Friday, February 5, 2010

Query contest winners!

(Three second kettle drum intro followed by full orchestra. Switch "applause lights" to on position. Cue the winners to come on stage.)

Ladies and gentlemen, in no particular order, here are our winners!

Michelle L. Brown
Fried Liver

Michelle writes for kids and teens from her home in southern Kansas. She's been published by such magazines as Highlights for Children and Chess Life for Kids. Her writing has won several awards, most notably the 2009 Highlights Fiction Contest. You can learn more about Michelle and visit her blog, Word's Travel, at

The chess inspiration occurred when a local chess champion was giving my kids a lesson, and taught them the "Fried Liver" move. It's an attack on your opponent's weak spot, or vitals. The book is full of chess metaphors I learned from him. 

Amanda K. Morgan
Zombie is an Inflammatory Word (And I Resent That)

I don’t know where I got the idea for ZOMBIE IS AN INFLAMMATORY WORD (AND I RESENT THAT).  I remember it being late, and that I sat down and typed the query letter—which is what I usually do first.  I like to see if I can pitch a book before I write one word of it.

I had a great time writing the manuscript.  I have a very hard time writing anything serious, so ZIAIW was really fun for me to put together. I currently live in Nashville. I really love music and it’s fun to pretend I can play the guitar. I work mainly as a private tutor/writer, but sometimes I am an extra in projects filming in Nashville. 

Sonja Stone
When the Tiger Smiles

The idea for WHEN THE TIGER SMILES comes from my love of espionage—I’ve always wanted to be a spy. Instead, I became a chef (did you know Julia Child was in the CIA?).

I also have two awesome daughters who love to read, so my goal was to create a smart, confident protag (girl power!) who occasionally shoots herself in the foot. 

There are so many great books available in the YA genre and I hope to contribute to the growing market. In addition to writing, I enjoy sports and the outdoors. 

Congratulations to our winners! I'm hoping to hear some success stories in the near future. In addition, congratulations to all of our entries — those of you who shared your work with us, who absorbed the comments and suggestions from fellow writers without a whimper, and who wandered bravely into Query Letter Hell. I hope it was a learning experience and a positive adventure.

We shall do this again.


  1. Congratulations to all of you. And wow, but each of you is more beautiful than the next. I'm thoroughly relieved now that I did not win as most photographs of me make me look like a slightly crazed cat lady. And I'm allergic to cats.

    Your queries were among those I too liked best and I wish you much success -- and when your books are on the shelves, let us know!

  2. Yes, ladies, congratulations on a job well done. And I agree wholeheartedly with Francesca that it's better to see your lovely faces pasted here than my aging mug. In fact, I'm going right now in search of a glossy of Sarah Jessica Parker in case I am fortunate enough to win anything in the future.

    Again, congrats, and best of luck in your pursuit of an agent!

  3. Thrilled for you all and wishing you the best with your books. :) And I agree-you're all soooooo pretty!

  4. Congratulations to all you beautiful girls. You all deserved to win. They were three great queries.

    I’m sooooo jealous because Chris Richman is one of my favourite agents.

    Good luck to all of you.


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