Winn
Bout #3 - Flipside  vs  S.L. Grady / Closes Noon Dec 14 - Winner = S.L. Grady
Bout #4 - Elettra Miller vs  Lady Warbleon / Closes Noon Dec 15 - Winner = Lady Warbleon
Bout #5 - The Comet  vs  WritingwithBourbon / Closes Noon Dec 16 - Winner = WritingwithBourbon

Bout #6 - Blueface vs  Almach Nightmare / Closes Noon Dec 19 - Winner = Almach Nightmare
Bout #7 - WordMonger  vs  Stardust Forager / Closes Noon Dec 20 - Winner = Stardust Forager
Bout #8 - Iradessa  vs  Wheelock's Latin / Closes Noon Dec 21 - Winner = Iradessa
Bout #9 - Trelawney  vs  Durden Mayhem / Closes Noon Dec 22 - Winner = Trelawney
Bout #10 - Vaxxxy  vs  DoNotAwoo / Closes Noon Dec 23 - Winner = DoNotAwoo

Bout #11 - The Sparky One  vs  Turin Turambar / Closes Noon Jan 2 - Winner = The Sparky One
Bout #12ch3ru  vs  Battlestar Bear / Closes Noon Jan 3 - Winner = Battlestar Bear
Bout #13- Dark Stormy  vs  Axis / Closes Noon Jan 4 - Winner = Axis
Bout #14 - MIM  vs  Storyweaver / Closes Noon Jan 5 - Winner = Storyweaver
Bout #15 - Captain Skyrider  vs  Bashert / Closes Noon Jan 6 - Winner = Captain Skyrider

SaveWeek   Closes Noon Jan 9 -  Winners = MIM / ch3ru / Durden Mayhem 

Cage Bouts
Bout #1 - Fern Calloway vs  Anita Winn vs  S.L. Grady  / Closes Noon Jan 16 -
Winner = Fern Calloway

Bout #2 - Lady Warbleon vs  WritingwithBourbon vs  Almach Nightmare  / Closes Noon Jan 16 -
WinnerLady Warbleon

Bout #3 - Axis vs  StoryWeaver vs  Captain Skyrider  / Closes Noon Jan 18 -
Winner = StoryWeaver (by tie-breaker)

Bout #4 - Trelawney vs  Battlestar Bear vs MIM  / Closes Noon Jan 18 -
Winner = Trelawney

Bout #5 - DoNotAwoo vs The Sparky One vs ch3ru  / Closes Noon Jan 20 -
Winner = ch3ru

Bout #6 - Stardust Forager vs  Iradessa vs  Durden Mayhem  / Closes Noon Jan 20 -
Winner = Durden Mayhem

Playoff Bouts
Bout #1 - Fern Calloway vs Trelawney / Closes Noon Jan 26  - Winner = Fern Calloway
Bout #2 - Lady Warbleon vs StoryWeaver / Closes Noon Jan 26 - Winner = Lady Warbleon
Bout #3 - Durden Mayhem vs ch3ru / Closes Noon Jan 26 - Winner = Durden Mayhem

Wildcard = Trelawney

Semi-Final Bouts
Bout #1 Fern Calloway vs Durden Mayhem / Closes Noon Feb 2 - Winner = Fern Calloway
Bout #2 - Lady Warbleon vs Trelawney / Closes Noon Feb 2 - Winner = Lady Warbleon

Fern Calloway  vs Lady Warbleon

Winner - Lady Warbleon...aka...Kimber St. Lawrence  (Decided by celebrity panel)


Hard to believe that something started on a whim more than a decade ago has not only kept going —but grown into AN ACTUAL EVENT. So many writers look forward to this each year, despite our shifting contest calendar and constantly evolving formats. It warms my soul to think of what we’ve accomplished. It is a testament to this community and to the people who inhabit it.

Whether you’re serious about writing…or just like to dabble…it’s time to tighten up those laces. WRiTE CLUB is the “little contest that could” – known for identifying talent who eventually realize their publishing dream. So, how does it work? At its core — simplicity. Contestants submit a 500-word writing sample, identified by only a pen name, in any genre or writing style, even poetry. Thirty of those submissions are chosen to battle head-to-head against one another in the ring, the winners of those bouts chosen by reader votes, until only two remain. Those finalists will then provide a 1000-word sample to a panel of CELEBRITY judges, who then decide on the ultimate winner. Like I said, simplicity.

Here are the rules of WRiTE CLUB (loosely based on the rules from the movie Fight Club, from which the idea for the contest sprang).

 1st RULE: You DON’T talk about WRiTE CLUB – What we mean is no one can solicit votes for a specific contestant.  All the writing entries are anonymous, and we want it to stay that way. This is not a popularity contest! Ask others to vote – YES. Ask others to vote for a specific contestant – NO. Violators will be immediately disqualified.

 2nd RULE: You MUST talk about WRiTE CLUB – Did you ever wonder if no one ever talked about FIGHT CLUB, then how did anyone know when/where to show up? Hmmmmm?? So, obviously, we want everyone to spread the word far and wide to involve as many writers/readers as possible. Display the WRiTE CLUB banner prominently on your own blog or Facebook page. Write a post about it (I’m more than willing to guest post on your blog). Tweet it. Make videos and post them on Facebook, Instagram, or Tik Tok. And once the contest starts, keep banging that drum to attract voters and give our contestants as much exposure as possible.

 3rd RULE: Anyone can WRiTE, but it must be original material. Your submission can not have been published anywhere before (that includes blogs) — or shown to anyone (including critique groups)! 


4th RULE: Bouts will continue for only eight weeks - No matter how many submissions we receive.

 5th RULE: No shirts, no shoes - Come on, tell me you didn’t giggle at that one.

 6th RULE: If someone taps out, WRiTING is over - Tapping out means a WRiTER can decide at any time during the competition to withdraw their name from the pool. If that happens, the next writer from the slush pile with the most votes will move into that spot.



This year we have a brand-new sponsor, one that perfectly aligns with WRiTE CLUB’s goals and objectives. Wild Lark Strategies began in 2018 as a sales and marketing consulting company serving small and medium-sized businesses. Then, in 2019, the founder of Wild Lark Books, Brianne van Reenen, traveled to the northern-most corner of Scotland and discovered stories of her ancestral past in a damp, cluttered bookshop manned by a Scotsman comfortably perched behind a towering pile of spines reading his newspaper. It was then that Wild Lark Books began to take form.

After witnessing many authors in the writing community spend years tirelessly attempting to earn representation through an agent and petition publishers for publication through traditional paths, the vision for Wild Lark Books grew. In 2021, Wild Lark Books is now filling the void for a quaint, local bookshop in Lubbock, Texas – and offering affordable and accessible self-publication packages combined with the expertise of brand-building, audience engagement, and digital marketing.

WRiTE CLUB has joined forces with Wild Lark Books to offer a genuinely fantastic grand prize this year — but more on that in a minute.

One of the best parts of this competition is that it’s open to everyone…everywhere!

Here are more details about how it all works. Beginning today (Nov 15), you simply send in a 500-word writing sample using a pen name (information on how to do that below). Once the submission period closes (Nov 28), all the entries are read by a panel of twelve volunteers (I call them my slushpile readers). The slushpile readers are a diverse group of avid readers, and they each will select their top samples. Their selections narrow down the contestant pool to the thirty writers. Once we have our 30

contestants, then we’ll hold daily bouts (M-F) right here on this blog – randomly pitting those anonymous 500-word writing samples against each other. The winners of these bouts advance into elimination rounds, playoffs, quarter-finals, and ultimately a face-off between two finalists to determine a single champion. As we said before, the writing sample can be any genre, any style (even poetry), from a larger piece of work or flash fiction – with only two restrictions. First, a hard limit of only 500 words (including title if one is included), and nobody can have previously seen the sample. 

This is an excellent way to get your writing in front of many readers and receive a ton of feedback, all without having to suffer the agony and embarrassment of exposure. How cool is that?

And how are the winners of each bout determined? By you and other WRiTE CLUB readers! Anyone who visits my blog during the contest can vote for the writing sample that resonates with them the most in a bout. In addition, I ask that you leave a brief critique of each piece to help the contestants improve their craft.

Wait a minute, how can samples of different genres and age groups compete against one another? First off, although writers don’t like to admit it, we compete against one another every day…in the query piles, bookstores, the library, and other online marketplaces. Which book am I going to take home with me (or download) today? Secondly, I believe visitors to WRiTE CLUB...regardless of the genre they read... can recognize excellent writing! And it doesn’t matter if that writing is YA, MG, Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, etc. I’m confident that the WRiTER’s choosing to submit their work (which I have the utmost admiration for) do so, knowing those 500-word snippets would stand on their own, without the benefit of plot or theme. Though there may be an element that suggests a specific genre (vampires are a dead giveaway), it is the way the writer weaves the scene that will be judged.

Are there prizes – you ask? Are you kidding – I say?


Prize #1 – I told you we had a fantastic grand prize for our tenth edition of WRiTE CLUB, and I wasn’t exaggerating. This year our Champion will receive a PUBLISHING PACKAGE FROM WILD LARK BOOKS. This outstanding award includes the following (all at no cost):

Prize #2 - the first runner-up will receive a $75 Amazon gift card!

Prize #3 –Every visitor to a WRiTE CLUB bout during this year’s contest who leaves a vote/critique will have their name thrown in a hat. One slip for every bout voted on. There will be a total of 26 bouts, so it’s possible to have your name in the hat 26 times. Then at the end of the contest, we will draw one name out of that hat, and that person will receive a $50 Wild Lark Books gift card! Yes…we value our readers/voters as well.

Prize #4Since this contest is powered and thrives based on word-of-mouth, we wanted to award a prize to a follower who creates the most unique and expressive ad campaign for WRiTE CLUB.  Here’s a chance to use your imagination. How will we decide the winner? Our twelve slushpile readers will evaluate all of the entries and vote on their favorite. Simply email the details of what you are doing to, and you’ll be entered. The prize is a $40 Amazon gift card!

And although not technically a prize, the combatants in the final round will be exposed to a panel of publishing industry professionals (list below)! Agents, Editors, Publishers, Marketers, and well-known Authors! I don’t want to brag (but I will anyway); many WRiTE CLUB winners have gone on to become published.

Still not convinced about entering? Then how about some testimonials from previous WRiTE CLUB winners? Remember as you read these that the contest has evolved over the years.

Daniel Link – 2020 winner. His post.

Wendy Cross – 2019 winner. Her post.

Aden Polydoros – 2018 winner. His post.

Solange Hommel – 2016 winner.  Part 1Part 2.

Lisa Dunn – 2015 winner. Her post.

Dan Koboldt – 2014 winner. His post.

Arianne “Tex” Thompson – 2013 winner. Her post.

Dan Koboldt & Tex ThompsonSlushpile Impressions Post.

Are you bouncing up and down with excitement, wondering how to submit your sample? Here are some more Q & A’s that will answer all your questions.

How do I enter this fabulous contest? – The most straightforward way (for me) is for you to format your entry using a header like the example below (in a Word document or a format compatible with Word), then click on the link just below the example to fill out the entry form and upload the document. Note – the pen name you choose cannot be tied to your real name in any way. That means you can’t use your Twitter handle or anything else somebody could recognize as you.



Make sure after you upload the document, you hit SUBMIT. You must have a Google account to submit this way, but don’t worry if you don’t (but who doesn’t these days?). You can still do it the old-fashioned way by emailing your submission to, but DO NOT paste your entry into the email itself. It must be a separate document. My wife is the only person watching that email address during the contest, and she will log and assign every entry a number – then remove the writer’s name. You will receive a confirmation email from her once your entry has been logged. A word of caution – although I do my best to make sure the original formatting remains intact when a submission gets uploaded for a bout, sometimes HTML doesn’t cooperate. So go easy on any specialized formatting. It’s the words that matter, not the presentation.

2.     How long do I have to submit? - Submissions are open for two weeks, until Nov 28. After that date, a panel of twelve judges will read all the entries and select 30 of the best writing samples to climb into the ring.

3.    How flexible is the 500-word limit? It’s not flexible. Anything over 500-words will be rejected, and the 500 words include any titles or headings.

4.    What happens after I submit – how will I know if I’ve been selected to fight? In 2019 we had 225 entries. In 2020 (Covid year), we only had 85, so just getting chosen to take part in the contest is a reason to celebrate. To find out if you’re one of the thirty contestants, you must follow the competition and watch for your pen name to appear on the day of the bout.

5.    Is there a limit to the number of times I can enter? You may enter two different writing samples in separate entries using the same pen name, but only one will be eligible to become part of the 30 contestants. The sample that does not get selected can be used for future rounds if you’re lucky enough to advance.

6    What happens if I make into the playoff rounds? If you progress past the first round, you’ll need to provide additional writing pieces for subsequent rounds (as many as four total – with the final one being 1000 words). The extra pieces don’t have to be related to the original, but they can be if you choose to do that. So be prepared.

7.    I don’t intend to enter a submission, but can I still vote on the bouts? Absolutely! All we ask is that you leave a brief critique for both contestants. Although our contestants are anonymous – voting is not. And every time you vote, your name is placed in a hat from which a prize winner will be pulled after the contest to win a $50 Wild Lark Books gift card.

8.    When you say anonymous…just how anonymous? No one (other than my wife)…not even the slushpile readers used to pre-select the 30 contestants, will see the true identity of any sample.  Not even me.

9I    If I entered last year, can I use the same pen name again this year? No. We start fresh every year, which means no repeating pen names.

10   Can I still receive feedback if I don’t make it into a bout? Yes. Several of our slushpile readers will provide feedback if you do two things. 1) You must cast a vote in two-thirds (10) of the first-round bouts. 2) You must request that feedback after the contest is finished.

1    How can I help spread the word? Write a blog post, mention it on Facebook, Tweet about it (#WRiTECLUB2021), post a pic on Instagram, talk about it on any writer forums you visit, heck…send up smoke signals if you have to. Please take note – you cannot drive traffic to promote a specific piece of writing. That will get a writer disqualified. Just ask people to read and vote their hearts.


Contest Calendar


A final word. Let’s talk about activities that intentionally (or unintentionally) provide an advantage when it comes time to vote. This contest is all about THE WRITING standing on its own – with nothing else influencing how readers choose. I realize how tempting it is to ask your acquaintances to vote for you or send an alert when/if your sample appears in a bout (which is a passive way of cheating), but don’t do it. Instead, let your work speak for itself.


Celebrity Judges

When I was thinking of what I could do to make our tenth-anniversary special, I had several ideas, but the one that jumped to the top of the list was who would be part of the final judge panel. Over the years, we’ve had some genuinely gifted authors volunteer their time to help us choose a winner, so I thought what better way to celebrate our history than to invite THE PREVIOUS YEAR’s judges to participate again this year. Unfortunately, not all of them could commit due to previous obligations, but most are back. So here they are (in alphabetical order).

Kendare Blake is the author of several novels and short stories. Her work is sort of dark, always violent, and features passages describing food from when she writes while hungry. She was born in July (for those of you doing book reports) in Seoul, South Korea, but doesn’t speak a lick of Korean, as she was packed off at a very early age to her adoptive parents in the United States. That might be just an excuse, though, as she is pretty bad at learning foreign languages. She enjoys the work of Milan Kundera, Caitlin R Kiernan, Bret Easton Ellis, and Richard Linklater.

She lives and writes in Gig Harbor, Washington, with her husband, their cat son Tyrion Cattister, red Doberman dog son Obi-Dog Kenobi, rottie mix dog daughter Agent Scully, and naked Sphynx cat son Armpit McGee.



Marci Bolden  As a teen, Marci skipped over young adult books and jumped right into reading romance novels. She never left.

 Marci lives in the Midwest with her husband, two teenaged kiddos, and numerous rescue pets. If she had an ounce of willpower, Marci would embrace healthy living but until cupcakes and wine are no longer available at the local grocery store, she’ll put that ambition on hold and appease her guilt by reading self-help books and promising to join a gym “soon.”



Gloria Chao is the critically acclaimed author of American Panda, Our Wayward Fate, and Rent a Boyfriend.

 Her wayward journey to fiction included studying business at MIT, then becoming a dentist. Gloria was once a black belt in kung-fu and an avid dancer, but nowadays you can find her teaming up with her husband on the curling ice.

AMERICAN PANDA received four starred trade reviews, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and Indie’s Next Pick, and is a Seventeen Magazine, Bustle, PopSugar, Chicago Public Library, and Paste Magazine Best YA Book of 2018.


Delilah Dawson,
She is the New York Times bestselling author of a long list of works including:

 Star Wars: PHASMA

 The Secrets of Long Snoot

 The Perfect Weapon

Servants of the Storm

She’s the author of a variety of short stories featured in anthologies including Death & Honey, Robots vs. Fairies, and Hellboy: an Assortment of Horrors, and she is the co-writer with Kevin Hearne of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes, the first two titles in the Tales of Pell series.

Her comics credits include Star Pig, Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire, Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Ladycastle #1-4, The X-Files Case Files: Florida Man #1-2, and Rick and Morty Presents: Pickle Rick.

She is the winner of the 2015 Fantasy Book of the Year from RT Book Reviews for Wake of Vultures and the 2013 Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for Wicked As She Wants.

Les Edgerton
has published 22 books, the latest being “Adrenaline Junkie” from Down&Out Press, “Bomb!” from Gutter Press and the black comedy crime novel, “The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping” from Down & Out Press. One of his most popular books is the writer’s text, “Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go.” His own favorite is his collection, titled, “Monday’s Meal,” which received a glowing review from the NY Times in which he was compared favorably to Raymond Carver.

 He is represented by Svetlana Pironko, Director, Author Rights Agency, Ltd., Dublin/Paris.



Alex Grecian
is the New York Times bestselling author of The Yard and its sequels The Black Country, The Devil’s Workshop, The Harvest Man, and Lost and Gone Forever, as well as the contemporary thriller The Saint of Wolves and Butchers, and the ebook The Blue Girl. He has also written multiple award-winning graphic novels, including Proof, and Rasputin.





Barry Lyga
has been called a “YA rebel-author” by Kirkus Reviews and published twenty-four novels in various genres in his fourteen-year career, including the New York Times bestselling I Hunt Killers. His books have been or are slated to be published in more than a dozen different languages in North America, Australia, Europe, and Asia.

 Lyga lives and podcasts near New York City with his wife, Morgan Baden, their nigh-omnipotent daughter, and their preternaturally chill son. His comic book collection is a lot smaller than it used to be, but is still way too big.



Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-seller, five-time Bram Stoker Award-winner, anthology editor, comic book writer, executive producer, magazine feature writer, playwright, and writing teacher/lecturer. He is the editor of Weird Tales Magazine and president of the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers. He is the recipient of the Inkpot Award, three Scribe Awards, and was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than thirty countries. He writes in several genres including thriller, horror, science fiction, epic fantasy, and mystery; and he writes for adults, middle grade, and young adult.


Melanie Muses
is a vlogger, blogger, Cosplaying, tv and book addicted, Funko collecting, larger than life married English witch trapped in a 5ft4 broken body! She only promotes content that she is passionate about but loves finding new books and shows to share with her fans!

Join her LIVE Every Sunday at 12pm ET for Chat, Giveaways, & Shenanigans! YOU ENTER TO WIN JUST BY CHATTING WITH US! Check out the Website - for all the latest goings-on including sign-ups for giveaways during the show!


Lisa Rojany has had 47 books published across a wide range of genres and ages, including several award-winners and bestsellers. She wrote the oft-translated Surviving the Angel of Death: A True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz. She has also written board books, novelty books, picture books, and two adult nonfiction titles including Writing Children’s Books For Dummies, publishing in its third edition in April, 2022.


Lisa worked for NY- and LA-based publishing houses as Editorial Director. She acquired books, managed a team of over 20 people, and oversaw the editorial process from concept to print for over 60 titles a year. As well as spearheading four publishing startups, Lisa has simultaneously run her own successful business, Editorial Services of L.A. since 1990. She was Editorial/Publishing Director for Golden Books, Price Stern Sloan/PenguinRandomHouse, Intervisual Books, and Gateway Learning Corp (Hooked on Phonics). She is also Publisher & Editor in Chief of, the premier, syndicated, online-only book review site.


Ann Rose is Prospect Agency's newest agent, but she isn't new to publishing. Over the last few years she has been exploring this field by working and mentoring with literary agents in various capacities. Everything she has experienced from editorial work to the magic of finding the perfect match between author and editor has hardened her resolve to join this wonderful profession. Now she's thrilled to be building her own list and is actively seeking clients ready to grow amazing careers with her. Ann's perfect manuscript is a character driven story that isn't afraid to push boundaries. She loves an unlikeable character — even though she is incredibly likeable herself!


Agent Tina P. Schwartz admits to being a reluctant reader as a child. In fact, she says she is still very picky when it comes to choosing a book and isn't afraid to judge one (at first) by its cover!

Ask her kids, and they won't believe you!  They'll tell you her nose is constantly in a book, or staring at her Kindle Fire, her iPad mini, or even reading mss on her phone! When not reading manuscripts, marketing website, social media, or industry blogs, you can find Schwartz on her laptop enjoying her own writing time. (She's written 10 traditionally published books.)

Schwartz is an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).  Tina says, "I'm thrilled to have founded The Purcell Agency, LLC and look forward to reading many wonderful submissions from talent all over the world!"

You can follow Agent Tina on Twitter @tinaPschwartz or The Purcell Agency at @TPurcellAgency


Tiana Smith
is the author of Match Me If You Can and How To Speak Boy. She is repped by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary.

Math is her nemesis, and chick flicks are her happy place. Supposedly, she’s too old for boy bands and the Disney channel, but she loves them anyway. She doesn’t blog, but if you want a little piece of the action, be sure to subscribe to her newsletter.

Tiana also has the distinction of being the very first WRiTE CLUB Champion!


Bonnie Swanson is twenty plus year elementary teacher. She shares her love of literature with her students and even tests out her own books on them. (And everyone thinks agents are tough!) Using her experience as a teacher, she has been a mentor for many authors through the WriteMentor program started by author Stuart White. Some of her mentees have gone on to publishing and best-selling success with their titles.

 A short sample of her favorite authors are Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, S.A. Stovall, Suzanne Collins, Jen Mann, Danielle Paige, Christopher Paolini, Neal Schusterman, and Ally Condi. She’ll try just about anything, but romance is her true jam and the HEA (happily ever after) is a must!

 She is an active member of SCBWI and a co-rep for her local chapter. When she’s not teaching, reading, or spending time with her three kids & husband, she’s busy creating her own stories. You can also find her covered in fur and playing with her three cats Milo, Winter and, Mira—when they tell her to.


In addition to these wonderful authors, agents, and editors, our nine previous WRiTE CLUB winners will also have a vote. They are –


Daniel Link
Wendy Cross
Aden Polydors
Solange Hommel
Lisa Dunn
Dan Koboldt
Tex Thompson
Mark Hough
Tiana Smith



Are you willing to WRiTE for what you want? Then crack those knuckles and get ready to flex that imagination.

Whatever you do, tell your friends!

This is WRiTE CLUB, the contest where the spectators get clobbered!




  1. Wow! This is quite an impressive list of judges!

  2. Exciting to read this!! What date does the first Bout start?

  3. Is this the page where the Bouts will take place?

  4. Do you send out emails telling people the competition is starting each year? How can I be forewarned next year? I am not a blog reader.


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