Monday, May 2, 2016

May Letter From the Editor

I’m writing my May letter from the editor on April 28th, and as I do, I’m looking out the window at SNOW! Snow is welcome in Colorado especially during the windy days that take over our city and state and contribute to Fire Season. I never knew there was such a season until a few years ago when Waldo Fire and Black Forest fires slapped their unwelcome presence at our doors. The snow is also a needed reminder that this too will pass. We just have to get through it.

Sort of like writing. Whether it’s the book from hell, or getting our tenth rejection on a manuscript we feel is our best work ever, we have no choice but to persist. Else like a fire, negativity consumes us.

I had a blast at the 2016 Pikes Peak Writers Conference in April, and came away with a pragmatic look at things. I listened to inspirational speakers, witnessed great storytelling in the Read and Critiques, and saw the excitement--and nervousness--on people’s faces. Still, through it all, there was no escaping that publishing is a business; it’s hard and it’s always in flux. But through it all I came away with the knowledge that staying in this business is worth it.

I loved listening to Jeff Lindsay, creator of Dexter, talk about his moments of despair as he felt his career sinking. Laughed out loud after hearing where the idea for a serial killer taking out other serial killers came from; thinking this guy has it all, then hearing him admit that after all his success, he still struggles. Does he quit? Not hardly.

As I sat in on the panels and workshops of people like Kevin J. Anderson, Wendy Corsi Staub, Joe R. Lansdale, and Rachel Caine, among others, I came away with the knowledge that tenacity means everything. I also came away with the knowledge that I am not any of these people, nor should I try to be. One powerful statement that stood out was from Joe R. Lansdale who said, “Harry Potter is written. Get over it.”

Honestly, I’m not too worried about PPW members. Remember, I sat in on the pitch sessions and Read and Critiques. Here, I witnessed exceptional variety and none of the work remotely resembled J.K. Rowling. I also observed something else—camaraderie. That’s something we can’t get from attending a yearly conference. That’s something developed by attending the monthly functions offered by Pikes Peak Writers.     

Okay, I get it. Failure and rejection are part of this business. Kind of like Fire Season. But look out the window a short time later past the burnt embers and what do we see? SNOW! What did I take away from the conference? The business of writing is cyclical. Tenacity is important, but so is persistence and belief in ourselves. Further, the volunteer staff of Pikes Peak Writers did an outstanding job! Raising my electronic mouse to all of you.

Conference is over, and it's time to move on. Check out our excellent articles in May!   

About the author: Donnell Ann Bell is the managing editor for Writing from the Peak, the coordinator for the monthly Open Critique held on the first Wednesday of every month, and one of Pikes Peak Writer's board members at largeShe is a best selling romantic suspense and mystery author. To learn more about her books, find her at



  1. Beautifully said, Donnelle. We have to persist, we have to keep the faith, but we don't have to do it alone. Members of PPW came to my rescue after the Waldo Canyon Fire, and they continue to encourage, educate and bolster me. They remind me all the time what grit is about: never giving up and never hesitating to ask for help if we need it.

  2. It was great seeing you down there. Face to a name is nice, especially when working with such a gracious and appreciative lady like you. Karen

  3. Ah, thanks, Karen, and it's my privilege to work with you and read your outstanding work.


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