Gauntlet Judges

Judges don’t take excuses, hear hard-luck cases, or grade on a scale. They are nerdy and wordly-wise creatures who will inspect your mechanics, but who are also lovers of vivid characters and memorable plots. They want a reviewer to be in-depth, but don’t mind a little humor either. Our list of judges may look different year-by-year, but they all have one thing in common: They’re awesome. These are our judges.


Steven Lugo

Steven is a writer and WYRM from New England who used to write articles about comics, pro wrestling, and gratefully-forgotten newspaper filler. His fiction has appeared in magazines such as Kaleidotrope, and he is proud to have been here since the beginning. He…kind of works a lot. He finds this whole Gauntlet thing exciting.


Chy Burch

Chy is an avid reader, writer, and pin-carrying WYRM from southeast Texas. Her favorite stories have one common thread: magnetic characters. And sometimes clever phrases that fit seamlessly into the narrative. The last six words of that previous sentence are highly important. Win this judge over with insightful reviews that show personality and humanity. And try to look like you’re having fun, will you?


Gale Peterson

Writer (Novelist, playwright, Artist, Designer, Photographer) When you have lived and worked as long as I have you will experience many jobs-careers, decade by decade: Stage to Film to Digital to Internet and beyond? I am still learning and exploring. From writers I look for logic, motivation, justification and a flow that captures my imagination. I love that words create images.


Stephanie Cassey

Stephanie is an immortal being of vast power who enjoys hanging out with humans. While doing that, she spends her days as an English teacher in the oldest town in Texas. She has threatened to ‘take points off’ of sentences that are not properly diagrammed (so there’s a chance she’s not exactly sure how judging the Gauntlet works). Before joining this panel, she was the only multiple-time winner of this competition. Respect!


Tobias Backman

Tobias is a Danish science fiction and fantasy author. He’s fond of flash fiction, and his stories have appeared at Daily Science Fiction, Grievous Angel, and Every Day Fiction. When not writing, he’s reading slush, and when he’s not doing that, he’s probably sleeping. Oh, right, and in between all that he does something boring that pays the bills.


Beth Sadler

Elizabeth Sadler holds an M.F.A. in writing popular fiction from Seton Hill University and has been published in New Myths and Separate Worlds. She currently resides in Georgia, where she teaches British Literature to unsuspecting seniors. She can be found on Goodreads, Twitter (@litqueen1), and writing under her pen name, E.J. Lawrence.


J.B. Ezar

J.B. Ezar is passionate about both hard and social science fiction (with a soft spot for paranoid fiction) and enjoys exploring society, interpersonal relationships, and the human mind through a philosophical and speculative lens. J.B. appreciates subtlety and complex connections and tends to dig below the surface to excavate themes and meaningful messages.


Previous Judges & Special Thanks

These were the judges, guests, lurkers behind the scenes and rockstars who came and ruled Gauntlets Past. Their names might not be on this year’s roster, but you never know.

Chelsea Crutchley, Khanh Mai, Cathy Douglas, Sheila Beebe.

Know someone who might be interested? Want to be a spectator? Good at spreading the word?

Hey, did you know you can kick back and watch the Gauntlet unfold rather than participate? If you want to spread the word about our annual indie competition, that's cool with us, too. You can size up the competition for next year, or, if you know someone who’d be right at home being a Gauntleteer, we’ve set up some convenient ways to signal boost WYRM’s Gauntlet.

If you want to register as just a Spectator, you can do so using the same form. Just make sure to select “Spectator” from the options. Spectators are granted access to post in the smackdown arena known as the Gauntlet forums.

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