The focus of this contest is fictional or true-life short stories that include art in some way.
Art does not have to be the main focus of the story, but some element of art must be included in the tale. The art can be visual, performance, or literary in nature.
Example of art inclusion:
Characters might meet up in the Louvre in front of the famous Mona Lisa.
Characters might have dinner at a venue with live music being performed.
Characters might sit down under a sculpture or walk through a bookstore showcasing some works on a display.
The winning and honorable mention stories will be compiled in an anthology designed for a general audience readership. Sexual content and violence may be presented but must serve the purpose of the story and not be put in just for shock value.
Stories will be judged on:
Strong plot arcs with satisfying endings; well-rounded characters; ease of visualizing the story’s action, setting, and characters; as well as the inclusion of art within the story in some way. The short story should show good command of grammar as well as spelling though professional copyediting is not necessary for submitting.
The series of anthologies collecting the winners and honorable mentions of the contest will be titled "Journey Series". The concept of "journey" does not need to be present in a literal sense within the stories.
Submission Guidelines & Information
$35 for nonmembers
$20 for members of HWG or WIVLA (You do not need to be a member of both organizations to get this discount – though we do hope you will consider joining both)
First prize -- $100 plus certificate, a medal, and complimentary 3Day pass to Authorpalooza Extravaganza Conference
Second prize -- $50 plus certificate, a medal, and complimentary 3Day pass to Authorpalooza Extravaganza Conference
Third prize -- $25 plus certificate, a medal, and complimentary 3Day pass to Authorpalooza Extravaganza Conference
Publication in the book will also mean each author will receive a complimentary copy of the volume as well as complimentary entry to the book launch party event on Friday, October 6th, 2023.
Each author will be able to purchase as many copies of the anthology as they wish at 50% off retail price and resell these retaining all profits from said sales
Retain all rights to their story for any future or concurrent use. No exclusivity is required or requested.
ALL submissions will receive general constructive feedback from judges.
Submissions will be accepted starting Saturday, February 7th through Friday, April 7th, 2023. Please follow the submission guidelines below.
Judging will take place between Monday, April 10th to Friday, May 5th, 2023.
Winners and Honorable Mentions will be provided revision requests by the volume’s developmental editor by May 22, 2023.
Revised drafts will be due by June 5, 2023 for the final version of the story to be included in the anthology.
Release will be Friday, October 6, 2023 at the opening evening of the Authorpalooza Extravaganza Conference.
Authors can choose to meet with the editor to review their work and gain the experience of working with a publishing house editor. Only winning authors and honorable mentions whose work is to be included in the final anthology will go through this part of the process so that the final story published is the strongest possible.
Story should be at least 3000 words AND no more than 7000 words long and must involve the volume’s theme, Journey into Art, in some way. All genre’s welcome.
Author’s may submit up to 2 stories to the contest
A panel of judges will score the submissions and determine the winners and honorable mentions – these stories will be published in the anthology and receive their respective additional prizes as applicable.
The stories will then move to the publication queue, which consists of two phases:
Revision Phase – Authors will be given an opportunity to work with an editor in a revision consultation. A deadline will be provided for resubmission based on the revision requests.
Editing Phase –professional copyediting will ensure the work is ready for the public.
Send your submissions in 2 Word documents to email@example.com
Subject Line: Journey Into Art Contest Submission
Send ONE Word doc which includes ONLY:
Title of story (# of words)
author’s name as you wish it to appear in publication
author’s legal name
contact information for author including
email address, telephone number, and mailing address
a short biography (no more than 500 words) of the author with links to your social media sites and website (if applicable).
Send SECOND word document with:
1st page – Title of Story and word count (ONLY)
2nd page should begin the short story
Story should be in 12 pt Garamond font, single spaced.
Your name should NOT appear anywhere in this second word document. Do Not Put Your Name in the header or on the first page of the story file.
If the submission is not sent using the aforementioned formatting requirements, it will be automatically disqualified – no refund of entry fee will be made in such an event.
Any entry that does not strictly adhere to the guidelines provided will be disqualified and monies paid will not be refunded. No exceptions to the guidelines will be made.
About The Judges
Kelly Colby -- publisher and author
Kelly Lynn Colby owns one hat, but wears many. She’s a writer, a freelance editor, a publisher, and a podcaster.
Kelly has tried to write mundane stories, but magic always sneaks its way in. The result? The YA epic fantasy duology The Recharging (complete) and the paranormal thriller series Emergence (book three in 2023). The first is safe for young readers while the second is better for adult eyes. She’s learned a ton from her short stories as well which you can find in a plethora of anthologies. As the Editorial Director and Publisher at Cursed Dragon Ship Publishing, Kelly is privileged to work with a menagerie of speculative fiction writers. She’s the host of “20 Questions with your Favorite Author” and the DM on the streaming D&D adventure “Writing Wrongs” where the players are writers.
A strong believer in the writer community, Kelly participates in writing seminars and pop culture conventions all over the country. Her latest adventures include attending professional at Dragon Con in Atlanta, speaker at a high school’s publishing event in Houston, and a panelist at Superstars Writing Seminar in Colorado Springs.
When she’s not traveling the country, Kelly writes and edits and answers an inordinate number of emails at her cluttered desk, coffee shops, and parks, mostly in Houston, Texas. You can follow her adventures on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram @kcolbywrites or subscribe to her blog at kellylynncolby.com. She’s seen even more frequently on her business site at https://curseddragonship.com.
Roger Leslie -- publisher and author with Paradise Publishing.
Roger Leslie is a national award-winning author, publisher, editor, writing coach, and talk show host Dr. Roger Leslie is a scholar in the fields of education and writing. His bestselling books include inspirational self-help, spirituality, writing and publishing, teaching and librarianship, fiction, biography, and movie reference.
When not on speaking tours, Leslie lives in Houston where he writes, teaches writing classes and personal success (FLY—First Last Year) courses. He also runs Paradise Publishing LLC, a publishing house dedicated to sharing success strategies and inspirational self-help works. Contact him through his website, https://rogerleslie.com.
Paradise Publishing is a hybrid publisher that seeks nonfiction or fiction manuscripts that either
Inspire people to live the life they dream,
Empower people to follow their own spiritual path.
Paradise is unique among hybrid publishers as we allow authors to invest in the production of their book and then retain 100% of their royalties. We pride ourselves in providing the most professional author experience and highest quality book production, launch, and marketing.
Tod Tinker -- publisher and author with Balance of Seven Press.
Theodore (Tod) Niretac Tinker is a spec-fic trans author, meticulous editor, and deep-diving worldbuilder. Words and worlds are his passion; quality and consistency, his goal. Specializing in the spiritual, he fights for justice and equality through his books, explores the weird and whimsical in his short stories, and helps other writers find the voice and power of their own stories through his editing services. Tod is also CFO and book production manager of independent press Balance of Seven.
All these infinite literary endeavors are supported by an endless supply of chocolate, which he hoards in his library alongside his books like any good dragon. You can dive deeper into his worlds at www.theodorentinker.com, join him for queer storytelling and worldbuilding at
Established in 2018, Balance of Seven LLC is a small independent press dedicated to keeping the magic in publishing. Our readers crave magic, and we aim to bring it to them by providing a platform for new voices and perspectives. With a cis woman and trans man as our founders, diversity and allyship are at the very core of our makeup. We bravely venture beyond genre; when publishing emerging voices, we find they often do not fit “inside the box.” Many of our books are award winning or #1 Amazon bestsellers, sometimes both. Discover the book you didn’t know you loved at balanceofseven.com.
Rachel Connelly is one of Inklings Publishing’s developmental editors. A writer and thespian, Rachel will be working with the winning and honorable mention authors to develop and refine their piece for publication.
She works as a freelance developmental editor, born and raised in Houston. For as long as she can remember, writing and reading and storytelling have been her passions. As an editor, it gives her so much joy to help others bring life to the stories inside their heads.
Outside of work, Rachel is a local community theatre actress, avid painter and crocheter, and mom to four ridiculous cats.
The Houston Writers Guild is a volunteer-run, nonprofit organization working to create a community of writers of all skill levels. Together we strive to improve our writing craft and help each other build successful careers through education, collaborative marketing efforts, and camaraderie.
The Guild offers a myriad of programs for both published and unpublished writers. It creates opportunities to build careers through networking, as well as, opportunities for author book sales throughout the Greater Houston area and neighboring communities. The Guild is also a place for hobbyist authors to enjoy writing in a relaxed and fun environment.
WIVLA's mission is to provide an inspiring forum for women to explore and advance their creative development, to promote their work in the marketplace, and to infuse the community with their spirit of cooperation and invention.
Women in the Visual and Literary Arts (WIVLA) is a nurturing place for sharing and growth, where visual artists, writers and other creatives meet in an atmosphere of support and mutual respect.
Each month, dynamic speakers give informative and inspiring presentations. We invite you to join us, whether you are on your way to becoming the writer or artist you want to be or are already a seasoned professional.