Friday, April 29, 2016

Query Kombat 2016 Judges

Time for our AMAZING lineup of judges for this year's Query Kombat tournament. Many of them were contestants in prior contests. We've worked hard to find authors that form a diverse group of opinions, talents, and specialties from all categories and genres.

Query Kombat would not be possible without the wonderful people who donate their time to help. For this month-long contest, we've recruited thirty-six industry professionals to critique entries and vote for a winner of each matchup. Each and every one of these judges is participating out of the kindness of their heart, so please join the QK Crew in thanking them for volunteering.


Remember that the best way to thank judges for their time is to buy their books. Michelle has compiled a Goodreads list to make finding the judges' books easier, and they’ve written some great stuff. Also be sure to follow the judges on Twitter. On May 11, we'll be hosting a Twitter party where writers can reach out to the judges and ask questions about their entries, writing, querying, etc. Join us at 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST. The hashtag will be #QKChat

There are so many judges this year, we're breaking the bios down across all three host blogs. Go here to see them all: MikeLaura, and Michelle. For a rule refresher, click here. To donate, click here.

Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce one set of judges for Query Kombat 2016.

Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s the wife of her high school sweetheart and the mother of three amazing little girls. In her spare time, she can be found with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee or writing about unattainable, perfect men and the heroines that sweep them off their feet.

Heather has been working in the publishing industry for over five years, and she currently works for BookFish Books as a content editor. She’s represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary, and her Embattled Hearts Series releases with Sourcebooks starting in February, 2017. 


Jamie Howard is a legal and compliance specialist by day, author by night, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art. When she’s not tapping away at the keyboard or capturing the world through her trusty Canon, you can find her binge-watching TV shows, devouring books, and perfecting her gaming skills. She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs in New Jersey, and is almost always awake early enough to see the sun rise, even on the


Jamie is the author of Until We Break, Until It’s Right, and the upcoming All The Ways You Saved Me with St. Martin’s Press. She is represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.


Jamie Zakian is a YA/NA writer and freelance editor. When not writing, she enjoys farming, archery, and blazing new trails on her 4wd quad with her rowdy family. Her debut NA novel Ashby Holler releases June 14th from Limitless Publishing and her YA sci-fi thriller is forthcoming from Month9Books. Check out her website Writer's Retreat or follow her on Twitter Jamie Zakian (@demoness333) | Twitter 

Kat Hinkel is a thriller writer living in Philadelphia. She is a Pitch Wars 2015 alum and is represented by Jaida Temperly at New Leaf. You can often find her drinking old fashioneds at costume parties, playing music, or (obviously) writing.


Aden Polydoros grew up in Long Grove, Illinois, and now lives in Arizona. He is a writer of young adult fiction, and represented by Mallory Brown of TriadaUS Literary Agency. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys reading and going on hikes in the mountains. Aden's first book, PANDORA FROM THE CLAY, is due for Summer 2017 from Entangled Publishing, and was one of the manuscripts entered in Query Kombat 2015.


Kelly deVos is a Young Adult writer living in Gilbert, Arizona, represented by Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Kelly currently serves as an intern to Entangled Senior Editor, Kate Brauning, and is an arts administration intern for the Marooned Journal at Arizona State University. She is also a contributor to the YA Buccaneers and YAgabonds.


Kimberly Ito writes many angsty things, lately in the form of YA contemporary fiction. When she isn’t writing, she works as a freelance editor, proofreader, and Japanese-English translator. Kimberly grew up in the US and has lived in Japan for roughly half of her life. She currently lives just outside Tokyo with her husband, children, a spoiled Shiba Inu, and an insufferable lap cat.

You can find Kimberly on Twitter: @kimberlyito, or at her website:


Lisa A. Koosis is a prize-winning short story writer, whose work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Family CircleThe Poughkeepsie Journal, and the Hugo-nominated Abyss & Apex.  Lisa is a member of the SCBWI, an ambassador for National Novel Writing Month, and an active member of her local writing community. She is hopelessly addicted to writing contests, anything seashore-related, and accessories (particularly feather earrings and anything with fringe). Although she will forever consider herself a Long Islander, currently Lisa lives in New York’s historic Hudson Valley with her family, both two- and four-legged.  Her debut YA sci-fi novel, Resurrecting Sunshine, will be released by Albert Whitman & Co in Fall 2016.


Marty Mayberry writes adult and young adult fiction. When she’s not dreaming up ways to mess with her character’s lives, she works as an RN/Clinical Documentation Specialist. She has a BA in International Affairs in German and an Associate’s Degree in Nursing. She lives in New England with her husband, children, and three neurotic cats. She’s a member of SCBWI, YARWA, and a PRO member of RWA, and a PitchWars Mentor. Her young adult sci-fi thriller, PHOENIX RISING, won the 2015 YARWA’s Rosemary Award for speculative fiction.

Twitter: @marty_mayberry


Sarah Schauerte Reida is a writer, lawyer, and ugly animal advocate. Growing up in the Midwest (Illinois, to be precise), she read everything she could get her hands on, as well as watched many, many movies during her parents' "camping" trips involving electricity and s'mores in a microwave. A member of The Sweet Sixteens, Sarah's debut middle grade novel, Monstervile: A Lissa Black Production, is slated for release in September of 2016 from Sky Pony Press. 

A graduate of Saint Louis University (B.A). and Case Western Reserve University School of Law (J.D.), Sarah makes a living helping veteran business owners compete for federal contracts. She and her husband Scott live in the Atlanta area with their dog and four cats. By the time this biography reaches print, they will probably have acquired another animal. 

Follow Sarah on Twitter at: Also, you can access her writing website at:


Wade Albert White is the author of the middle grade novel, The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes, (selected for the Middle Grade Author Buzz Panel at Book Expo America in 2016), and its sequel, The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (and Why They Keep Biting Me), forthcoming from Little Brown Books for Young Readers in 2016 and 2017 respectively. In addition to writing, he teaches part time (mostly to do with ancient languages), draws with his kids (usually robots fighting other robots), and tries to improve his time for running a 10K (sadly he seems to be getting slower rather than faster). Also, he owns one pretend cat and one real one, and they get along fabulously. He is represented by Elizabeth Kaplan of the Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency.

Twitter: @wadealbertwhite



When Wendy Nikel isn't traveling in time, exploring magical islands, or investigating mysterious phenomena, she enjoys a quiet life near Utah's Wasatch Mountains with her husband and sons. She has a degree in elementary education, a fondness for road trips, and a terrible habit of forgetting where she's left her cup of tea. Her short fiction has been published by AE,Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere, and she is a member of the SFWA. She is represented by Richard Curtis.


Tracy Townsend lives in Bolingbrook, Illinois and teaches English at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. She has studied at DePauw University, the National University of Ireland (Galway), and DePaul University, where she obtained degrees in English, Creative Writing, and Rhetoric. She is a member of the Science Fiction Research Association and other academic organizations, which allows her to write very long things and read them aloud to people who are obliged to behave politely. Her sf/f writing draws on her experience as a lapsed Catholic, assistant martial arts instructor, comics fangirl, tabletop role-player, and obsessive hound for obscure mythology. Inexplicably, other uses for that resume have yet to present themselves. Her work is represented by the effortlessly elegant and classy Bridget Smith of Dunham Lit. Most recently, her short story "Late Arrivals" appeared in Luna Station Quarterly,  Issue 25.
Tracy devotes time she doesn’t have to cooking, gardening, writing, and seriously pondering the treadmill in her basement. She is married to her high school sweetheart, with whom she shares two remarkable children. They are – naturally – named after characters from books.
You can find Tracy on Twitter (@TheStorymatic) more often than she really ought to be.

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