25th Annual Lone Star Writing Contest – 2017

2017 Lone Star Finalists

Contemporary Series

Grasping Hope – Josee Telfer

Highest Bidder – Marie Johnston

Jane Says – Karen Mueller Bryson


Body and Soul – Terri Molina

For The Love of Ghosts – Carrie Pulkinen

Rogue Dragon Rising – TJ Shaw


Midnight Rendezvous – Rhonda Kauffmann

Second Chance – Carol Potenza

The Red Parrot – Lisa Wilkinson


The Lady’s Masquerade -Sherrinda Ketchersid

The Shopkeeper’s Widow – Izzy James

Lethal Shot – Tina Radcliffe

Romantic Suspense

Stay Hidden – Leigh Fleming

Zapata – Mary Johnson

Beyond Paradise – Barbara Forlenza

Single Title

Hell or High Water – Michelle Hazen

Our Song – Laurie Winter

Forbidden Paradise – Barbara Forlenza

Young Adult

Jericho Jaxon – Karen Mueller Bryson

Stuck On You – Peg Pierson

Below The Surface – Arel Jansen

The 25th Annual Lone Star Writing Contest is closed to entries.
Please note: We have made a few changes in this year’s contest.
  1. New Adult category is not a separate category this year.  Entries should be placed in other corresponding categories.
  2. The entered work cannot have been contracted or published before the date of the winners announcement on October 7, 2017.
  3. The winner from each of the seven categories will receive a $50.00 award.


  • Competition is opened to published and unpublished authors.
  • Entry must be an unpublished work – (it cannot be published or under contract in any form or format, not in digital or print prior to the announcement date of October 7, 2017). If the entry is disqualified, a letter will be sent to the contestant and the entry fee will be forfeited.


CONTEMPORARY: Present day romance novels or novellas that focus on the romantic relationship. Word count is between 20,000 and 70,000 words.


  • Kathryn Lye, Editor for Harlequin Heartwarming
  • Sarah Phair – Trident Media Group
  • Kristy Hunter – Agent, The Knight Agency

HISTORICAL/REGENCY: Romance novels or novellas with a time period prior to WWII. Projected word count between 20,000 – maximum open.


  • Elizabeth May – Editor, Kensington Publishing
  • Janet Clementz – Acquiring Editor, Soul Mate Publishing
  • Laura Bradford – Agent, Bradford Literary Agency

FANTASY, FUTURE AND PARANORMAL: Romance novels or novellas in which the future, fantasy or paranormal elements are an integral part of the plot. May include vampires, ghost, time travel, werewolves, etc. Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.


  • Mary Altman – Editor, Sourcebooks
  • Priyanka Krishnan – Editor, HarperCollins
  • Rachel Ridout – Agent, Harvey Klinger Agency

INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE: Novels or novellas in which religion or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are a major part of the romantic relationship. Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.


  • Raela Schoenherr, Acquisition Editor, Bethany Books
  • Nicola Martinez, Editor-in-Chief, Pelican Books
  • Dina Davis, Editor, Harlequin

ROMANTIC SUSPENSE/INTRIGUE: Novels or novellas in which suspense, mystery or thriller elements play and integral part of the plot. Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.


  • Tara Gelsomino, Editor Crimson Romance
  • Sharon Roe – Editor, Soul Mate Publishing
  • Nicole Resciniti – Agent, The Seymour Agency

YOUNG ADULT: Novels or novellas that fit into the following: Young adult; geared to young adult readers between the age of 16-25 (Most fall in audience range of 12-18 yrs old) . Projected word count: no less than 20,000 – maximum open.


  • Alycia Tornetta, Editorial Director, Entangled
  • Michelle Klayman – President, Bouroughs Publishing
  • Jennifer Wills – Agent, The Seymour Agency

SINGLE TITLE:  (includes Women’s fiction and Chick Lit) Novels that may have subplots, but the romance is the central part of the story. These are usually stand-alone novels and have a word count of 75,000 to 100,000 words.


  • Susan Grimshaw – Editor-At-Large, Penguin-Random House
  • Junessa Viloria – Editor, Random House
  • Patricia Nelson – Agent, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Judging and Awards:

In the primary round three (3) judges, at least two of whom have been published in novella or book length will judge each entry.

The lowest of the three scores from first round judges will be dropped from the final tally. This means that although an entrant will receive three critiques, only the top two scores will be used to determine which three finalists go to the editor and agent judges. The top two scores will be added then divided to achieve an average score. The entries with the top three average scores will advance to the final round. In the event of a tie, the third dropped score will be consulted to determine the finalist.

Finalist will be sent back the scores and comments from the first round judges and given one week to make edits on manuscript before they are sent in to the final round judges. Finalist will receive a seal to place on their website announcing they are a finalist in the Lone Star Writing Competition.

Editors and agents will judge final round entries. Each editor and agent will rank and score the finalists from first through third.

Winners will be announced on October 7, 2017 at the Northwest Houston RWA meeting held in Spring, Texas (and notified by telephone/email). Winners in each category will receive a certificate, $50.00, and a seal/banner announcing they are a winner in the Lone Star Writing competition.

Grand Prize – One lucky random pick from the category winners will win a Book Cover design from Najla Qamber Designs, Standard Package worth $140.

DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES: June 4, 2017 at midnight CST

If you are unable to successfully complete the ENTRY FORM, please copy the blank entry form below and paste it into an email, fill in the required information and send it to: nwh.lonestarcontest@gmail.com

You will receive an email confirmation once both the entry form and payment have been entered into our system.

Should you have additional questions, please contact the Contest Coordinator: Dana Morales


Submit your payment. You’ll need your PayPal receipt number for the entry form.


Contest is closed


Contest is closed
Electronic Entry Requirements:

  • Send copy of the first 5,000 words of your manuscript. Double spaced. A prologue may be included if applicable.
  • Save in RTF (rich text format). Entries will only be accepted in this format. (If you are using a mac computer with Pages – you will need to export to Word, then save in RTF for the headers and page numbers to stay on the entries.)
  • Format: one inch margins all around, double spaced, do not justify margins.
  • Header of each manuscript page must include the title, category, (please specify if it is a novella) estimated word count of manuscript, when completed, page numbers

My Wonderful Novel/65,000 words           (page #)           Category

  • Entrants name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • 12 point font-Times New Roman or equivalent up to 250 words per page.
  • 25 lines per page
  • Begin chapter’s a third of the way down the page (approximately 6-8 inches)
  • Completed Payment and Entry Form


If you have any questions or need any further information, please contact Contest Coordinator Erica Thompson.


wishes you Good Luck and Happy Writing!