WEST POINT Author Mary Montague Sikes was among 41 members of Virginia Press Women who received awards in the 2013 Communications Contest during the Spring Conference at Washington and Lee University on April 13. Categories including newspaper writing, public relations, advertising, photo journalism, Internet and magazine writing, and books were judged by 10 experienced journalists and public relations professionals. Entries that received first place advance to the National Federation of Press Women contest.

Her book, Daddy's Christmas Angel received the first place award for adult novels. This heartwarming story for all seasons is set in a fictitious small town in Virginia and was inspired by the movie Sleepless in Seattle.

Sikes also received a second place award for Blogs - Personal. Her entries were: "Falling in Love with Encaustic Painting-Where Will It Lead?", published November 26, 2012, and "Can There Be Peace on Earth in 2013?", published December 31, 2012. Her blog Notes Along the Way - Mary Montague Sikes http://marymontaguesikes.blogspot.com has attracted more than 80,000 page views.

An artist as well as a writer, Sikes is based in West Point.

She will teach an all-day art workshop, "Pastels Bold and Free" at This Century Art Gallery Education Center in Williamsburg on May 4.

On May 11, she will participate in a group book signing, "Celebrate with a Book", at Regency Mall Square in Richmond from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.