2020 Colorado Writers Collaborative Faculty

Carol Berg

Carol Berg

Carol Berg is the bestselling author of fifteen epic fantasy novels and half a dozen novellas and short stories. Carol also writes as Cate Glass, the author of the three-book fantasy adventure series Chimera.

Carol resides at the foot of the Colorado Rockies, but she has lived a large portion of her life in realms of mystery and adventure – Middle Earth, Camelot, Amber, Wonderland, Harry Dresden’s Chicago, Jim Chee’s New Mexico, Victorian London, Cold War Berlin, the Welsh borderlands, River Heights, Marvel’s version of Hell’s Kitchen…you get the drift.

Carol studied mathematics and software engineering at Rice University and the University of Colorado respectively. A few years into a career as a software development engineer, she took up a hobby of writing her own fiction. Many manuscripts later Carol (as Cate) is deep into the stories of the Chimera. Between them, Carol and Cate have won four Colorado Book Awards, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award, and numerous other honors. Cate’s third Chimera adventure, A Summoning of Demons, will be released in February 2021.

Carol teaches at writers conferences and regional workshops and speaks at fantasy/science fiction conventions all over the world. She and her mechanical engineer spouse have three sons who juggle music and teaching, software and carpentry, rocket science and ice hockey.

Trai Cartwright

Trai Cartwright

Trai Cartwright, MFA, is a 25-year entertainment industry veteran and writing and producing specialist. She is a screenwriter, producer, and teaches screen and TV writing, arts entrepreneurship, and production management at UC Center, University of Denver’s MA professional creative writing program, and at Western State University’s low residency MFA program.

Trai spent fifteen years in Los Angeles working in Business Development and as a Studio Development Executive who consulted on thousands of screenplays for HBO, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, and New Line. 

Trai was on the producing team for three independent movies (Dinner Rush, Offshore, Trap). She was assistant director of Leonardo DiCaprio’s online ventures, the Hollywood liaison for a massively multi-player online role-playing game company, and was the Manager of Fox Mobile Studios for 20th Century Fox. As a screenwriter, four of Trai’s screenplays were optioned to Academy and Emmy award-winning producers.

Upon moving to Colorado in 2008, Trai began her career as an educator across the state. She has taught creative writing (fiction), screenwriting, and producing at nearly a dozen Colorado colleges, as well as for dozens of writers conferences, writers workshops, and film organizations. 

She recently finished her tenure as the President of Women in Film and Media Colorado. (www.wifmco.org)

In 2016, Trai produced her first Colorado-based feature (Stadium Anthems). She is currently the screenwriter on Secret Ellington (2016 semifinalist in the Nicholl Fellowship, Big Break, and Special Honor in the Screencraft Public Domain contests), produced the short film Sundown Road and Hidden Tigers, a docu-series for Red Unicorn Films.

Bryan Cohen

Bryan Cohen runs the 5-Day Amazon Ad Profit Challenge, an online event that has helped thousands of authors understand the complex machine that is Amazon Ads. He’s also a USA Today Bestselling author, the co-host of The Sell More Books Show, and the CEO of Best Page Forward, an author copywriting agency. His books have sold 100,000+ copies. You can learn more about Bryan at http://bit.ly/bookadcopy

Mark Coker

Mark Coker founded Smashwords in 2008 to empower writers to self-publish and distribute ebooks.  Today, Smashwords has grown to become the world’s leading distributor of self-published ebooks representing over 140,000 authors and small independent presses around the world that publish and distribute over 550,000 books with Smashwords.  Mark is an outspoken advocate for self-published authors, a contributing columnist for Publishers Weekly, and the host of the popular SMART AUTHOR podcast where he teaches evergreen best practices to help authors publish ebooks with pride, professionalism and success.  Mark blogs at https://blog.smashwords.com.  Follow Mark on Twitter @markcoker.

Liz Colter

Liz Colter

Liz Colter has followed her heart through a wide variety of careers including draft-horse farmer, field paramedic, Outward Bound instructor, athletic trainer, and roller-skating waitress, among other curious choices. She is a two-time Colorado Book Award winner in Science Fiction/Fantasy and her short stories have been published in a wide variety of magazines and anthologies. She writes contemporary and dark fantasy as L. D. Colter and epic fantasy as L. Deni Colter.

Michelle Dotter

Michelle Dotter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Dzanc Books, a nonprofit literary publisher. She earned a degree in Creative Writing from Colorado College before beginning her editing career with MacAdam/Cage Publishing in San Francisco. Before coming to Dzanc, she also worked with MP Publishing, Cameron + Company, Once Magazine, and myriad independent authors across all aspects of the editing process, from content and copy edits to proofreads. She has worked with New York Times bestselling authors, along with winners of the National Book Award, the Whiting Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and recipients of other honors. Michelle works out of Colorado, where the first three books on her shelf are CMoS, The Subversive Copy Editor, and the hilarious O Thou Improper, Thou Uncommon Noun.

John Gilstrap

John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of 21 thrillers, including Hellfire, Total Mayhem, Scorpion Strike,Final Target, Friendly Fire, Nick of Time, Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan’s Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom. Prior to the beginning of his writing career, John served 15 years in the fire and rescue service.

Four of John’s books have been purchased or optioned for the Big Screen.  In addition, he has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris.  

A frequent speaker at literary events, John also teaches seminars on suspense writing techniques at a wide variety of venues, from local libraries to The Smithsonian Institution.  Outside of his writing life, John is a renowned safety expert with extensive knowledge of explosives, weapons systems, hazardous materials, and fire behavior.  John lives in Fairfax, VA.

Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah is a bestselling crime writer whose books are published in 51 countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the author of the new series of Hercule Poirot continuation novels, commissioned by Agatha Christie’s family – the latest of which, The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, is published on 20 August 2020. Sophie is also a poet who has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Award, a self-help writer and creator and host of the podcast How To Hold A Grudge. She is Course Director of the University of Cambridge’s new master’s degree in Crime and Thriller Writing, and the founder of the Dream Author coaching programme for writers. She lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.


USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling author Carter Wilson has written six critically acclaimed, standalone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories. He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a four-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his novels have received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. His latest novel, The Dead Girl in 2A, was released in July 2019 from Poisoned Pen Press. Carter lives in Erie, Colorado in a Victorian house that is spooky but isn’t haunted…yet.

LS Hawker

LS Hawker is the author of the thrillers THE DROWNING GAME, BODY AND BONE, END OF THE ROAD, and THE THROWAWAYS. THE DROWNING GAME is a USA Today bestseller and finalist in the ITW Thriller Awards in the Best First Novel category. Her novels have been translated into eight languages.

Visit LSHawker.com to view book trailers, listen to her podcast with daughter Chloe, The Lively Grind Cafe, and read about her adventures as a cocktail waitress, traveling Kmart portrait photographer, and witness to basement exorcisms.


Stuart Horwitz

Stuart Horwitz is an independent editor and ghostwriter who founded the editorial assistance firm Book Architecture (www.bookarchitecture.com). He is the author of three books about writing and publishing, including Blueprint Your Bestseller (2013, Penguin/Perigee). His memoir is forthcoming, on the themes of escape and forgiveness. Essays of his have appeared widely, including in the books Wide Awake Every Week, Hindsight 20/20, and The Good Men Project, as well as on the TODAY show’s website. By the time you read this, Stuart and his family will have landed in North County San Diego after 18 years in Rhode Island.

Rachel Howzell Hall

Rachel Howzell Hall, author of the bestseller and Lefty Award-nominated They All Fall Down (Forge), writes the acclaimed Lou Norton series, including Land of Shadows, Skies of Ash, Trail of Echoes, and City of Saviors. She is also the co-author of The Good Sister with James Patterson, which was included in the New York Times bestseller The Family Lawyer. She is currently on the board of directors for the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and lives in Los Angeles.  Her next novel And Now She’s Gone will be published in September 2020.

Steven James

Steven James is the critically-acclaimed author of seventeen novels. He has served as a contributing editor to Writer’s Digest Magazine and is the author of the groundbreaking book Story Trumps Structure as well as the guidebook used by thousands of novelists, Troubleshooting Your Novel, both from Writer’s Digest Books. Publishers Weekly calls him “[a] master storyteller at the peak of his game.” When he’s not working on his next novel, Steven teaches Novel Writing Intensive retreats across the country with New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni. Steven’s latest book, a near-future sci-fi thriller called Synapse, released on October 8, 2019.

Stant Litore

Stant Litore

Stant Litore is the author of Ansible, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs, The Zombie Bible, and Dante’s Heart. Besides science fiction and fantasy, he has written the writers’ classes Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget and Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget, as well as Lives of Unstoppable Hope and Lives of Unforgetting, and has been featured in Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook: An Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. He has served as a developmental editor for Westmarch Publishing and holds a Ph.D. in English. He lives in Aurora, Colorado with his wife and three children and is currently at work on his next novel.

Laura Manuel

Laura Manuel was a law enforcement officer (LEO) for 21 years in Virginia & Colorado. She taught Criminal Justice and Psychology at FRCC after earning her Ph.D. She established and was the Director for the first LEA (Law Enforcement Academy) at FRCC. Now retired, she still teaches at the LEA.

Bernadette Marie

Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011. Since then she has authored and published over thirty-five books. The married mother of five sons promises romances with a Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it because she lives it.

Obsessed with the art of writing and the business of publishing, chronic entrepreneur Bernadette Marie established her own publishing house, 5 Prince Publishing, in 2011 to bring her own work to market as well as offer an opportunity for fresh voices in fiction to find a home as well. 

When not immersed in the writing/publishing world, Bernadette Marie and her husband are shuffling their five hockey playing boys around town to practices and games as well as running their family business of carwash locations. She is a lover of a good stout craft beer and might be slightly addicted to chocolate.

Tiffany Yates Martin

Tiffany Yates Martin

Tiffany Yates Martin has spent nearly thirty years as an editor in the publishing industry, working with major publishers and bestselling authors as well as newer writers. She’s led workshops and seminars for conferences and writers’ groups across the country and is a frequent contributor to writers’ sites and publications. She is the author of Intuitive Editing: A Creative and Practical Guide to Revising Your Writing. Visit her at www.foxprinteditorial.com.

Debbie Maxwell Allen

Debbie Maxwell Allen

Debbie Maxwell Allen writes young adult fiction in the Rockies. She teaches workshops for writers on the craft of writing, productivity, and how to use Scrivener and Vellum software. When not writing, she keeps tabs on her husband, five children, two cats, and the Most Adorable Grandson. You can catch her blog of resources for writers at http://writingwhilethericeboils.blogspot.com/. She also offers substantive editing and proofreading for writers. Contact Debbie at dallenco@gmail.com for a free, no-obligation 1000-word sample edit.

Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer is the grandfather of two future leaders of the Resistance Against the Machines, a NY Times Bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret and the feeder of Cool Gus. He’s had over 80 books published and sold over 5 million, including the #1 series Time Patrol, The Green Berets, Area 51, and Atlantis. Born in the Bronx, having traveled the world, he now lives peacefully with his wife and his dogs.

Kendra Merritt

Kendra Merritt

Books have been Kendra’s escape for as long as she can remember. She used to hide fantasy novels behind her government textbook in high school, and she wrote most of her first novel during a semester of college algebra.

Older and wiser now (but just as nerdy) she is the author of the Mark of the Least series, a series of fairytales with main characters who have disabilities. Her experience with partial paraplegia has shown her that you don’t have to be able to swing a sword in order to save the world. If she’s not writing, she’s reading, and if she’s not reading, she’s playing video games.

She lives in Denver with her very tall husband, their book loving progeny, and a lazy black monster masquerading as a service dog.

Margaret Mizushima

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the award-winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. Margaret serves as president for the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, was elected the 2019-2020 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and is also a member of Northern Colorado Writers, Sisters in Crime, and Women Writing the West. She lives in Colorado on a small ranch with her veterinarian husband where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals. She can be found on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram at margmizu, and her  website at margaretmizushima.com.

Pamela Nowak

Pamela Nowak’s honors include the HOLT Medallion, WILLA Finalist Award, Colorado Book Award, and RMFW Writer of the Year. She’s garnered acclaim for her ability to weave history and plotting and now writes fact-based women’s historical fiction. NEVER LET GO will be released in January 2021.

Kristin Owens

Kristin Owens

Kristin Owens earned a Ph.D. in Higher Education and held academic positions at Penn State, University of Maryland, and University of Alaska Anchorage. She also taught a variety of collegiate-level subjects (from ballroom dancing to graduate statistics) at numerous institutions and was awarded 2016-17 Teacher of the Year by Aims Community College students. 

Now a full-time writer in Colorado, Kristin has over 75 published articles and essays. Her first fiction manuscript was selected as a Judges’ Favorite in the 2017 Ink & Insights contest. Her essay, WAR BRIDE, won Honorable Mention for the 2018 New Millennium Writing Awards and was a finalist for the 2019 New Letters’ Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction. Her piece, AIR SUPPLY, is included in the award-winning Colorado Book of the Year, RISE! in 2020. 

By combining her love of teaching and writing, Kristin’s a frequent workshop instructor, conference presenter, and lecturer. Her high-energy presentations are geared towards motivating new writers to stick with it. Her campy women’s fiction is represented by literary agent Madelyn Burt at Stonesong, New York City. Her cruise ship lectures are booked through Peel Talent Agency in the UK. 

James Persichetti

James Persichetti

James Persichetti is a writer, freelance developmental editor, and teacher for writing craft workshops. He writes about queer characters going on adventures without focusing on queer issues. Prior to his current position, he worked for a top literary agency, vetting submissions and selling foreign rights. His debut, THE SAPLING’S CURSE, is a gay romance Arthurian legends graphic novel, illustrated by Lao, and will publish in 2023 with HMH. His short fiction will appear in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers 2020 Anthology. When not writing, he enjoys dabbling in foreign languages, including Italian and Japanese. He can be found on Twitter @JPPersichetti.

Kerry Schafer

Kerry Schafer who also writes as Kerry Anne King, is the RMFW Writer of the Year for 2020. She is a Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author with nine published novels to date. She is a firm believer in writing what she loves and has gleefully reveled in fantasy, paranormal mystery, and women’s fiction.

In addition to writing, Kerry enjoys teaching, public speaking, marketing, and interviewing other authors on her videocast/podcast, Tell Me Your Secrets, which is part of the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.

When not absorbed in her creative pursuits, you’ll find Kerry hanging out with her Viking on their little piece of heaven in rural northeastern Washington.

Jon Tandler

Jon Tandler is a Member of Sherman & Howard, Denver, Colorado, and practices intellectual property, publishing, information technology, and business law.

He servers as legal counsel to entrepreneurs and established companies and institutions on matters for managing and monetizing intellectual property and technology assets. Jon’s publishing practice emphasizes copyright and literary law in the book and magazine industries, as well as rights, contract, transactional, and regulatory matters. He represents publishers, authors, agencies, publishing trade associations, and others working in fiction and non-fiction publishing genres. Jon teaches regularly about his fields of practice for professional and academic organizations.

Leslie Vedder

Leslie Vedder (she/her) is a queer ace author who loves fairytale retellings with girl adventurers and heroes! Her debut YA novel THE BONE SPINDLE is forthcoming in spring 2022 from Penguin / Putnam Young Readers. She lives in Colorado with her girlfriend and two spoiled house cats. You can find her at leslievedder.com.

Peggy Waide

A long-time member of RMFW, Peggy Waide entered her first Regency romance in the Colorado Gold Contest. The judging editor offered her a contract. Dreams do come true! She has published four titles with Leisure Books. Montlake now publishes her titles. She is currently shopping an Amateur Sleuth mystery and wrapping up a contemporary romance. She has served as Vice-President, Pal Rep, run Colorado Gold Conference and presented workshops at RMFW Gold and RWA.

Carter Wilson

USA Today and #1 Denver Post bestselling author Carter Wilson has written six critically acclaimed, standalone psychological thrillers, as well as numerous short stories. He is an ITW Thriller Award finalist, a four-time winner of the Colorado Book Award, and his novels have received multiple starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. His latest novel, The Dead Girl in 2A, was released in July 2019 from Poisoned Pen Press. Carter lives in Erie, Colorado in a Victorian house that is spooky but isn’t haunted…yet.

Johnny Worthen

Johnny Worthen (Infinite Monkeys, Salt City Genre Writers, The Usual Suspects) is an award-winning, multiple-genre, tie-dye-wearing author, voyager, and damn fine human being! A Utah Writer of the Year, trained in literary criticism and cultural studies, he writes upmarket fiction, long and short, mentors others where he can and teaches at the University of Utah.