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Enter our NEST (national excellence in story telling) Contest 

 Check this page for the list of 2023 Winners:  NEST Winners

Welcome to the fourth annual ~National Excellence in Story Telling~ (NEST) contest  

(Contact Contest Chair for questions)


The NEST is a contest sponsored by Central Region Oklahoma Writers and is open to all works of fiction in digital format.

If you have a novel or short work published in 2022 or 2023 you are eligible to enter.

Author Entry form: ENTER THE NEST

Judging Form:   TO JUDGE  

(Scroll down for details on entering and judging)

  • Open for entries and judging applications:  January 7, 2024

  • Entry Deadline:   March 22, 2024

  • Entries out to judges:    on or before April 11, 2024

  • Scores back from judges:   June 7, 2024

  • Winners to be announced on or around  June 29, 2024

~ Ten categories with two winners in each category--one for novels and one for short stories/novellas. (If there are not enough novels or short to separate, the two will be combined)

~ Prizes: First place winners will receive...

      * A lovely customized engraved award

      * Your book/win shared to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

      * Featured in a ‘winner’ trailer that will be shared on Social Media and on this website 

      * Winners and finalists will receive certificates.

~ FEES: $30 for novels, $25 for shorts.​

(Entries must have an original publication date of and must have been for sale in 2022 or 2023 - If your entry previously finaled in the NEST but did not win, it is eligible to enter again)

Please note: Categories with larger numbers of entries have 5 places and those with lower numbers have 3.

TO ENTER: Complete this form: ENTER THE NEST


To pay the fee, go to this link: (The name will show Alice Clary) - Or you can use this email to make the payment via PayPal:


NEST Contest Chair Email:  

Category Coordinators: 

Contemporary: Jon Minton / Email:

Cozy Mystery - Myloe Wilson / Email:

Erotic: Krysta Scott / Email:

Historical – Alicia Dean / Email:

Horror - Kathy Fields / Email:

Inspirational – Deb Bayton Fitz-Simmons / Email:

Paranormal – Callie Hutton / Email:

Suspense - Mark Jones - / Email:

Women’s Fiction - Brooke Taylor / Email:

Young Adult – Anna Kittrell / Email:

Category descriptions:

Novel Length: 50,000 words and longer – Short Length: 7,500 to 49,999 words.

​*** All categories can contain romance or non-romance entries.


Any literary fiction, Romance, Women’s Fiction, or other FICTION story set after 1970 that does not fall into one of the other categories.


Cozy mysteries do not contain graphic violence, profanity, or explicit sex. Most often, the crime takes place “off stage” and death is usually very quick. The victim is typically not a likable person. The crime-solver in a cozy mystery is usually a woman who is an amateur sleuth. 


Stories that contain explicit sexuality. The situations and settings may be contemporary, historical or paranormal. Please note: Entries portraying pedophilia, bestiality (this does not apply in respect to Paranormal shape-shifters), necrophilia, and/or snuff as acceptable sexual practices will be disqualified without notification or refund.


Novels are set in any time period prior to 1970, and take place in any location.


Horror is meant to scare, startle, shock, and even repulse readers. The key focus is to elicit a sense of dread in the reader through frightening images, themes, and situations.


A story in which religious or spiritual beliefs (in the context of any religion or spiritual belief system) are blended with and form a significant part of the story.


Any story with otherworldly, supernatural, futuristic or paranormal elements including the genres of Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Time Travel, Alternative History, and Paranormal/Paranormal Romance.


Includes mysteries, thrillers, suspense, and romantic suspense novels.


Women's fiction are women-centered books that embrace themes that revolve around the home, family, and community. They are sometimes ‘second chance at a new life themed’ and often feature middle-aged or older protagonists. Often, women's fiction asks that characters overcome staggering real-life challenges—divorce, cancer, job loss, betrayal, etc.


Stories targeted to young adult readers. In this category, the character arc is an important element of the novel, as is a voice and writing style suitable to young adults.

If your story is a mixed genre, it is up to you to determine which category you feel is the best fit.

Entries containing sexual situations involving human protagonists, under the American legal standard of eighteen (18) years, must be reviewed by the Contest Chair prior to entry. The exception is in the Young Adult category. Please keep in mind that the YA category is meant for younger readers and all entries involving sexual situations in YA entries will be monitored for content.

All entries:

  • Must have an original copyright date of 2022 or 2023, as evidenced by the copyright page and must have been available for sale sometime during 2022 or 2023 and must be available for sale during the contest.

  • Must have a minimum 7,500 word count.

  • Must be in English

  • If your entry won in the NEST a previous year, it is not eligible. However, entries that previously finaled but did not win their category are eligible. Or, if your story was entered but did not final,  or win, it is eligible.

  • If an entry is determined to depict pedophilia, bestiality (except in the case of Paranormal shape-shifters), necrophilia, and/or “snuff” (the act of killing for sexual gratification) as acceptable, it will be disqualified, and the entrant will not receive a refund of the entry fee. If an entry contains sexual situations involving human protagonists under the American legal standard of eighteen (18) years of age, it must be reviewed by the Contest Coordinator prior to entry. The exception is in the Young Adult category. Please keep in mind that the YA category is meant for younger readers and all entries will be monitored for content.

  • Only digital books will be accepted as entries. Books that are “print on demand” ARE eligible. You must submit your book in non-DRM.pdf format as an attachment to an email. *** Judges are required to accept the terms of agreement stating they will not share or otherwise use the PDF’s received for judging.

  • There is no limit to the number of titles by the same author that may be entered, but each title may be entered in only one category. PLEASE send a separate email for each entry. Books entered in the wrong category will be disqualified and entry fee will not be refunded.

  • A separate entry fee is required for each title entered; however, entrants may “bundle” payments for multiple entries  Entry fees: Novels – $30.00 (50,000 words and above). Shorts – $25.00 (7,500 to 49,999 words)

  • Membership in any particular writing organization is not required.

  • Entries will be accepted from the author(s) and/or copyright holder(s) or authorized agent(s) of same.

  • The deadline for entry and receipt of payment and books is midnight CT March 22, 2024.

  • Entries will be capped at 50 in each category. Your entry will NOT be counted until payment is received.

  • Each entry will be scored by three judges.

  • The deadline for judges to return scores is June 7, 2024. Finalists and winners will be notified approximately June 29, 2024. *** Non Finalists will NOT be notified. Please check the website on or around June 30th to learn if winners have been notified.



Where do I locate the coordinator’s email address to send my entry?

​All entries are to be sent to the Appropriate Category Coordinator – A list of coordinators and their email addresses can be found above.

What happens if my book has a copyright date before the acceptable contest copyright dates?

Books often have a copyright date of one year and a release date in the next. To compensate for this, our eligibility will always have a two-year span on the copyright date. Example: If your book has a 2022 copyright date but didn’t release until 2023, you will be eligible to enter it in the 2024 NEST. All books available for sale in 2022 or 2023 with a 2022 or 2023 copyright date are eligible for the current year’s contest.

Are print books eligible for this contest?

​Whether or not your book is available in print, it is eligible for this contest.

What category should I enter?

​Enter your work into the category in which it best fits. If you have a story that is erotic AND suspense, for example, you should decide which element is most prominent and enter your story into that category.

My book is self-published. Is it still eligible?


If I live in a foreign country, how can I arrange for the entry fee given the fluctuation of the exchange rate?

​You can pay your fee in US funds through PayPal – Send to


How would you like to take part in determining the 2024 National Excellence in Story Telling (NEST)  Winners and Finalists? We would love to have you participate in judging our contest.

You will receive FREE PDF ebooks.

Read the stories, complete a short score sheet, then watch to see if your favorites win!

GO here to submit your Judge application:   TO JUDGE  

Q. Who can judge the NEST Contest?

A. Anyone with a computer or ereader who can read .pdf files. We do request that anyone under the age of 18 restrict their judging request to the Young Adult Category. If you are entered in the NEST, you can still judge, just so long as it’s not the category you entered.

Q. What kind of books will I be judging?

​A. All NEST entries are fiction. We have 10 different categories (Find category descriptions above) and we accept both short stories (including novellas) and novels. We try to give judges their top category choice, but sometimes, that’s not possible. We are usually able to give one of the first three choices. Our ‘shorts’ are books with a word count of 7,500 to 49,999 words. Our ‘novels’ are 50,000 words and above. Some of the entries will contain romance, but some will not. We ask that you judge the entries on the STORY and not romantic content.

Q. How many entries will I have to judge?

​A. Each judge will be responsible for reading FIVE entries and scoring/rating them. (If you are willing to judge more, please indicate that on the form)

Q. How do I judge?

​A. You will read each book and score it based on a simple scoring system.

Q. How do I receive entries?

A. If you are chosen to judge, you will receive an email with instructions and your books as attachments to the email.

Q. This sounds like fun. How long do I have to read and judge?

A. You’ll receive your books around April 11 you will have until June 7 to submit the scores.

Q. Do I have to do anything else?

A. No. Just read and score the entries.

Q. Great. How do I sign up?

A. Easy…


​1. Pick your favorite categories.

2. Go to the Judge Sign-up Page by clicking HERE


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