Writing from the Peak, PPW Blog

Fall in Love with Your Story

Readers, I introduce to you to Samantha Crane, a recipient of a Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2017 scholarship.  We ask those who benefit from our scholarship program to share a bit about their experience at PPWC.  We hope to see Sam back next year ready to pitch!

Each year, the Pikes Peak Writers organization offers a limited number of scholarships to aspiring writers who could not otherwise attend the Conference.  Since 1993, scholarships have been made possible by generous contributions from friends of PPW and participants of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and we thank those donors.   Scholarship applications for Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 will be open beginning in November 2017.   More information is available here.

The next Pikes Peak Writers Conference  is April 27-29, 2018 in Colorado Springs, CO.

Gabrielle Brown, Managing Editor

I arrived at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2017 ready to quit writing. I had not worked on my manuscript for ages and I had begun to hate it. While at the conference, the most amazing thing happened. I fell in love with my story again!

After four years of my manuscript waiting for me, I came out of this conference weekend with a bare-bones outline for my first book. I was even able to come up with concepts for two more books, taking this idea from hated and ignored to a trilogy that I am excited to work on. I really can’t pin it down on one “aha” moment because every second spent at the conference was building back up my love of writing. Of the 14 workshops I had the opportunity to attend over the weekend, two really stood out to me.


Impactful Sessions

The first was “Writing Worlds That Work” with Carol Berg. She gave us so much information that I filled nine pages worth of notes. Ms. Berg covered everything from the definition of setting versus world to the background of your world–that is what is 

happening around your character–to keeping your plot unpredictable. Ms. Berg even gave activities to complete so we would grasp the concepts better. 

The second class that stood out to me, perhaps because of my own manuscript idea, was “Designing Magic” with M.H. Boroson. With his help I was able to better define and make sense of the magic within my world. Instead of having a vague idea of there being magic, I now have ideas to make it an impactful part of my current manuscript.


Writers Encouraging Writers

While I loved the workshops that I took and the speakers had such helpful information, I have to say that it was the people that were there that had the most impact on me. From the very first day when I sat down at the query help desk to the final meal on Sunday, I was encouraged by everyone I spoke with. The most common phrases I heard during the conference, and probably the words that will stick with me most, are “just finish it” and “you will finish it”. 

The conference was not all work, however. In our down time we were able to talk with other authors, editors, and agents. We had opportunity to get favorite books signed and shop for new additions to our collections. One of the most fun experiences was the costume dinner. It was wonderful to see so many people dress as beloved characters. The dinner had contests and prizes and is something I will be looking forward to every year.


Turning Point

This conference was a drastic turning point in what I can now call my writing career. I would suggest that every writer, even every person that has a story in mind, attend this conference. You will come away with not only a deeper understanding of writing and its techniques, but you will also receive encouragement by the ton, ideas, and maybe a few new friends. Take the chance, you won’t believe the change this conference can make in your life.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying thank you, Pikes Peak writers conference 2017, I wish the conference could have lasted longer.

photo of Samantha Crane

Samantha Crane lives in Colorado with her husband and two children. She is first and foremost a wife and mother, who has joyfully taken on the  additional responsibility of homeschooling a preschooler and a kindergartener. In her free time Sam likes Fiber Arts such as crocheting, knitting, and has even tried her hand at spinning and dying her own yarn. Sam began reading when she was 4 years old but never really tried to write fiction until she was an adult. She is now currently working on her very first novel that combines her love of the Fantasy and Mysteries genres with a bit of Horror. Sam is hoping that she will be able to finish it and have it ready for editing within the next year, preferably in time for the next conference.












From Art to Can of Soup – Marketing Your Book

Readers, today we have installment number ten on Jason Henry Evans’ series on How to Write and Publish Historical Fiction.  Today he shares marketing tips.

Wow. Ten months ago I said I wanted to do a series of basic how-to’s for historical fiction. While this was originally conceived as an eight part series, it has grown to ten – yes ten blogs – on how to write and publish your historical fiction.

Over this year we have covered:

  • Story ideas
  • Historical research
  • Story planning
  • Character arcs
  • Publishing goals
  • Writing strategies
  • And a bunch of other stuff.

So now what are we going to talk about? Cover art? How to handle your millions in royalties? Managing the paparazzi in three easy steps? Make-up techniques for television?

Nope. None of that. There is one area we have not covered. It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the room.


Best of the Best Countdown #9

Today please enjoy the first in our series Best of the Best. We’re counting down our most popular blog posts of all time. Last November, Patrick Hester provided some great advice on crafting a page turner.  Take a look and see  howPatrick keeps his readers engaged.


Gabrielle Brown,  Managing Editor

How to Craft the Ultimate Page Turner

By: Patrick Hester

Hi there! My name is Patrick Hester. I’m a PPW member, have taught at Write Brains and PPWC, and volunteer as a board member for Pikes Peak Writers. I’m also an author, leaning toward science fiction and fantasy, though I have dabbled in all sorts of fiction. I have a critique partner named JT Evans. You might know him as both a contributor to this blog, and as President of Pikes Peak Writers. One of the kind things he and others have said to me numerous times is how well I do scene and chapter breaks. That means a lot to me, because I work hard on them. I want my readers to turn the page and keep reading, not take a break.

The secret to doing that well? The answer might surprise you.

Two of my favorite things: comic books and Classic Doctor Who.


Board Elections

If you would like to be more involved in the direction and stewardship of Pikes Peak Writers, please consider running for a position on the board. In September, the board will vote on President (incumbent running), Vice President, Treasurer (incumbent running) and Member at Large positions. To be considered, please submit a 1-2 page letter of interest, including why you want the job, what you bring to the table, and a little about your volunteer experience, PPW or otherwise. Letters should be submitted to president@pikespeakwriters.com no later than Sept. 12.

The time requirement for the board varies. The board meets quarterly, usually on a weeknight, for approximately two hours. The board reviews operational budgets annually, and different members work on different projects. Members at Large represent our PPW members to the board. If you have any questions, please contact Bowen Gillings, president@pikespeakwriters.com.

Zebuloning Into 2018

Readers, we have a guest post from SM, this year’s Zebulon Contest Coordinator.  The Zebulon could not be in better hands.  Take a look.  -Gabrielle Brown, editor.

Hello, my name is SM, and I’m your new Zebulon Contest Coordinator. Living in the Great White North, I may at times add a touch of the Canadian spirit to the contest, but fear not, the Rocky Mountains are close to my heart.

First off, I’d like to thank our outgoing coordinator, Dawn Smit Miller. She’s done an extraordinary job at organizing past Zebulons, PPW’s premier fiction writing contest. I feel I have mighty big shoes to fill, so bear with me as I find my own voice.


Letter from the Editor

picture of September 2017 calendarWell, it is now September. It is with a bit of trepidation I take over the reigns here as Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog. Donnell Bell has been outstanding at ensuring you see timely posts regarding the craft and business of writing and sharing the successes of you, our members. Donnell also, I think, knew everyone.

But my worry is fleeting. This blog features the input and submissions of more than a few talented individuals. And I expect to get to know everyone, too. I stand in good company.

I look forward to working with this capable group of PPW members. Here you will continue to meet members and celebrate in their successes. You’ll see announcements, craft and business advice, relevant pieces, and updates from our President, Bowen Gillings. And of course, you will also have the opportunity to be a part of our blog.

Pikes Peak Writers is here to serve our members. If you’ve got ideas for our blog, or a subject you’d like to write about, please share your thoughts with me. We’re currently accepting individual submissions as well as series ideas. I can be reached at editor@pikespeakwriters.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

And remember, becoming a member is easy.  Just head over to https://pikespeakwriters.com/about/join-pikes-peak-writers/ and follow the instructions.

A little bit about me – My published works are almost entirely nonfiction – textbook credits, studies for the federal government, research papers, technical writing, and a few random poems. I’ve been compelled to write stories, poems, and song lyrics since I could hold a crayon, and I’ve recently made the leap from leisurely to serious fiction writing. I’ve blogged, designed websites, done a bit of development work, and edited for many years, primarily as a volunteer for non-profit groups. Since I’ve benefited from reading the PPW Blog for timely relevant posts, I’m thrilled to be at the helm.

PPW Blog and website will be undergoing some changes in the next few weeks.  We are working to complete the process as seamlessly as possible.Still, you may see differences in appearance and format, some of which may be temporary. Ultimately, the changes we’re making will improve functionality and virtual visibility of Pikes Peak Writers.


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers BlogGabrielle V. Brown, Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog, is an engineer by trade and a writer by passion. Her published works included government studies, textbook credits, research abstracts, training manuals and poetry. She has extensive experience in website design and maintenance, blog content and management, and SEO. Gabrielle has put words to paper since she could hold a crayon and currently writes speculative fiction, humorous short stories, poetry, and literary fiction.