Friday, December 19, 2014

Sweet Success! Matt Bille

By Kathie Scrimgeour

Matt Bille’s adult horror/dark fantasy, The Doleman (ASIN: B00NQIVFQQ, 237 pages), was released in paperback and e-book on October 15, 2014, by Wolfsinger Publications. The book is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other online retailers. Visit for more information.

The Dolmen is a mix of old-fashioned horror and police procedural that begins with the illegal importation of an entire megalithic tomb from Britain for a private Los Angeles museum. When attorney Julie Sperling's journalist fiancée is killed after researching the subject, she calls on ex-lover and science/paranormal writer Greg Preston for help. Greg thinks of legendary creatures called korrigans that established nests in dolmens. Surely such things cannot be based on reality, on science? Yet they are... and for Greg and Julie, the City of Angels will become the gate to Hell....

Matt Bille is an author in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is a naturalist, historian, science writer, and defense consultant. He is the lead author of the NASA-published history The First Space Race: Launching the World’s First Satellites (2004). He wrote two books on mystery animals, Rumors of Existence (1995) and Shadows of Existence (2006), and is working on his third, Seas, Sharks, and Serpents. He has been a freelance contributor to reference books including Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and a longtime member of the PPW. He has appeared on the History and Discovery channels and blogs on the latest science and technology news at

We love to hear of fellow Pikes Peak Writers' Sweet Successes, including story acceptances, winning contests, getting published and book signings. Please email Kathie Scrimgeour at if you've got a Sweet Success you'd like to share.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Do You Give Books? – A Reader University Post

By Stacy S. Jensen

This is the twelfth post in a series of 12 ways to help authors (and your writing) by reading.

This can be another form of “buying,” but I see it as a little different.
Consider giving a book:
  • to all ages.
  • for all occasions.
  • as love notes.
As a parent to a toddler, I get invited to birthday parties. If I know about them in advance, I’ll buy books at writer’s conferences and get them signed by the author as a personal gift for the birthday boy or girl. I’ve noticed these gifts aren’t a favorite. They don’t make noise or have parts to be lost. One can hope they bring joy at a quieter time after the birthday cake and decorations are long gone. My son isn’t old enough to mind at the moment. So, until he protests — books will be our gift of choice.
Books make a nice hostess gift, too. They can drink up the words later while relaxing.
Books make nice holiday gifts whether they have a religious theme or not. My son received a nice Easter Story book last year in a basket from his grandmother.
Books as love notes? You may have provided a book love note without realizing it. You give a book that touched you in some way. I enjoy sharing The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow. While sad, to me, it’s a book about living, and worth giving to others.
Giving books obviously helps authors with sales, but the act also helps writers, who share a love for a book that touched her, moved her, or made her laugh out loud.
How do you give books?
Thanks for following along with the Reader University 12-part series. This wasn’t intended as a reading challenge, but the series kept me focused on reading and helping authors.
(This post originally appeared on Stacy S. Jensen's blog on March 24, 2014.)

About the Author: Stacy S.Jensen worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for two decades. Today, she writes picture books and revises a memoir manuscript. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and toddler.

Monday, December 15, 2014

I Am Not Tyler Durden - The Secrets of Aaron Michael Ritchey

By Aaron Michael Ritchey

I am not Tyler Durden. If anything, I’m far more Ignatius J. Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces, not the revolutionary from Fight Club. Nor am I very Chuck Palahniuk, but again, John Kennedy Toole could be my brother.

So long story short, was giving away books for cheap, cheap, cheap, and so I bought a couple of books, and yes, one book I bought was a story about a guy on the edge, starting up fight clubs to combat his middle-class ennui. The other? About an obese hypocrite who causes chaos and discord wherever he goes due to his pathetic social skills and bombastic tendencies. And yet, Ignatius J. Reilly does have his theology and geometry, taste and decency.

I’ve been pining because reading has become a chore for me, and I used to love to read. But thank God, these two books have sparked my imagination.
I loved A Confederacy of Dunces and Fight Club, but reading them made me bristle at my own choices in my writing career because if you want to know a secret about me, a secret the world must never know, read to the end. I reveal all.

Unlike Tyler Durden, I am not a fighter. In my heart of hearts, I am like Ignatius J. Reilly and his creator, John Kennedy Toole. Toole wrote this book, shopped it around, was summarily rejected, and then killed himself. It was through the efforts of his mother and Walker Percy that the book was published and went on to win the Pulitzer.
I started writing half-way seriously when I was 24 years old, March of 1994, and those opening pages would become my first finished novel, The Dream of the Archer. Part play, part postmodern treatise, totally cross-genre. Oh, it had everything I loved about books: battle scenes, word play, demons, princesses, self-aware characters, meta-literature, all of that. I worked on that one book for five years. No one could read it. Tyler Durden would have killed people to get readers. I ran away. I went to the movies. I ate Paradise hot dogs and fretted. 

What if. What if I had stuck with that original book, my original passions, the soap I fashioned from the fat of my minutes and the flesh of my life? It’s impossible to know because the reality is. I don’t have another Aaron in a control group to follow me around for the double-blind testing—no other me to play out that the “what if?”
For the narrator of Fight Club, Tyler Durden was the great “what if”?

For me, I made a decision to write more marketable books. I wanted to get an ISBN. I wanted to get published. I chose what I thought would get me the big book contract and I pursued it. I am published. I have not one but two ISBNs. With a third, fourth, fifth, sixth coming in the near future.
I am proud of the books I am publishing for they do have theology and geometry, taste and decency. Oh, but the Tyler Durden in me keeps asking….what if? What if? What if?

What if I had hit that guy at that writers conference who told me I couldn’t write cross-genre books, that I shouldn’t write literary novels? What if I had hit that guy, as hard as I could, right in the face?
I didn’t, so I don’t know.

The secret about me? Okay, I’ll tell you, but you can’t tell anyone else, okay? I love hardcore, serious literature. When I read, I like to read dark, deep, and literary. Ideally, we should write the books we most love to read, so I should be writing hardcore literary novels.
Shhh…don’t tell anyone. 

But do you know what? At the same time, I love swords and machine guns and magic spells and vampires. I like taking chances, grand chances, that a lot of times don’t work out.
I can’t be Tyler Durden, but I can leave my mother’s house with Ignatius, and we can go out into the world, and yes, I will be ridiculous, I will be loud, and I will fail, but if I am to fail, I won’t fail by playing it safe.

I’m going to write genre books with a literary bent. I am going to write across genres, though everyone tells me not to, and I’m going to take chances and try crazy things because there are no rules.

And I’ll be dead soon. I don’t want to leave behind half-hearted books that I wrote only for the market in some mercenary pursuit of other people’s praise and dollar bills.

No. I want to write Aaron Michael Ritchey novels. Part genre trope, part dark literary, all me.

Aaron Michael Ritchey is the author of Long Live the Suicide King, a finalist in the Reader’s Favorite contest. Kirkus Reviews calls the story “a compelling tale of teenage depression handled with humor and sensitivity.” His debut novel, The Never Prayer, was also a finalist in the Colorado Gold contest. His forthcoming works include a new young adult novel from Staccato Publishing and a six book YA sci-fi/western series from Kevin J. Anderson’s WordFire Press. In shorter fiction, his G.I. Joe inspired novella was an Amazon bestseller in Kindle Worlds and his story, “The Dirges of Percival Lewand” was nominated for a Hugo. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two goddesses posing as his daughters.  
For more about him, his books, and how to overcome artistic angst, visit He’s on Facebook as Aaron Michael Ritchey and he tweets - @aaronmritchey.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quote of the Week and Week to Come

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."

Jane Austen (December 16, 1775 - July 18, 1817)

Pride and Prejudice
Sense and Sensibility

This week on Writing from the Peak:

I Am Not Tyler Durden        Aaron Michael Ritchey

Do You Give Books?              Stacy S. Jensen

Sweet Success! Matt Bille    Kathie Scrimgeour

Friday, December 12, 2014

Sweet Success! JL Fields

By Kathie Scrimgeour

JL Fields’ cookbook, Vegan Pressure Cooking; Beans, Grains, and One-Pot Meals in Minutes (ISBN 9781592336449, 176 pages), will be released January 2, 2015, by Fair Winds Press.

Say goodbye to long cooking and preparation times. With a pressure cooker, you can cook filling, nutritious meals in under an hour and with little mess or cleanup. With Vegan Pressure Cooking, you'll learn all of the ins and outs of pressure cooking - including why there's no need to be scared of trying something new! From choosing a pressure cooker to understanding the ingredients that are perfect for pressure cooking - including beans, grains, hearty vegetables, and more - author JL Fields will walk through all the ropes so you can start creating delicious, everyday meals in no time.

JL Fields is a vegan lifestyle coach & educator, Food for Life instructor, personal chef, career coach, and a corporate consultant offering wellness training, brand representation, and strategic planning services. She is the author of Vegan Pressure Cooking (Fair Winds Press, January 2015), co-author of Vegan for Her: The Woman’s Guide to Being Healthy and Fit on a Plant-Based Diet (Da Capo Lifelong Books, July 2013), contributor to Running, Eating, Thinking: A Vegan Anthology (Lantern Books, May 2014), writes the monthly vegan dining review for the Colorado Springs Gazette and is a food, health and wellness freelance writer.

We love to hear of fellow Pikes Peak Writers' Sweet Successes, including story acceptances, winning contests, getting published and book signings. Please email Kathie Scrimgeour at if you've got a Sweet Success you'd like to share.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

My Favorite Things

By Jaxine Daniels

Hello, Campers.

As the holidays approach, I though I’d peruse my Wish Lists, my goals, and some of my favorite things. 

3 things I want for Christmas:
  • 1000 Readers for the Revive1775 Blog 
  • A movie deal for either of my series 
  • A blurb/recommendation from Diana Gabaldon 
3 writing goals for 2015: 
  • Start saying “no” so I have more time for the stuff that really matters. 
  • Read more fiction. I truly believe that you learn more from reading fiction than by reading books on writing. 
  • Finish two novels in ‘15 
3 of my favorite books on writing:
  • Story by Robert McGee 
  • Stein on Writing by Sol Stein 
  • How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey 
3 freebies you might check out:
3 Cool gift ideas for writers (some to ask for, some to give):
  • Scrivener – not just for novel writing. I keep all my blog posts in Scrivener 
  • A “gift certificate” to one of Margie Lawson or Mary Buckham’s next online classes 
  • A subscription to the Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus - 
3 of my favorite resource books: 
  • The Synonym Finder by J. I. Rodale 
  • The Enneagram Made Easy by Baron and Wagele 
  • The Complete book of Astrology by Caitlin Johnstone 
3 great writing quotes I have taped to my monitor:

“I just started in where I could sort of see something happening, and wrote. The next day I wrote some more. Then I couldn’t see any more happening there, so I wrote something else I could see. I kept this, and as I wrote tons of these little pieces, I got a sort of feel for the overall shape of the story, and could start to stick the pieces together and move them around.”
- Diana Gabaldon, whose first novel, one she wrote because she wanted to see if she could actually write a novel, became a huge best seller. 

"One can feel sad or happy or bored or cross in a thousand ways: the abstract adjective says almost nothing. The precise gesture nails down the one feeling right for the moment. This is what is meant when writing teachers say that one should 'show,' not 'tell.' And this, it should be added, is all the writing teacher means. Good writers may 'tell' about almost anything in fiction except the character's feelings. One may tell the reader that the character went to private school (one need not show a scene at the private school if the scene has no importance for the rest of the narrative), or one may tell the reader that the character hates spaghetti; but with rare exceptions the character's feelings must be demonstrated: fear, love, excitement, doubt, embarrassment, despair become real only when they take the form of events-action (or gesture), dialogue, or physical reaction to setting. Detail is the lifeblood of fiction."
- John Gardner

"Scenes are what give the reader the experience of the action of the story and the perspectives of the main characters. Without scenes, the story would be heard and not experienced-- told but not shown. They are the generators of plot change and character development. And they're what the reader remembers long after she's forgotten the names of the characters or the details of the plot-the vivid moments of story captured in action."
- Alicia Rasley

1 Parting shot:

Challenges do not build character - they only reveal it. True for writers as we encounter obstacles that block our way. And true for our characters.

Until next month, BIC-HOK (Butt in Chair – Hands on Keyboard). 


About the Author:  Jaxine Daniels is a published romance writer and freelance copywriter. She wears many hats including EMT, CPR instructor, and Grammy. She is currently working on a contemporary romance series set in ranching country Colorado and a historical romance set in 1775 Massachusetts. She lives in Colorado Springs, belongs to PPW, RMFW and is a member of the Professional Writer's Alliance.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday Gifts for Writers

By Ashley Hodges Bazer

The holiday season is interesting around my house. Not only do we celebrate the traditional Christmas, we have three birthdays from mid-December through New Year’s Day. Needless to say, shopping…or even just planning gifts…can get a little crazy and overwhelming.

I’m one for more practical gifts. I have plenty of trinkets. (I once heard someone call them dust catchers. I immediately purged my collection.) There’s really very little I want, but there are some things I need. As a writer, I would find these particularly helpful.

1. Time. Finding time to write is never easy. Somehow, I manage to pack my schedule full of other important things…like momming, work, Facebook. The gift of time is invaluable!

2. An Endless Cache of Story Ideas. Admit it. Sometimes you get stuck. Either the idea fizzles out, or your character takes the story in such a different direction than you initially planned that you have no clue where to go. I sure could use a stash of ideas.

3. The Right Word Thesaurus. Yes, we’ve all been told to avoid thesauri. I happen to enjoy reading mine because I’m geeky like that. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a guide to the exact word you’re searching for and to be able to find it with ease?

4. Automatic Refill and Warming Coffee Mugs. I prefer decaf myself. Too often, though, I’ll be picking away at my keyboard, and the last ounce of my writing fuel turns to ice. Let’s keep that mug full and piping hot!

5. The Balance of Quiet. This goes along with time. Finding a cozy, quiet spot to write is necessary. And sometimes, you need music or background noise for inspiration. Package that balance, and you have a perfect gift!

6. Brain Flash Drive. For those times when your brain gets going way faster than your fingers can type. Just plug this baby into your USB (Uploadable Swift Brain) port, and think away! Transfer the brilliance directly to a Word or Scrivener document.

7. Marketing Genie. For those who are published, this little gem is a must-have! Just rub the lamp and stand back as the Marketing Genie goes to work, mastering your social media, live events, and book sales. See you on the NYT Bestseller list!

8. Enthusiastic Beta Readers. Tired of asking your friends and family to read your work? Or are they tired of you asking? Well, have no fear! For just one low price, as well as shipping and handling, you can have your very own beta reader.

9. Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

10. Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015. Sure, the other presents are just wishful thinking. But this one is definitely a gift that will empower you for your writing journey. Compared to other writing conferences, the cost is minimal (only $395!), and you get so much out of it! I’ve attended the last two years and loved every moment. There’s also a payment plan option (Announcer Voice: “Only 5 easy payments of $79!”), which makes the conference very affordable.

“But wait! There’s more!”

With the conference, you’ll learn from top-notch industry professionals. Whether you’re a novice writer or you have twenty books on the shelf, there’s something for you. If you choose to do so, you can meet privately with an agent or editor to present your work (Query 1-on-1) or share a page of your writing (Read and Critique). You’ll even get to dine with these folks!

So make holiday shopping easy for your family this year. Request your registration to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2015, and get ready to Choose Your Writing Adventure!

About the Author: Ashley Hodges Bazer is the author of the sci-fi series, The Crown's Call. She’s often decked out in bellbottoms and grooving out on the lighted dance floor. Okay, not really, but she does have a thing for the BeeGees. She lives in Colorado with her husband and three children. After earning her bachelor’s degree in theatrical stage management from Arizona State University, she went on to work for Disneyland in that capacity. A love affair with books led her to work for several different bookstores. Currently a producer for an international daily radio program, she’s learning to balance working, writing, and momming duties. When she’s not writing, she’s crocheting or belting out Broadway show tunes. And she's a real duchess! Learn more about Ashley and her upcoming books at