Winner of the January Favorite Query Contest! — As a new feature of this year’s Inkthinker Query Challenge, I’m running a monthly mini-contest for the best query of the month. There were four entries for January’s queries, and the winner stood out for three key reasons:

  • The lede. The winning querier jumped right into the meat of the story.
  • The tone. Professional but conversational, and a good preview of what the story itself will sound like.
  • The closing. Short, sweet, and to the point. Great summary of previous publications, but not self-important.

Congratulations to the winner, Kara Williams. Kara wins a $10 gift card to put toward her freelance writing library.

Here’s the winning query:

In 2006, Aspen, Colorado, mom Merle O’Brien was perfecting downward dog poses in her yoga class and started thinking about what her mat was made of — mainly PVC material, a decidedly non-environmentally friendly product. In the manufacturing process, scraps of yoga-mat material end up in landfills and stay there for years.

Within months, she’d contacted yoga-mat manufacturers to acquire the scraps and have them re-purposed into incredibly cool and hip handbags, clutches, yoga-mat bags and totes.

Merle’s home-based company, OLovesM, has taken off in the last year, with fans from all over the country. I wrote about these bags for a local tourist guide (I live near Aspen), but I think Yoga Journal’s readers would love to know about them, as well, namely because Merle is launching the online-shopping feature on her website soon (check out

Could you use a short piece in “Om” about the the OLovesM bags? They come in nifty designs, including the all-natural “Jute” collection in a classy natural shade and lined in Fair Trade hemp and cotton. Other styles are brightly striped or feature fun, geometric patterns. The bags range from $15 to $200.

I’m a longtime journalist with dozens of articles in national and regional magazines, including Working Mother, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Aspen Magazine, Aviation for Women, 5280, Mountain Parent and Chesapeake Family. Please learn more about me at

Thanks for your time!

Kara Williams
Freelance Writer/Editor

Want your own Favorite Query prize? All participants in the 2008 Inkthinker Query Challenge are eligible to enter the Favorite Query Contest each month. Just submit your favorite query via e-mail between now and March 15, and you’ll be entered to win. I’ll pick my favorite and post it here at Inkthinker, and you’ll get a snazzy gift.

Not a Query Challenge participant? What are you waiting for? Sign up using the form at the top of this page.

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5 comments… add one
  • Kara Mar 3, 2008

    Thanks, Kristen! No word from Yoga Journal, but some interest from a regional mag… we’ll see where her story ends up! I think it’s a good one.

    Kara’s last blog post..Funny “Do Not Disturb” Hotel Door Hangers

  • Kristen King Mar 3, 2008

    I agree. :)

  • Cory Mar 3, 2008

    Great letter, Kara, and hi from a former Aspenite. I, too, freelance for Mountain Parent and was, when I lived in the valley, the copy editor at the Daily News and at Climbing magazine. What a small world! Cheers, Cory

  • Kara Mar 4, 2008

    Hi Cory! I recognize your name — you’re of CCC, right? Are you still proofreading/editing for MP? I saw some of your work in “track changes” on some articles I uploaded to the mag’s website. You’re good!

    My husband worked for Climbing and now co-owns Rock & Ice. Yes, small world.

    Kara’s last blog post..The Arts in New Orleans – Part I

  • Beth Mar 4, 2008

    Congrats, Kara! Great query. Can’t wait to see where it ends up.

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