Writing from the Peak, PPW Blog

PPW Prez Says, 2nd Quarter 2018

Readers, today we hear from Bowen Gillings, president of Pikes Peak Writers. Look for the Prez Says Column each quarter as Bowen keeps Pikes Peak Writers informed.


Prez Says

Report on the June 2018 PPW Board Meeting

Hello! Your Pikes Peak Writers Board of Directors met on June 7th to cover a full agenda and here is what’s fit to print for you, dear reader.

I will lead with one of the last items we discussed: volunteering with PPW and PPWC (conference). If you do not know, Pikes Peak Writers is run entirely by volunteers. That means everything we do, every event you attend, or post you see online is made possible by dedicated individuals generously giving of their time and talent.

We need more volunteers.

Many members have volunteered for a long time—some for a very, very long time—and they are getting tired, which is understandable, inevitable, and expected. We would love to get some new blood in the mix. PPW needs volunteers to help out with functions ranging from social media and marketing to membership management, volunteer coordination, and helping run the organization as members of the Board of Directors. All of our volunteer needs can be found on the website at https://pikespeakwriters.com/about/key-volunteers/ and at https://pikespeakwriters.com/about/support-ppw/volunteer-opportunities/.

Speaking of the Board, elections are in September. Open positions will be President, Secretary, NCE Director, and Member at Large. Serving on the Board does take some time and dedication. Reach out to any one of us for a sense of what it takes. But, believe me, it is worth it when you see how PPW positively affects the writing community.

Members at Large (MAL) are voting members of the Board who hold no additional Board duties. MALs help out as eyes, ears, and voices contributing to Board decisions. Often MAL is a good start if you’re curious about helping lead this great organization. Up to eight MAL positions may be accepted on the Board this year.

Stacy Jensen has done an outstanding job as our Board Secretary, but is not seeking reelection. Linda Tschappet has gone above and beyond as our Non-Conference Events Director and now is working with Laura Hayden on running the 2019 Conference. So, she’ll be busy. Both ladies have won our Volunteer of the Year Award for their services.

I have enjoyed my 18 months as your president. However, it is time for someone else to take over the reins. I will stay on the Board in the voting position of Immediate Past President until 2020. Also, I am running programming for the 2019 Conference. So, like Linda T., I will be busy.

Nominations for Board positions must be in by the end of August, 2018. While you do have to be a PPW member to run, no prior experience with the Board is necessary for any open position. If you are interested in running, submit a one-page letter detailing your position of interest, your qualifications, and a short bio to president@pikespeakwriters.com or secretary@pikespeakwriters.com. Write “Board Nomination 2018” in the subject line. 

The Board also reviewed the 26th Annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference. What a rousing success it was. Anyone who attended knows that PPWC 2018 set a new standard in fun, networking, learning, and general literary awesomeness. 

What many of you don’t know is all the hard work that went into making it such a great event. Kudos to conference director Karen Fox and her amazing staff of volunteers who gave it their all to make sure every attendee had a great weekend. Our thanks as well to keynotes Jonathan Maberry, Mary Robinette Kowal, Laurelle K. Hamilton, and Bob Mayer, and to all the faculty, agents, and editors. I have added being a co-emcee with Mary Robinette Kowal to my bucket list. Those who came to conference know why.

We also discussed how to honor PPW members in memorium. This past year saw the loss of two visibly involved members, Ron Cree and Steve Nelson. Finding ways to honor them without setting further precedent that may hamstring the organization in future was the focus. To that end, the Board decided to return the scholarship fund back to it’s general name of Pikes Peak Writers Conference Scholarship Fund and create two scholarships under it dedicated to Ron and Steve and available to writers who meet certain criteria. More details on these will come shortly. Once finalized, they can be found on the website’s scholarships page.

Many other topics were discussed and, to save space, I will address them in the form of a no-nonsense bullet list:

  • The Board appointed a representative to work with the Webmaster to help streamline our transition to new Internet platforms and tools.
  • A second phase to our Writing is Art partnership with Cottonwood Center for the Arts is under way. March 2018’s showing exceeded expectations. Keep checking the website for new submission guidelines.
  • The Board is looking for someone to take the lead in creating a PPW Anthology. Anyone interested in details can contact president@pikespeakwriters.com.
  • We are dissolving the PPW Yahoo! Group. This legacy item served us well for 16 years, but has become a dinosaur seeing little use save for people promoting their own material. It will be gone by the end of August. Those affected are invited to checkout our Pikes Peak Writers Connect group forum on Facebook.

Thank you for engaging with Pikes Peak Writers. If you have questions about PPW and how it works, please reach out to me. The address is president@pikespeakwriters.com.

Thank you.

Bowen Gillings

President

Pikes Peak Writers

Sweet Success Comes in Triplicate!

Congratulations to Todd Fahnestock on the recent publication of Wildmane, Book 1 of the Threadweavers series which came out on May 15, 2018. The triple success is the entire trilogy will follow soon. The GodSpill will release on Tuesday, June 19 (today!), and Book 3, Threads of Amarion, will be released on Tuesday, July 17. Todd is on a roll with one book a month.


A brooding demigod. A young magician. A race to restore magic to the lands.

Long bereft of magic, the human lands are dying, and humans are devolving. Their legendary protector, the demigod Wildmane, has given up on them.

When a monster sent for young Mirolah slays her adopted sister instead, Mirolah is pulled into a quest to bring Wildmane out of his self-imposed exile and restore magic to the lands. Undead threadweavers rise to stop her and cage Wildmane. To beat them, she must learn more about herself and threadweaving than she thought possible. And she must do it quickly…

 

TODD FAHNESTOCK is a writer of fantasy for all ages. His bestselling The Wishing World series began as bedtime stories for his children. His latest epic fantasy series, Threadweavers, which includes Wildmane, The GodSpill and Threads of Amarion. Stories are his passion, but Todd’s greatest accomplishment is his quirky, fun-loving family. When he’s not writing, he goes on morning runs with his daughter and practices Tae Kwon Do with his son. With the rest of his free time, he drives the love of his life crazy with the emotional rollercoaster that is being a full-time author.

These epic fantasies are available on Amazon and at the Tattered Cover. Published by Parker Haden Media, they are suitable for ages 13+ (ISBN: 978-1-941528-62-4, 506 pages, softcover).
You can contact Todd at: todd.fahnestock@gmail.com or visit his website


Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.

Sweet Success for Avery Daniels

Congratulations to Avery Daniels. Her Resort to Murder mystery series continues with the second book, Nailed, an adult cozy mystery.


Julienne LaMere is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will. Julienne gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard. “Essence of a page turner.” King’s River Life Magazine.

 

AVERY DANIELS was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. Avery volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. Her love for reading was inherited from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

You can reach Avery by email: mysterysuspense1@gmail.com or visit her website.
Buy print and ebook: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound.
Ebook: Kobo, iBook, and more.
Audio book will be out soon.


Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.

 

Time is Running Out – Register Now for this Special Event – The Art of Going Deep with Christine Goff

The Art of Going Deep –  Christine Goff

 

Saturday June 23, 2018 – 1:00-5:00pm — Doors open at 12:30

Cost: $25 – Register using PayPal.com send your payment to PayPal@PikesPeakWriters.com.
Then email your name, phone number, and a copy of your transaction confirmation email to RSVP@PikesPeakWriters.com.

Where: Venue@21c (upper floor, to the right if coming in the upper entrance) of Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80920

More Information: Concept. Structure. Plot. Character. Pacing. Dialogue. Setting. It takes ALL that and more to make a good book. And it takes digging deep to make it stellar. Going Deep is how you make your story breathe. Going Deep is what helps you create characters that jump off the page to live in the heart of the reader. As authors, it’s our job to put our characters through the wringer, but it isn’t enough to make the reader feel frightened for the character. We need to make the reader feel frightened as though they are the character.

We’ve all read books that make us feel like we’re living the moment. We laugh. We cry. Our hearts pound. We’re scared to death. One in a million writers is so gifted that their words hit the page with perfection. For the rest of us it’s accomplished by digging deep. Restructuring. Revising. Polishing. Rewriting, if need be.

In this workshop, Chris Goff will explore some of the ways writers can dig in and mine for that je ne sais quoi that grabs a reader and propels a book onto the bestseller lists. She’ll share some tools, methods and insight, so we can master the Art of GOING DEEP.

Please bring five to ten PRINTED pages of your work-in-progress or finished manuscript (even better) and be prepared to make some changes.

About the Presenter: Chris Goff is an award-winning author of six novels based on environmental themes and a new international thriller series. Her bestselling Birdwatcher’s Mystery series has been nominated for two Willa Awards, and a Colorado Authors’ League Award. Her debut thriller, DARK WATERS, was nominated for the 2016 Colorado Book Award, Colorado Authors’ League Award and the Anthony Award for Best Crime Fiction Audiobook. Her latest book, RED SKY, came out in June 2017.


Chris Goff began her career writing non-fiction, penning columns for several local newspapers in Summit County, Colorado, as well as articles for regional and national publication. Later she edited rock and ice-climbing guides for Chockstone Press and worked in graphic production for a division of The Morehouse Publishing Group. She has taught writing workshops at the Colorado Free University, the University of Colorado, and across the US and in England. A long-standing member of multiple writing organizations, she has served on several local, regional and national boards. She currently serves as a member of the Sisters in Crime Education Committee, and sits on the Executive Committee of International Association of Crime Writers.
WEBSITE: www.christinegoff.com

 

 

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Blast from the Past – Five Stages of Critique Group Grief

Readers, today we have a blast from the past. Cindi Madsen is a successful romance writer, you can tell her novels because they’re “Funny. Flirty. & a Little Bit Nerdy”.  Way back in 2011, Cindi shared her thoughts about Critique Group Grief, and this post stands the test of time.  See more about what Cindi is up to these days at her website.  –Gabrielle Brown, editor


I was at a writers’ workshop and a girl sitting next to me started talking about critique groups. She was in a group she wasn’t sure about, and none of the other writers were even close to her genre. In my group, we all write different genres as well. My group rocks. I think the fact we all write different genres makes us look outside the box a little more, and every writer’s goal, no matter what genre, is to write well and keep our readers hooked. Getting my work critiqued isn’t the easiest thing I’ve done—especially in the beginning when we were just getting to know each other. But I felt like I’d done all I could do on my own, and I really wanted my book to be the best it could be. That meant feedback. It wasn’t always easy, but I learned so much, so fast. My writing jumped to a new level. I started seeing the difference it made in my book.

Now we’re comfortable with each other and trust each other. Critique group is an encouraging environment where we cheer each other on, help brainstorm, and have become friends. That doesn’t mean I take every suggestion. But I always consider them. My chapters are always better afterward. Sometimes it can get a little crazy—we get passionate about each others’ characters. We feel like we know them. One night after an especially lively session, I was driving home, trying to wade through all the comments and figure out what I needed to do to make the chapters stronger. I thought about how I went through stages after critique group. So, I compared them to the five stages of grief.

Five Stages of Critique Group Grief

Denial – My stuff is awesome the way it is. They just don’t get it.

Anger – I can’t believe they’re finding problems after all the hard work, heart, and soul I put into writing this!

Bargaining – But see how if you know this, it makes it all work out. Kind of.

Depression – I give up. Everything sucks, and I worked too hard on it already. I don’t think I can look at it again. It’s never going to be finished.

Acceptance – Okay, it needs some work, and after some time brainstorming, I think—no, I can—do better. This is what critique groups are for; to get input and make my book the best it can be. It’s going to take some work, but I will fix this!


Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. She has way too many shoes, but can always find a reason to by a new pair. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children, and is a member of PPW and PPRW. You can check out her blog at cindimadsen.blogspot.com.

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Meet the Members – Stacy S. Jensen

Writing from the Peak is pleased to introduce you to PPW member Stacy S. Jensen. Many of you have met her at PPW Conferences coordinating the silent auction, fundraising, and now at the query desk. She loves to volunteer because it’s such a great way to meet people.

 

KJ Scrim – How long have you been writing and what genre do you prefer to write?
Stacy Jensen – I wrote my first book, All About Me, (a memoir) in the second grade. I write children’s picture books. It’s more difficult than it looks. I’ve also written a more recent memoir. I love both picture book and personal essay format.

KJ – Do you have anything in particular you are working on right now?
Stacy – I’m working on several picture books simultaneously. Right now, I’m working on back matter for a picture book. The manuscript text is around 230 words. The back matter is double this. It’s a concept book on our land and how it changed over millions of years.

KJ – You have a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life. What other publications do you have under your writer’s belt?
Stacy – I continue to submit my manuscripts to agents. I created and published a series of journals which are available on Amazon.

KJ – With every published work there are rejections. How do you get past the “No’s”? 
Stacy – I’ve been told NO plenty of times. I know you can’t hear YES, if you don’t try. In both 2017 and 2018, my main writing goal is to submit more of my work.

KJ – Writing conferences, workshops, and critique groups are an important part of the new writer’s experiences (and more experienced writers too!). How have they helped you?
Stacy – Conferences are a great way to refresh both your skills and your spirit. It’s helpful and fun to be immersed with other writers. I’m blessed to have a large support network of writers, but it’s still great to be surrounded by your writer tribe — discussing your work and your craft.

KJ – Do you have any “self-help for writers” books that you use regularly? How do they help?
Stacy – I’ve found a support network with online and in-person writer friends. I’m working my way through Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I’ve enjoyed several online classes on writing and revision. Reading is a great way to study craft and trends. For my picture book study, I read 20 plus new titles a week.

KJ – What expertise in your background do you draw on in your writing?
Stacy – I was a journalist. I love learning about how people live and what they think and why. I sometimes search public posts on Facebook to “watch” how people interact with one another. It’s fascinating and frightening to watch this. It’s good way to research the way people talk and specific topics for a story.

Stacy S. JensenIf you would like to learn more about Stacy, and her books, please visit her website.
She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

 

 

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Meet the Member by: KJ Scrim

Contact her at: sweetsuccess@pikespeakwriters.com

KJ Scrim is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder . She has several non-fiction stories published along with a short story that received an Honorable Mention in the NYC Short Story Contest. Her debut fantasy novel (not yet published) is titled The Manx. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her out walking or rock climbing at the local gym.

 

Memorial for Longtime PPW Member Steven Nelson

steve nelson headshotSteven LeRoy Nelson’s Memorial will be on Saturday, June 2nd, at 11:00 a.m., at the All Souls Unitarian Church. All Souls is located at the corner of Tejon and Dale, close to Colorado College. We will be celebrating his life and his passions: writing, family, and serving others.

Please bring your favorite finger food, casserole, etc., OR beverage. Wine/beer/spirits are welcome.

Your role during this memorial is to honor the passing of a good man, and to celebrate not only his life, but YOUR life, and the gifts you’ve given and received through your connections with others.

I look forward to sharing this celebration of my husband’s life with you, and I am grateful for the love and compassion I’ve received from so many of you. Thank you.

Please RSVP to Georgeanne Nelson if you’re planning on attending: blood_and_thunder@comcast.net.

Sweet Success for Becky Clark

Congratulations Becky Clark!
Her adult cozy mystery, Fiction Can Be Murder, was released on April 8, 2018, by Midnight Ink. You can receive the first three chapters free when you sign up for her So Seldom It’s Shameful Newsletter.

Fiction Can Be Murder
Mystery author Charlemagne Russo thought the twisty plots and peculiar murders in her books were only products of her imagination. That is, until her agent is found dead exactly as described in her unpublished manuscript. Suspicion swirls around her and her critique group. Which of her friends is a murderer?

 

 

 

 

Becky Clark
Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” They also say “Warning: You will laugh out loud. I’m not kidding,” and “If you like Janet Evanovich, you will like Becky Clark.”

 

 

 

Fiction Can Be Murder is available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and Indie Bound

You can reach Becky by Email: Becky@BeckyClarkBooks.com
Visit her website

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Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.

Sweet Success Margo Catts

Since Margo Catts’ debut novel, Among the Lesser Gods, was released last summer, it has received wonderful reviews from N.Y. Times, 5280, Colorado Public Radio, The Denver Post, and Romantic Times. Congratulations Margo on a your Sweet Success!

 

Among the Lesser GodsElena Alvarez has learned small actions can have terrible consequences, from the deadly fire she started as a child to an unwanted pregnancy, and she’s intent on avoiding the future. Perhaps she can hide in the Colorado mountains and wait for something—anything—to make her next choice for her.

Instead, reflections of her own troubles surround her—the recent widower and his children, Elena’s own mysterious family history, and the community’s interwoven pains and joys. When the children go missing, the prospect of fresh loss and blame exposes the terrible burdens we take upon ourselves, the way tragedy and redemption are intertwined—and how curses can lead to blessings, however disguised.

 

 

Margo Catts grew up in Los Angeles and has spent her adulthood in Colorado. After raising three children in the U.S., she and her husband moved to Saudi Arabia, where her Foreign Girl blog was well known in the expat community. Originally a freelance editor for textbooks and magazines, she has also done freelance writing for business, technical, and advertising clients. She is a contributing author to the anthology Once Upon an Expat. Among the Lesser Gods is her first novel.

 

 

 

Among the Lesser Gods (published by Skyhorse Publishing, ISBN 9781628727395) is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Arcade Publishing, and in bookstores.

Email Margo at Margo.Catts@gmail.com  or visit her website

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Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.

Sweet Success Shannon Lawrence

Today contributing editor Kathie Scrimgeour shares Shannon Lawrence’s Sweet Success.


lawrence-shannon-blue-sludge-cover

A Sweet Success goes to Shannon Lawrence for the release of her first anthology, Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations. This collection of adult horror short stories was released March 15, 2018 by Warrior Muse Press and is available in e-book as well as paperback.

-About the anthology- 

A collection of frights, from the psychological to the monstrous. These tales are a reminder of how

 much we have to fear: a creature lurking in the blue, sludgy depths of a rest area toilet; a friendly neighbor with a dark secret hidden in his basement; a woman with nothing more to lose hellbent on vengeance; a hike gone terribly wrong for three friends; a man cursed to clean up the bodies left behind by an inhuman force. These and other stories prowl the pages of this short story collection. 

-About Shannon-

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in anthologies and magazines, including Once Upon a Scream, Dark Moon Digest, and Space and Time Magazine. Her first solo collection of short stories, Blue Sludge Blues and Other Abominations, will be released March 1. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. 

Find her at www.thewarriormuse.com,  Facebook or Twitter: @thewarriormuse.

Where to buy or read:

 

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