Monday, June 9, 2014

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2014 - Gone But Not Forgotten

By Tena Stetler 

Yep, I survived Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2014, but barely. I was so tired when I got home that I almost fell asleep in the shower and really don’t remember crawling into bed. 

Now, I have so many things on my to-do-list that I don’t know where to start. I need to spend one hour on marketing, according to Becky Clark. So I re-coded the slideshow on the first page of my website so it faded correctly. Got to make a good impression. Then I wrote out a marketing plan. 

In Linda Rohrbough’s workshop, Turn Your Passion into Profit, we were encouraged to step out of our comfort zone with people and possible contacts for work. She reminded us that if you don’t ask, the answer is always no. So what do you have to lose? This morning I made a list of contacts for freelancing opportunities and will make my way through the list this week. Still more work to do. But it’s a start. 

Then according to Jennifer Lovett, I should have at least 30 posts on my blog. That’s only 26 posts short. I guess I’m a bit behind. But, this one makes it only 25. Headed in the right direction.

During the Read & Critique, Kris Neri gave wonderful suggestions I put to use today to make the beginning of my work in progress pop. Another participant in that Read and Critique session came up after it was over and told me she really liked my story. I can’t tell you how pleased I felt. Yet, another participant stopped me as I was leaving on Sunday afternoon with a creative idea for my Cozy Mystery, which I will be incorporating. Thank you! 

Thursday’s Prequel was murder! Literally. A crime scene was set up complete with an almost dead body. Professionals were present from the  EMTs, FBI, CSI and a profiler to walk us through their responsibilities at a crime scene. It was very interesting and a bit disconcerting.   
Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes of the Killion Group turned up the heat with their sexy book cover designs. (Whew!)  They have 21 years experience in marketing, communications and design. For those self-publishing, they can format your book and create a stunning website.

In the workshop, This May be a Dumb Question, But.. Darby Karchut answered all our questions, fearlessly. She’s a seventh grade teacher, you know. She described the road to publication and all of its potholes, how to make your manuscript the best you can, the secret to crafting that tricky query letter and, finally, promoting the heck out of your book.

Bonnie Hagan’s heartfelt tribute to the writers that we’ve lost and to those whose homes were destroyed in the recent wildfires brought tears of sadness. Tears of laughter were on tap when  MC Aaron Ritchey took the stage with his effervescent personality and never ending wit, sometimes egged on by other members of the Pikes Peak Writers staff. You know who you are.

Lunch with Hank Phillippi Ryan on Saturday was a blast. We enjoyed a rousing discussion with other writers at that table about marketing, writing tools, and personal experiences, which became a learning experience in itself. Did you know they still burn books in the south? Hank’s Keynote speech on Saturday night was insightful and inspiring, as well as entertaining. 

Each of the other keynote speakers brought something different to the stage. Gail Carriger brought Steampunk awareness and inspired a Steampunk costume contest. I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what Steampunk was, but now there is no doubt in my mind. Jim C. Hines inspired gender bender cover poses among other things and, well, Chuck Wendig left us with a sense of accomplishment as he closed out the conference.

Overall, it was my best conference yet. I caught up with old friends, made a slew of new ones and soaked in the atmosphere. Yes, the air is rare up here and so is such an extraordinary conference. See ya’ll next year!

About the Author:  Tena Stetler is a freelance writer. When the sun disappears behind the Majestic Rocky Mountains, she can be found at her computer surrounded by vampires, demons, witches, and other paranormal creatures vying for her attention, as she writes Paranormal Romance and Cozy Mysteries. The everyday world is mundane, but sprinkle a little magic and you have fantastic.  She’s also written articles for a variety of magazines on subjects from traveling with pets and raising and training parrots to installing sprinkler systems. She shares her life with her husband, a parrot, a dog, and a 40-year-old box turtle. When not sitting behind a computer, she enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, and whitewater rafting. Her website is 



  1. I'm still working on my list too!! It was a fabulous conference and I'm looking forward to 2015 (I hope I have my list completed by then).

    1. Yep, those to-do-lists are a killer, but I am still muddling through with a fair amount of success.
      I am determined to have this list completed because I know after the 2015 conference, I'll have a whole new to-do list! LOL Looking forward to it!!

  2. Great post, Tena! I loved hearing your conference highlights. Got to get working down my own list. : )


    1. Moving forward with my to-do list successfully. I truly enjoyed working with you on the ballroom decorations. Put me down for 2015 to help.


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