Writing from the Peak, PPW Blog

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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Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 Special Events, Part 2

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 is just around the corner.  Today, Karen Fox, PPWC Conference Director, shares some Conference extras that you won’t want to miss.  PPWC offers so many extras this year that they couldn’t all fit in one post.  Check back for more Special Events at PPWC 2018.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


We’ve already mentioned some of the great things happening at this year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference, but there are even more!  Take a peek at the activities that were so popular, we’re bringing them back.

 

 

Write Drunk Edit Sober

Like to drink?  Silly question, we’re writers, aren’t we?  Once again, we offer the opportunity to Write Drunk and Edit Sober on Saturday night from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m. in the restaurant annex.  There is an extra charge of $25 for this event, but you get to taste several different beers and write to a prompt.   On Sunday morning, you’ll join us again in the restaurant annex at 10:10 a.m. (not too early, you notice) to edit the prose you wrote while drinking.  This is a win-win situation!  And you don’t have to participate in the Write Drunk portion if you want to sit in on the Edit Sober portion to see what emerged from the beer.  Be sure to select the Write Drunk, Edit Sober when you register.

 

The Shop Open Mike & Lab

If you enjoyed last year’s Open Mic session, you’ll have another opportunity on Saturday night following the banquet (approximately 9:00 p.m.) in Aspen Leaf.  Damon Smithwick, our emcee and last year’s host, will once again oversee the open mic.  Based on PPW’s monthly Shop, this event is an open mic with a twist.  The night starts with a forum, evolves into an open mic; and ends the night as a workshop for artists to premiere works in progress for critique.  Come, singers, poets, comics, rappers, storytellers.  This is your opportunity to grow as an artist.

 

Huge Book Signing Event

PPWC is holding a huge booksigning on Saturday afternoon from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m. in Aspen Leaf that features all the speakers at the conference, including keynotes–Jim Butcher, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jonathan Maberry and Mary Robinette Kowal.  You can bring up to two previously purchased books in with you to this signing, but all authors will have copies available as well.  This event is open to the public so feel free to invite family, friends and bookstore owners to attend.  Check out our list of amazing faculty here.

Annual On-Site Flash Fiction Contest

We’ll also be holding our annual on-site flash fiction contest which takes place during the conference.  If you can tell a phenomenal story in 100 words, this is the contest for you.  Details will be released during lunch on Friday and participants have until before dinner on Saturday to turn in their entry.  The winner will be announced during Sunday’s lunch.

 

Professional Head Shots

Need an author head shot?  It looks good on a website or better yet, a book cover.  Jared Hagen has slots available to take personal photos during the conference.  They only run $70 for a 225-minute photo shoot, which is dirt cheap which you know if you’ve priced this out already.  You’ll receive a CD of professional author photos to which you’ll own the rights.  Even better, Jared donates 50% of his proceeds back to the PPWC Scholarship fun.  This is win-win! Sign up for a time slot when you register for the conference. (I’ll attach my before and after shots if you want to use them.)

With all these enticements, don’t hesitate!  Go now to  https://www.regonline.com/ppwc2018 to register right now.


Karen Fox is PPWC 2018 Conference Director.  When not embroiled in the adventure and romance of her latest characters, Karen shares her house in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, her granddaughter, and four cats.  She has published eight paranormal romance novels, one short story and one young adult novella.  Her second book, SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, was a 1998 RITA Finalist for the Romance Writers of America.  She’s currently at work on a young adult urban fantasy and new romance.

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Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 Special Events, Part 1

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 is just around the corner.  Today, Karen Fox, PPWC Conference Director, shares some Conference extras that you won’t want to miss.  PPWC offers so many extras this year that they couldn’t all fit in one post.  Check back for more Special Events at PPWC 2018.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


The Pikes Peak Writers Conference will run from April 27-29, 2018 with the full-day prequel on April 26, 2018.  But there’s more than that.  Here is information on some of the special events we’re offering that you’ll likely want to participate in as well (part 1 of 2).

Aside from over 40 workshops covering all aspects of commercial fiction writing, PPWC offers a chance to query a buying editor or agent or to visit with renowned published authors.   You’ll also have the opportunity to sit with these editors, agents and fantastic speakers at the meals.  The conference price includes seven meals throughout the weekend.  (Did I mention prime rib on Saturday night? Yum.)

 

Stitch, Pitch and Color

Start off your conference on Thursday night, 26 April 2018 by spending some time with Sourcebooks Editorial Director, Deb Werksman for Stitch, Pitch and Color.  This will be relaxing opportunity in the hotel library where attendees can pitch their works, knit or crochet along with Deb, or bring in a coloring book or other non-messy craft to share the time.  Even if you’re shy, this is a great opportunity to eavesdrop on an industry-knowledgeable editor while keeping your hands busy.

 

Zebulon Winners -Past and Present – Mix and Mingle

Are you a PPWC Contest winner?  The Pikes Peak Writers Conference has offered a writing contest for unpublished writers for decades.  Known at one time as the Paul Gillette Contest for Excellence in Fiction Writing, the Zebulon, as it’s now known, recognizes the talents of writers every year in a variety of genres.  This year, the conference has decided to open up a slot in the Eagles Nest room before the Contest Awards Banquet on Saturday night to allow all contest winners–past and present–to mingle and share in their experience of winning these awards.  Who has gone on to sell?  Who has an agent?  What secrets are there to maximizing this experience?  Networking and sharing information are two of the most valuable assets a writer can take away from a conference.

Fortune Pen Scholarship Fundraiser

The conference on-site fundraising opportunities go toward filling the scholarships for the next year and supporting the conference so we can bring in even better faculty, workshops and activities.    One way an attendee can help out this year is to buy a $10.00 PPWC fortune pen.  A $10.00 pen, you say?!! But this is no ordinary pen–inside is a piece of paper that lets you know which one of a wide montage of amazing prizes you might have won (all valued $10.00 and up).  There could be books on craft or fiction.  There could be a free night at the Marriott.  There could be wine.  Or a 50-page critique from an attending editor or agent.  Or a free prequel for 2019.  An attendee has to purchase a pen to find out.

 

Blind Date with a Book

Do you judge a book by its cover?  Most of us tend to do that.  Well, now you have to pick a book to read without seeing the cover.  The second fundraising opportunity at conference allows an attendee to go on a “Blind Date with a Book.”  For a donation, an attendee can get a book wrapped in brown-paper with only a short synopsis and genre on it.   Might be a mystery.  Or thriller.  Or science fiction.  Or romance.  But which one?

Keep looking for part 2 of this blog, which will detail even more on this year’s PPWC extra activities.


Karen is PPWC 2018 Conference Director.  When not embroiled in the adventure and romance of her latest characters, Karen shares her house in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, her granddaughter, and four cats.  She has published eight paranormal romance novels, one short story and one young adult novella.  Her second book, SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, was a 1998 RITA Finalist for the Romance Writers of America.  She’s currently at work on a young adult urban fantasy and new romance.

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