Friday, May 5, 2017

Query Kombat 2017 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 forty-five 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 Friday, May 12th, 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 8:00 p.m. EST. The hashtag will be #QKChat. 

We'll have a second chat to calm raw nerves on May 23rd at 3:00 pm and 8:00 pm. 

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. 

Now, without further ado, I'd like to introduce one set of judges for Query Kombat 2017.


Carrie DuBois-Shaw

Carrie DuBois-Shaw is the co-author (with Betsy Aldredge) of the upcoming YA romance,Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things (Simon Pulse, August 8, 2017), which has been called "the most hilarious, charming, feminist Sasquatch-hunting book ever to grace a bookshelf" by author Alison Cherry and “a delightfully quirky and hilarious debut” by Darcy Woods. A retelling of Pride and Prejudice, focusing on a family of Jewish Bigfoot hunters, SASQUATCH was the Grand Champion of Query Kombat in 2014. Twitter @carriedubois


Chad Randall

Chad Randall is a speculative fiction writer living in Portland, Oregon. He has a
B.A. in History from the University of Oregon and currently works for lawyers.

His unremarkable origin story involves scribbling adventures where Princess Leia and Han Solo got into all sorts of trouble, and a school project about dogs who got trapped in the mall on the way to dog prom. Now he writes about cowboys and people living on space colonies. He loves fiction where people are constantly running away from things – whether emotional trauma or monsters foaming at the mouth. Twitter: CasterShellNo9

Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group is trying to sell his first novel. Chad is a success story from Query Kombat 2016. 


CM McCoy

Author CM McCoy (aka Colleen Oefelein) has one pointed ear, an 90-pound "puppy" from Hell, and a very active imagination. She’s well aware nobody can say or spell her real last name, hence the pen name. You can call her Colleen.

She’s a retired Air Force officer, an author, a blogger, and the PR manager for Inklings Literary Agency. When she’s not chatting with her imaginary friends, she’s either stuck in a book or interviewing with PEOPLE Magazine, ABC’s 20/20, the local morning news show, or INSIDE EDITION, where she promotes writing for mental and emotional health. She also mentors pre-published authors through workshops and contests and runs Totem Head's Annual Free Writing Contest for Kids, now in its ninth year.

Though she holds 2 Bachelor of Science degrees (Chemical Engineering and German -- Penn State), she's far happier writing near misses and awkward kisses. Some of her off-the-wall talents include speaking in 10-codes (which she learned working 911-dispatch for Alaska State Troopers), flying helicopters, and Irish dance. Her debut, EERIE, a teen paranormal adventure with romance, released in Dec 2015 by Omnific/Simon & Schuster. She has a memoir out on submission to production companies and a picture book out on submission to publishers. She's represented by Michelle Johnson.

In the business world, Colleen is the PR Manager and an associate agent for Inklings Literary Agency.

One of her greatest joys is administrating, judging, and funding the annual free writing contest for kids: Totem Head's Free Writing Contest for Kids, now in its 9th year. When she's not stuck in a book or off on an adventure, she's tending to the North of Normal Book Reviews blog.

Colleen was a contestant in New Agent in 2015 and Pitchslam.

 Twitter (@eerie_o):
 Facebook C.M. McCoy:


Gail Villanueva

Gail is a Filipina author based in the Philippines. She runs a design studio with her husband in the outskirts of Manila, but also does freelance copywriting on the side. When not in front of her computer coding a website or writing a story, you’ll find her in the backyard, playing with four dogs, five ducks, a chicken, a turtle, and a cat. Gail writes upmarket MG, both historical and contemporary, and with elements of magic. Her fiction is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group.

Twitter: @gaildvillanueva
Instagram: @gaildvillanueva


Jamie Howard

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 and three children in New Jersey, and is almost always awake early enough to see the sun rise, even on the weekends.

Jamie is the author of Until We BreakUntil It’s RightAll The Ways You Saved Meand The Feeling of Forever with St. Martin’s Press. She is represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. Twitter: @JRHoward9


Judy Clements

Judy Clemens, aka JC Lane, is the author of TAG, YOU'RE DEAD, which was a 2014 QK Kontestant and the YA winner (and overall runner-up) that year. TAG has been nominated for an Agatha award for Best Children's/YA mystery of 2016. As Judy Clemens she writes mysteries for adults, including the Agatha- and Anthony-nominated Stella Crown series, the Grim Reaper mysteries, and the stand-alone LOST SONS. She is a past-president of Sisters in Crime, an organization whose mission is to support female crime writers, and she is represented by Uwe Stender of TriadaUS Literary Agency.


Twitter: @judyclemens1


 Kat Hinkel

Kat Hinkel is a speculative thriller writer living in Philadelphia. She is a Pitch Wars 2015 alum (and Michelle's mentee) 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.

Twitter: @kathinkel


Kim Long

Kim Long is an attorney in the Chicagoland area, where she spends her days expressing her clients’ (always true) stories to judges and juries. She writes MG and YA contemporary fantasy that contain a sprinkle of science and is represented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger. When not managing her fantasy baseball and football teams, she can be found biking, watching Star Wars for the zillionth time, or teaching her nieces about the importance of choosing the correct racer (Toad) and vehicle (standard bike) to obtain success in Mario Kart.

Kim was a contestant in Query Kombat 2014. 

twitter: @theSol23


Kimberly Ito

Kimberly Ito writes realistic contemporary fiction for teenagers and teenagers-at-heart. She has a passion for angst, romance, and non-traditionally beautiful characters. When she isn't writing, she can be found reading (of course!), butchering power ballads at karaoke, playing with her kids and pets, and speculating about the next Star Wars. She also works as a freelance editor, proofreader, and Japanese-to-English translator. Kimberly lives outside of Tokyo with her family, and is represented by Brooks Sherman at the Bent Agency.


Lisa Koosis

In addition to writing novels for young adults, Lisa A. Koosis in 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’s also a complete sucker for weird science facts. Her debut YA sci-fi novel, RESURRECTING SUNSHINE, came out in 2016.

Resurrecting Sunshine Buy Link:


Richard Pearson

Richard Taylor Pearson is a triple threat: author, actor, and attorney. He grew up

in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he appeared in many plays and musicals. After graduating from Rhodes College, Richard went on to obtain a law degree from Rutgers School of Law. While he works as an attorney by day, his nights and weekends are spent writing novels and performing in theatrical events all over New York City. Richard lives in Jersey City with his husband, Brian, and their daughter, Natalie. His debut novel, The Role, was published by Lethe Press in May of 2016.

The Role:


Sarah Jamila Stevenson

Sarah Jamila Stevenson is a writer, artist, editor and graphic designer in Northern California. She is the author of three YA novels: THE LATTE REBELLION (Flux, 2011), UNDERNEATH (Flux, 2013) and THE TRUTH AGAINST THE WORLD (Flux, 2014). Her first novel for young adults, THE LATTE REBELLION, was a Scholastic Book Club pick as well as an IPPY Bronze Medalist in Multicultural Children's Fiction. Her work has been featured on Capital Public Radio's Insight and NPR's Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is also an active blogger: since 2005 she has been posting children's literature reviews and information at Finding Wonderland (, a blog she shares with fellow young adult author Tanita S. Davis, and she is a regular participant in the Cybils Awards.

Twitter: @aquafortis


Teresa Frohock

T. Frohock has turned a love of dark fantasy and history into tales of deliciously creepy fiction. She lives in North Carolina, where she has long been accused of telling stories, which is a southern colloquialism for lying.
She is the author of Miserere: An Autumn Tale and several short stories. Her newest series, Los Nefilim, is from Harper Voyager Impulse.

You can keep up with Teresa at Twitter (, or her website (


Tracy Townsend

Tracy Townsend holds a Master’s degree in Writing & Rhetoric from DePaul University and a Bachelor’s degree in creative writing from DePauw University, a source of regular consternation when proofreading her credentials. She is chair of the English Department at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, an elite public boarding school, where she teaches creative writing and science fiction & fantasy literature. She has been a martial arts instructor, a stage combat and accent coach, and a short-order cook for houses full of tired gamers. Now she lives in Bolingbrook, Illinois with two bumptious hounds, two remarkable children, and one very patient husband.  Her short story, “Late Arrivals,” was published by Luna Station Quarterly in March 2016. Her debut novel, The Nine, is the first in a clockpunk fantasy trilogy from Pyr (November 14, 2017).

Tracy got her agent from Nightmare on Query Street in 2013.


Wade Albert White

Wade Albert White is the author of the middle grade novel, The Adventurer’s Guide to Successful Escapes (a 2016 BEA middle grade Buzz Book and an ABA Indies Introduce selection), and its forthcoming sequel, The Adventurer’s Guide to Dragons (and Why They Keep Biting Me). In addition to writing, he teaches part time, animates for fun, and works hard to maintain his title as the slowest 10K runner—ever. 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

Wade was the MG champion in Query Kombat 2014.


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