Current Contest Judges

Amanda  Arista

Amanda was born in Illinois, raised in Corpus Christi, and lives in Dallas, but her heart lies in London. Good thing she loves to travel.

During the summer after second grade, she read every book in the young adult section of the library, much to the surprise of the local librarian. She then started making up her own stories, and hasn’t stopped since.

She has a husband who fights crime, one dog who thinks he’s a real boy, and another who might be a fruit bat in disguise. She recently added a tiny human to the mix who is following in her mother’s footsteps of storytelling.

Along with her BA in English & Psychology and her MA in Education, Amanda is a graduate of the SMU Creative Writing Program and now teaches other aspiring authors. She has delivered lectures at several writer conferences and loves discussing craft, character, and structure. Her current favorite: Stirring up Trouble with Romantic Subplots.

Amanda has published three novels, and is represented by Kimberly Brower, of Brower Literary & Management.






Random Facts:

Amanda is adopted and loves to share that story with others to promote adoption.

Amanda has a collection of turtle figurines that collects on her travels.

Amanda has a strange love of cheesy horror movies. She prefers demons and witchcraft to slasher films.

Amanda is a really good bowler and completely rocks at croquet.

Amanda’s Website:

Amanda Blogs on:


Keith Goodnight

Keith Goodnight was born in Dallas, TX. He studied Biology at Rice University and has a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior, but always had writing in mind. Keith began developing his own science fiction universe when he was still in high school, and kept working on it all through the years he was supposed to be working on something else. He is an alum of Southwestern Methodist University’s Writers Path, and is now an instructor in that program, specializing in applying Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to story structure. He is a proud past member of Rice University’s Marching Owl Band (MOB), and a devotee of all things Dr. Who. Keith has authored one novel, The Child (The Red Light and Shadow), in 2013, and enjoys posting hilarious snippets of Dialogue Unlikely to Be Used (#DUTBU).  To find out more,




 L. M. Hinton

Leah “LM” Hinton always has her nose in a book, whether she is reading it or writing it. Married with two children, five dogs, a bird and a horse, she whirls through a myriad of carpools and cafes where she drinks far too much coffee while pouring words onto the page.  As for how she juggles it all, Leah says she and her husband are like an old punk band, “There’s something there, even if no one else can hear it.”

Find her at and on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook @AuthorLMHinton

Semi-Finalist – Promising Beginnings Contest 2016 For “Shattered”

2nd Place Winner – 2016 Flash Fiction Award – Writers Guild Texas For “Blue”

Grand Prize Winner – 2017 Mount Hermon First Timers’ Contest For “Finding Birdie Shaw”

1st Place Winner – 2017 McClatchy Flash Fiction Award – Writers Guild Texas For “Spin Me, Charlie”

2nd Place Winner – 2017 McClatchy Flash Fiction Award – Writers Guild Texas For “A Dark Fog”

2nd Place Winner – 2018 Dallas Area Writers’ DAWG Poetry Prize

Books available at – Contributing  Author:

Short & Sweet from Grace Publishing, edited by Susan King, 2017

Short & Sweet Too from Grace Publishing, edited by Susan King, 2017

The Short & Sweet of It, When the Right Word is a Short Word from Grace Publishing, edited by Susan King, 2018

Short & Sweet Goes Fourth4 from Grace Publishing, edited by Susan King, 2018

Short & Sweet Takes the Fifth  from Grace Publishing, edited by Susan King, 2019

Coming soon:



TRU Girls’ Guide to Loving Your Friends Through It All


Firefly Summer

The Kogoro Prophecy

The Proving Ring

Featured on iHeartRadio Living Well with Ann Beal – Aug 7, 2017

Featured on iTunes Life Lessons Podcast Season 2, Episode 3 Loss & Resilience – January 20, 2018


Henry McLaughlin

Henry McLaughlin has a BA in American history, and an MA in social work. He completed a 4-year program with the Christian Writers Guild, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers serving as their Associate Director of Story Help Groups. Henry has published two novels in the Riverbend Sagas series: Journey to Riverbend, and Riverbend Justice. Henry is available for speaking, teaching, ghostwriting, collaborating, and editing.


Arianne “Tex” Thompson

Arianne “Tex” Thompson is a home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in literature, she channeled her passion for fiction into the Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris.  Now a professional speaker and writing instructor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex is blazing a trail through conferences, workshops, and fan conventions around the country – as an endlessly energetic one-woman stampede.



Writers’ workshop and writing group