2021 Debut Edition:
Tales from the Pikes Peak Writers
After the fires are out, the smoke has cleared, the divorce is over, the widow has stopped wearing black, the sun has risen, the monsters are dead, the world is saved (or destroyed!), the storm has calmed, and the trouble is over…
…what do you do next?
Find out in the first anthology of work by the Pikes Peak Writers. From mystery to romance and science fiction—from heartfelt essays to poetry that moves the soul.
We can’t promise only happy endings. Just that moment when you pick yourself up out of the wreckage and find the strength to begin anew.
MEET THE AUTHORS!
Thirty authors from across the globe contributed to the making of this first anthology, Fresh Starts. The editors are proud to introduce them to you.
Bill May: Death Found You
Bill May lives in Oregon with his wife, Nan, and their two poodles. He enjoys wine, horseback riding, playing online poker with his grandsons, and exchanging political humor with his three daughters. Before retiring, Bill got paid to have fun teaching literature and creative writing. Unfortunately, his teaching career left him with a relentless inner critic. Occasionally he’s able to shut it up long enough to complete short stories and poems. “Death Found You” is his first published work of poetry.
Bowen Gillings: Dawn Trouble
Bowen Gillings is an award-winning author whose quirky tales range from superhero suspense to divine family squabbles. He is a devout travel enthusiast, committed martial arts dabbler, and closeted RPG nerd. He enjoys cooking, the outdoors, good whiskey, and good friends. Born in Wisconsin, he grew up in South Dakota’s Black Hills, matriculated in Minnesota, and then bounced around Europe with the Army. He’s lived on both coasts, danced on the Great Wall of China, and driven a Volvo from Alaska to Louisiana before settling in Colorado with his wife and daughter. Website, Facebook,
CS Simpson: Memories
CS Simpson is a multi-genre author of several short stories, a novel, and even a little poetry. She self-published a fable (digital-only), and one of her short stories has appeared in Shoreline of Infinity 19.
In addition to reading and writing, CS loves music, movies, and spending time outdoors with her husband and dog under the Colorado skies she calls home. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
C.E. Barnes: Sir George and the Dragon
C.E. Barnes grew up in Northwest Florida but left at the age of 27 because a human can only tolerate humidity, mosquitoes, and tourists for just so long. His literary influences include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Herbert George Wells, which is why his sentence structure abounds with convoluted dependent clauses spliced together with an exuberance of semicolons. He is awkward in social settings and retreats behind a shield of polite formality, unless you bring up the topic of dogs, whereupon he’ll talk your poor ears off. He adores his wife. He shouldn’t be trusted to write his own bio. Facebook
David Stier: Blindsided
David Stier is a US Army veteran who served in Germany during the Cold War. Some of Dave’s short stories have appeared in, Fiction River #18 (Visions of the Apocalypse), Fiction River #24 (Pulse Pounders Adrenaline), Fiction River #25 (Feel the Fear), Fiction River #30 (Hard Choices), Fiction River #31 (Feel the Love), Fiction River Special Edition #3 (Spies), Pulp House Issue #4, Fiction River #33 (Doorways to Enchantment), Stars in the Darkness and The Golden Door by Jamie Ferguson, and Obsessions by Stark Publishing. Dave was a runner up in the University of North Georgia’s 2019 Military Science Fiction Symposium for “Prisoners of War.” His self-published short story collection, Final Solutions, Stories of the Holocaust is available on Amazon and Kobo. Goodreads
Debbie Maxwell Allen: After
Debbie Maxwell Allen writes historical fiction–with a touch of the unexplainable. She explores quirky Mediterranean locations in the 18th century with moody tales of adventure and romance. She is a three-time finalist in the Pikes Peak Writers Zebulon contest. Watch for her debut series in 2021.
Debbie currently lives high in the Rockies, accompanied by her force-of-nature husband, her yin and yang cats, and plenty of visits from her children and the most adorable grandson. She travels as often as she can–preferably by train–and always with a hot cup of tea. Website
Denise Talamantez: Spiritual Walk Through Haiku
Recently, Denise Talamantez relocated to the tranquility of the Sonoran Desert, home of the giant saguaro, hummingbirds and javalina. She left behind the majestic views of the graphite Rockies, and her home of 25 years to travel a new path. She challenges herself to cultivate a garden of words to describe her connection to this beautiful chromatic desert. She breathes in the beauty surrounding her, creating another path for her Haikus. Her days are filled with writing, finishing her first novel The Tyrant’s Reach, WWII Germany – same horror, different perspective, photo journaling, and experiencing life – whether minute or grand. Twitter
Gwynne Stanker: White Fox and the Water Woman
From the jungles and savannahs of Africa to the backwoods of the Ozarks, Gwynne Stanker’s characters find themselves smack on the border of that no-man’s-land where races and cultures intersect—often violently—but where, sometimes, just sometimes, they find their common humanity. She writes in the mainstream and historical genres, but always with an element of fantasy, because she finds the real world to be a magical place. She has taken top honors in her genre in a major writing contest, and now has this short story in the Pikes Peak Writer’s anthology “Fresh Starts.” Facebook
Harper Barrow: Last Best Hope
Eternal optimist Harper Barrow is a veterinarian and mother by day, writer and roller derby player by night. Her non-fiction articles have been featured in numerous local publications and she also writes regularly about her trials of being the mother of a disabled child on her blog, which has been featured on scarymommy.com. Her fiction won third place in the NYC Midnight Short Story Contest, second place in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Contest and was published most recently in Krampus Tales: A Killer Anthology. She received her undergraduate and graduate degrees at Colorado State University and currently lives, works and plays near Denver, Colorado. Website
Ian Neligh: The Knight Errant
Ian Neligh is an award-winning journalist, author and screenplay writer. He has written two nonfiction books about the wilder aspects of the West and his fiction can be found in several anthologies including Consumed: Tales Inspired by the Wendigo. As a journalist, Neligh has flown airplanes, ridden horses and dog sleds, run with burros, dressed up as a mascot, reenacted Civil War battles, investigated corruption and hunted for lost treasure – but generally not all at the same time. Neligh helped create the Denver Post’s first podcast program and was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” for his work. Website, Twitter, Instagram
Jere Ellison: Love in the Time of Scurvy
A life-long storyteller, Jere Ellison has always enjoyed entertaining people with words, though he didn’t actually start writing those words down until he found a good English teacher in high school. Since then, he’s written six full-length manuscripts and a bunch of short stories. While the genres and flavors of these tales range from child to adult, fantasy to sci-fi, and serious to silly, they each contain one similar nugget: hope. Ellison currently is a househusband for his wildlife biologist wife, and is a CASA volunteer working with foster-care children. He also enjoys “Dungeons and Dragons” and ginger ale. Twitter, Instagram
Joshua Clark: Nolan’s Bucket List: Snow Edition
Josh is a writer, bookseller, graphic designer, and designer of the cover of Fresh Starts. He graduated with an art degree from Colorado State University-Pueblo. Josh is an active member of Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and was the former Speakers Coordinator for Pueblo West Writers. His short story, ‘The Galaxy Got a Whole Lot Bigger,’ received a Silver Honorable Mention in Q4 of the 2020 Writers of the Future Contest. He is now busy writing his next novel. Website, Twitter, Instagram
Karen Albright Lin: After Grandpa Died
Karen is a hopeless foodie, award-winning novelist, and produced screenwriter. Many of her stories are inspired by her experience marrying into a Chinese family. Food is often a subplot. Mu Shu Mac & Cheese and American Moon came out in 2020. When possible she, her husband, and their two boys travel as she researches recipes from around the world for a literary cookbook. She teaches for cruise lines and writers conferences in Colorado where she is part of a rich author community. Website, Facebook, LinkedIn
Katie Day: Someday Baby
Katie Day accidentally summoned a ghost, almost died in Scotland, ate chicken feet (yes, it was delicious), and pulled a sword from stone so she’s the rightful ruler of Britain. She has the exceptional ability to hear the world differently than most with her unique hearing loss, or in some cases not at all. She writes primarily YA urban fantasy and romance. If you want to stalk her, she currently lives in Golden with her hubby and two hyper mutts. Instagram
Kendra Griffin: five blossoms for meditation
Kendra Griffin has a passion for writing about underdogs, family relationships, social inequality, diverse ensemble casts, and teenage characters who develop strong identities despite all societal pressure to the contrary. She recently published The Pox Ward, the first in her dystopian, post-plague YA series. The sequel, Apocalypse Thoughts, arrives in February. Kendra is also a singer-songwriter and occasional poet who loves to encourage others in their creative process. Kendra teaches writing for Aims Community College, frequently hosts creative writing workshops in her community, and was the winner of the 2020 N0CO Jerry Eckert Scholarship. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon,
Laura Mahal: Scars
Laura Mahal hopes that the ghost of Ernest Hemingway will forgive her for traipsing into his hallowed territory. She often writes literary fiction, attempts comedy on occasion, and routinely slips in speculative themes. Her work appears in a wide range of publications, from Fish in Ireland to Veterans’ Voices, Still Coming Home, The Blue Mountain Review, OyeDrum, Across the Margin, Chiaroscuro, Encore, and DoveTales. Laura recently won a national essay contest for Women on Writing, is currently editing a novel for Lighthouse Writers Book Project, and is generally trying to stay out of trouble, except for “good trouble,” of course. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Lily Lapin: Fresh Starts in Two Parts
Lily Lapin is a visual artist and writer. During a commercial art career in the NYC fashion hosiery business, she discovered the art of train writing on her long commutes under the Hudson River. Her work addresses the strange, sad, complex, and funny. She makes intricate collages and dioramas that often include altered toys. To free herself from the limitations of space that art objects occupy, she also writes fantastical stories and odd personal essays. She currently lives in Colorado where fantasy inspires, as well as Zooming with her North Jersey Write Group cohorts to fine-tune her craft.
Lizz Bogaard: And Any More Would Be Inappropriate
Lizz Bogaard is a writer and editor based in New York. She graduated from Fordham University in 2019 with a degree in Creative Writing and Psychology. At Fordham, she was Managing Editor of her creative writing concentration’s student publication, The Brink. She also directed a feminist playwrights festival for which she co-wrote Common Sense, a comedy centered around an incel cult conspiring against a female writer and her lover. Since then, her short fiction has been featured in Crooked Teeth Literary Magazine, The Yew Norker, Bewildering Stories, Internet Void, and more.Currently, she works as a Writer’s Assistant for the wonderful Otis Kidwell Burger and co-hosts a weekly reading group at Westbeth Artists’ Housing. Amid the pandemic, she wrote a short (virtual) play, which was featured in Time Out New York’s “Best Live Theatre to Stream Online” as part of a virtual play festival. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Marilyn K. Moody: Blue Turf Creation Myth
Marilyn K. Moody grew up on the pancake-flat prairie of Central Illinois — and still prefers open spaces and distant horizons. Two of her recent poems are included in a 2020 Colorado Book Award winner, Rise: An Anthology of Change. She has also published poems in Progenitor Art & Literary Journal and The Great Isolation: Colorado Creativity in the Time of the Pandemic. While living in Boise, she walked often on the hallowed blue turf and accumulated enough orange and blue T-shirts to last a lifetime. She now lives near Denver. Website, LinkedIn
Megan E. Freeman: the world is ending and my dryer is broken
Megan E. Freeman writes middle-grade and young adult fiction as well as poetry for adults. Her novel-in-verse, ALONE, is available from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Megan is also a Pushcart-nominated poet, and her poetry chapbook, Lessons on Sleeping Alone, was published by Liquid Light Press. An award-winning teacher, Megan has decades of experience teaching in the arts and humanities and is nationally recognized for presenting workshops and speaking to audiences across the country. She used to live in northeast Los Angeles, central Ohio, northern Norway, and on Caribbean cruise ships. Now she lives in northern Colorado. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Michael Chandos: Butterfly
In the real world, Michael Chandos is the pseudonym for a retired rocket scientist, a licensed Private Investigator and author. He has published mystery and SF in the US and the UK. His story “West Texas Barbecue” was nominated for the Macavity award and was published in the Anthony-nominated anthology “The Eyes of Texas”. His story, “The Happy Ending”, in the online “The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine”, is a Noir mystery with a happy ending. Really. He lives in Black Forest, Colorado with two dogs, a wife and a vintage race car that doesn’t work. Facebook
Morgen Leigh: The Plan
A voracious reader as a youngster, Morgen Leigh spent entirely too much time with her nose stuck in a book and scaring the hell out of friends and family with her unsettling, dark tales. Her fiction and creative non-fiction have appeared in numerous magazines and e-zines over the years and her first novel, bloodbrothers, was published in 2020. When not writing, she can be found teaching at the University of Colorado and leading weekly adaptive chair yoga classes. She is currently finishing a second novel and writing a memoir. Morgen writes and breathes in Colorado but threatens to move to Tucson every winter. Website, Facebook, Instagram,
Nikia Hunt: Agony in Ages
Nikia Hunt is a native Nebraskan who once wandered too far from home and ended up in Colorado. Her muse fell in love with the mountainscape and the nature within it and she has been writing and teaching “with a view” ever since.
Heavily influenced by everything gothic and twisted, Nikia’s work is generally centered in finding literary beauty in everyday life, especially in the more macabre and sometimes traumatizing parts. Along with reality-based memoir, she focuses largely on fantasy fiction, young adult fantasy, and darkly expressive poetry. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Sarah Reilly Pancoast: One-way Ticket
A believer that everyone has a tale to tell, Sarah Reilly Pancoast loves to spend time writing out people’s stories. She used to focus on the real world, but now prefers her imaginary ones. The native upstate New Yorker spent too brief a time in Colorado, but Sarah enjoys all the traveling she does with her family. When she is not writing, Sarah is teaching, cooking, travelling and inventing backstories for people she meets along the way. Sarah’s work has also been featured in the anthology Remnants and Resolutions. Facebook,
Shelley Kitchura Nelson: The Sea Beyond
Whether observing the miles ahead of her or exploring a memory, Shelley Kitchura Nelson is forthright in bringing life’s passing nuances to the page. She chooses both simple and extraordinary moments to convey the worth of noticing what happens along the way. She strives to make her writing a place readers want to return to, and remember how they felt when they first read it. Shelley currently lives on a small farm built on the rock of the Colorado foothills. Her poetry has been published in Pilgrimage and New Millennium Writings.
Stephanie Amedeo: I Got You, Babe
Stephanie Amedeo once stood, nine years old, in library stacks, an unread copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe open in her hands. Since then, she’s been a reading-addicted-bookworm. Going on to read all the Narnia books, when returning the last one to the librarian, she was devastated that there were no more. Then, she had to become a writer and finish the series. However, life is what happens when you’re busy planning something else. Meantime, she obtained a doctorate in sociology, married, had children, taught college. Now, here she is keeping on keeping on– writing her story. Website, Facebook
Tami Veldura: Personal Best
Tami Veldura is an enby/aro/ace author of queer fiction. Their pronouns are they/them/Mx. They write fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal stories that push genre limits. Their work has been nominated for the M/M Goodreads Reader Choice Awards and they have been nominated and placed in the Rainbow Awards. Website, Patreon
Terry Odell: My Name is Marjorie
Although Terry Odell had no aspirations of becoming a writer until long after receiving her AARP card, she’s now the author of over thirty novels, novellas, and short stories. She writes mysteries and romantic suspense, but calls them all “Mysteries With Relationships.” Her awards include the Silver Falchion, the International Digital Awards, and the HOLT Medallion. A Los Angeles native, she moved to Florida where she spent thirty years in the heat and humidity. She now enjoys life with her husband and rescue dog in the cooler, dryer climate of the Colorado Rockies, where she watches wildlife from her windows. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, Bookbub
T.R. Kerby: No Service
T. R. Kerby has led a life of high adventure and travel to exotic places… ok, not so much, but she has worn a lot of hats. She has been a fry cook, a trail guide, a horse trainer, and a veterinary technician as well as other less interesting things. Her weaknesses include chocolate and rescuing lost souls, mostly animals, but sometimes people. She currently lives in the Rocky Mountains with some of her rescues including her husband, two dogs, and a herd of horses. She brings her varied life experiences to the table in her books and short stories. Website, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, BookBub
Tushar Jain: On Illness
Tushar Jain is an Indian poet and writer. He is the winner of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, the Raed Leaf India Poetry Award, the Poetry with Prakriti Prize, the DWL Short Story Prize, the Toto Funds the Arts Award for Creative Writing and has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. His first play ‘Reading Kafka in Verona’ was long-listed for the Hindu Metroplus Playwright Award. His work has appeared in various literary magazines and journals such as Aaduna, Papercuts, The Madras Mag, Vayavya, and others. His debut collection of poetry, Shakespeare in the Parka, was published in 2018.
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