Introducing the 2016 Query Kombat 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 chat, 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 on #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: Mike, Laura, 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.

Betsy Aldredge
Betsy Aldredge is a former magazine editor turned communications professional who writes about quirky YA, NA, and Adult characters. Betsy and her co-writer, Carrie DuBois-Shaw, were named Grand Champions of Query Kombat 2014 for their YA Contemporary Romance, Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things. The entry, nicknamed “Shalom Sasquatch,” led to signing with the wonderful Christa Heschke at McIntosh and Otis. 


Dan Koboldt is a genetics researcher and SF/F author living in St. Louis, Missouri. He works at the McDonnell Genome Institute at Washington University, where he and his colleagues use next-generation DNA sequencing technologies to uncover the genetic basis of inherited diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. He has co-authored more than 60 publications in Nature, Science, The New England Journal of Medicine, and other scientific journals. His debut novel The Rogue Retrieval — about a Vegas magician who infiltrates a medieval world — was published in March 2016 by Harper Voyager. 

Dan is also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. Every fall, he disappears into Missouri’s dense hardwood forests to pursue whitetail deer and turkey with bow and arrow. He lives with his wife and three children in St. Louis, where the deer take their revenge by eating all of the plants in his backyard. Find him at
Rena Olsen

Rena Olsen is a writer, therapist, teacher, sometimes singer, and eternal optimist. By day she tries to save the world as a school therapist, and at night she creates new worlds in her writing. Her debut novel, THE GIRL BEFORE, will be available from Putnam 8/9/2016. She is represented by Sharon Pelletier of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Twitter: @originallyrena

Instagram: rosmiles

Elizabeth Roderick
ELIZABETH RODERICK is a West Coast girl, currently living in a one-room, off-grid shack in Washington State. She is the author of Love or Money, a romantic thriller about a young woman trying to escape the drug trade, and The Other Place Series about a young man with schizophrenia trying to make it as an artist, and a young woman addicted to heroin just trying to make it. The first installment of that series releases on 5/31/16.
Elizabeth has several other YA, NA and Adult novels in the writing and editing process. She writes across most genres, but her books have a common theme: they are the stories of people who are generally ignored, shunned, oppressed or outright reviled by society. Those are the stories she finds the most beauty in.  
In addition to writing, Elizabeth is a freelance editor of most fiction genres, and is a musician and songwriter. Find her on her website, blog, Twitter, Amazon, or Goodreads.
Twitter: @LidsRodney


Layla Reyne

Attorney by day, writer by night, Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her scientist husband and three smushed-faced dogs. Growing up surrounded by generations of Southern storytellers and at the knee of her soap opera loving grandparents, she began writing at an early age. Now writing romantic suspense and contemporary romance, Layla is inspired by her coast-to-coast experiences and delights in weaving the people she’s met and places she’s been into her stories for readers everywhere to enjoy. Layla is a PRO Member of Romance Writers of America and its Kiss of Death, Silicon Valley and Golden Network chapters. She is represented by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency and is a 2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist for her romantic suspense novel, Four Tragedies.

Natasha Raulerson

Natasha Raulerson grew up as a tomboy hanging with the guys, getting skinned knees, and swimming in the South Florida sun.Though she’s more inclined to wear dresses now, she still prefers a good pair of chucks and comfy pair of jeans. Tattoos, Jack Daniels, and hanging at the pool are three of her favorite things. An author of adult romantic suspense, by day she writes about the characters driving her imagination wild. By night she enjoys a good book, hanging with her hubs and getting snuggle attacks from her two spoiled pups.

She is represented by Laura Bradford of the Bradford Literary Agency

As the firstborn of a sports enthusiast, Holly soon learned the only games she’d ever learn to conquer involved consoles and controllers. Whenever she wasn’t battling virtual monsters or racing on digital tracks, she was usually working a story. Eventually, her passions converged and she started writing about the future of gaming. The result is her debut novel ARENA, released April 2016. She’s currently at work on its sequel. She still plays video games, except now she gets to say “it’s for research.”
Twitter: @HollyN_Jennings

Sarah Glenn Marsh

Sarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. She lives in Virginia with her husband and four rescued greyhounds. When she’s not writing, she’s often painting, or engaged in pursuits of the nerd variety from video games to tabletop adventures and dungeon crawls. Her forthcoming works include Fear the Drowning Deep (Sky Pony, October 4th 2016), the Reign of the Fallen duology (Razorbill/Penguin, date TBD), Anna Strong: Daughter of the American Revolution (Abrams Kids, date TBD), A Campfire Tail and Selfie Sebastian (Sterling Kids, Spring 2017 and Fall 2017 respectively). Her young adult works are represented by Lucy Carson at the Friedrich Agency, and her picture books by McIntosh & Otis Literary. Visit her online at

Angie Sandro
Angie Sandro was born at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Within six weeks, she began the first of eleven relocations throughout the United States, Spain, and Guam before the age of eighteen. Friends were left behind. The only constants in her life were her family and the books she shipped wherever she went. Traveling the world inspired her imagination and allowed her to create her own imaginary friends. Visits to her father’s family in Louisiana inspired this story. Angie now lives in Northern California with her husband, two children, and an overweight Labrador.
Shari Schwarz
Shari Schwarz lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado near the Rocky Mountains with her husband and their four boys. TREASURE AT LURE LAKE (April 12, 2016) is her debut middle grade novel which reflects her love for a good survival adventure story. When she’s not reading or writing, Shari can be found freelance editing, weight-lifting, gardening or watching her boys play various sports. She frequently daydreams of exploring Oregon Coast beaches or plotting out her next children’s book.

Amy Trueblood
A devotee of reading and writing from a very young age, Amy Trueblood grew up surrounded by books. After stints working in entertainment and advertising, she began writing her first manuscript and has never looked back. Her published work has appeared in The Fall and Summer’s Edge short story collections as well as Pen & Muses’ first Dark Carnival collection. Currently she is a freelance editor with Wild Things Editing. Her work is represented by Roseanne Wells of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. To learn more about Amy, check out her blog, Chasing The Crazies, or follow her on Twitter or Tumblr.

Max Wirestone is the author of the geek-themed Dahlia Moss mystery series, the second of which— ASTONISHING MISTAKES-  will hit stores in February of 2017. Max is a Query Kombat alum with a penchant for zippy query letters, expansive JRPGs, and overcommitting his schedule. Check out his website at or follow him on twitter at @maxwires.

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