Friday, May 26, 2017

Sweet Success Celebrates Chris Goff

Congratulations to Chris Goff and her second International Thriller Red Sky, which is due out June 13th. The second in the Jordan series, New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter says, “Breathtaking suspense, do not miss Red Sky.”

About Red Sky:  When People’s Republic Flight 91 crashes in northeastern Ukraine with a U.S. diplomatic agent on board, U.S. Diplomatic Security Service Agent Raisa Jordan is sent to investigate. The diplomatic agent was escorting a prisoner home from Guangzhou, China, along with sensitive documents, and it quickly becomes apparent that the plane was intentionally downed. Was it to silence the two Americans on board? With more lives and international relations hanging in the balance, Jordan races to stop a new Cold War.

The launch signing for Red Sky is scheduled for June 15th at 7 p.m. at the Tattered Cover-Colfax in Denver.

Red Sky is also available to Pre-order through your local bookstore, or online wherever books are sold.

And this just in: Crooked Lane Books is down-pricing copies of Chris's first in the Raisa Jordan series, Dark Waters from now until the launch of Red Sky. Digital copies on sale for $1.99. 

#1 New York Times Mark Sullivan calls Dark Waters,  "Whip-smart, informed, and tightly woven, Chris Goff crushes the genre in her debut effort."   

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Author Intrusion: What Is It? Am I Doing It?

Want to create memorable characters? Let them speak for themselves. In our current social and political climate, I thought it was time for a reminder...

By: Donnell Ann Bell
In real life, one of the things I detest is someone with a foul mouth. I grew up in a family who didn’t use profanity, and the times someone did sent shock waves through the house.  Seismologists in Boulder thought it was an earthquake—no, it was just someone in my house using an expletive.
So if I have this mindset, why  did I paint my protagonist in THE PAST CAME HUNTING in her teens as somebody my cop hero described as, “using language that would make a cellblock proud?” And why does my ex-con in the book say a word I absolutely despise?
Because I write fiction, and those characters aren’t me. Nor do my characters hold my belief system. They have their own values–or lack thereof–as well as completely different backgrounds than me.  That’s so important to remember when writing a book. If the character doesn’t behave true to his or character, the reader may not be able to pinpoint what’s wrong, but chances are what he dislikes is the author butting into the story.
What is author intrusion? It’s putting something in the book that yanks the reader out; that stops the reader enough to wonder why is this in here or why did the author hold back?
For instance, say you’re a right wing Republican or a left wing Democrat, and you have not set up the character’s political belief system. From out of the blue, because the author is focused on something that happened in the news that day, you have your protagonist say something about his constitutional right to bear arms or how natural gas drilling is destroying the environment.  If these topics end up in your book, and you haven’t established that your character is for or against these issues–that is author intrusion. What’s more, shame on any editor who doesn’t catch these and tell the author either set this up or take it out.
A few years ago, I read an inspirational romance in which the story opened with a good looking guy walking on scene.  I never was clear why, perhaps the author wanted to ensure the reader knew she was reading an inspirational.  But the moment the heroine saw this man, she started praying.  Our heroine hadn’t even talked to the guy, but to ensure she didn’t lust after him, she said, “Dear Lord, help me.  Save me from myself,” etc. etc.

Huh? Does that sound realistic? If the guy had approached her, and she was smitten, a slight prayer might have been in order. But they hadn’t even met. I felt the set up was completely wrong.  What’s more, I felt that author was intruding on my story. Yes, when I pay money for a book, it becomes MY story.
Source: Pixabay
An ability to eliminate author intrusion is what separates a good storyteller from the mediocre. If you have a critique partner you respect, and he tells you he thinks your protagonist/antagonist is acting out of character, give that CP chocolate. Then take a look at what’s bothering him. You never want your research to show, or be guilty of author intrusion.

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 

Monday, May 22, 2017

My Very Brief, Not Terribly Witty Synopsis of the 2017 PPWC

By: Darby Karchut

You know how they say Disney World is the happiest place on earth? Well, it had nothing
Source Pixabay
over the Marriott during the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Silver Jubilee Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The April 27-30 conference included:
  • Sessions: designed for writers of all levels and genres, the workshops were presented by an outstanding faculty of authors, agents, and editors, and other professionals in the publishing industry
  • Query 1-On-1: a private appointment with an agent or editor, who read and gave feedback on a writer’s query letter
  • Read & Critique: small groups where writers received feedback on their first two pages from authors, editors, or agents
 Additional goodies for attendees were:
  • Author headshots
  • Keynotes speakers at mealtimes
  • Opportunities to rub elbows with some literary legends
  • Book signings galore
  • A chance to hang out with old and new writer-y friends
This year, the most excellent folks at the Conference (all hail Laura Hayden, Charise Simpson, MB Partlow, and the entire conference staff—superheros, each and every one) tried something new. In the past, the book signing was held in one large room, with the entire faculty signing their books at the same time. This year, the signings were staggered throughout the three days, and took place in the lobby near the fireplace, with no more than four authors signing at one time. Certainly, a more relaxed and cozy location, and the set-up gave authors a better chance to visit with fans. I liked this arrangement much better, and I hope the Powers That Be keep it for next year.

Some of the personal highlights of this year’s conference for me:Teaching a session about the lessons we’ve learned in our writing careers with MK Meredith.

  • Participating in a YA Panel with FT Bradley, Laura DiSilverio, and Darynda Jones
  • Laughing all the way through my author photo shoot with Jared Hagan
  • Mugging for the camera with Kevin Hearne
  • Catching up with old friends
  • Lunching with my SCBWI protégée
  • Working my way through the truffle bar in the Green Room
  • Cheering for every “the agent/editor requested pages!”
  • Thumbing my nose at the weather. “You call this a storm?”
  • Absorbing all the positive energy from fellow word wranglers
  • Knowing that next year’s conference is already in the planning stage
 So, well done, Pikes Peak Writers, for a shiny-bright Silver Anniversary Conference. Here’s to another 25 years!

About the Author: Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter.  A native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy writing for children, teens, and adults. She is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quote of the Week and the Week to Come

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only se as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." ~ E. L. Doctorow

E. L. Doctorow

Edgar Lawrence "E. L." Doctorow (January 6, 1931 – July 21, 2015) was an American novelist, editor, and professor, best known internationally for his works of historical fiction. He has been described as one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century.

He wrote twelve novels, three volumes of short fiction and a stage drama. They included the award-winning novels Ragtime (1975), Billy Bathgate (1989), and The March (2005). These, like many of his other works, placed fictional characters in recognizable historical contexts, with known historical figures, and often used different narrative styles. His stories were recognized for their originality and versatility, and Doctorow was praised for his audacity and imagination.

This week on Writing from the Peak:

May 22     Darby Karchut's Synopsis of the 2017 Pikes Peak Writer's Conference

May 24     Author Intrusion -- Am I Doing it?  Donnell Ann Bell

May 26     Sweet Success Celebrates Chris Goff

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sweet Success Celebrates Agatha Winner Cynthia Kuhn

Congratulations to Author Cynthia Kuhn

About the Agatha: Agatha Awards are given out at the annual Malice Domestic conference held in Bethesda, Maryland: "The Agatha Awards honor the 'traditional mystery.' That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others" (Malice Domestic website). Categories include Best Contemporary Novel, Best Historical Novel, Best First Novel, Best Nonfiction, Best Short Story, Best Children's/Young Adult.

About the book: English professor Lila Maclean is thrilled about her new job at prestigious Stonedale University until she finds one of her colleagues dead. She soon learns that everyone, from the chancellor to the detective working the case, believes Lila—or someone she is protecting—may be responsible for the horrific event, so she assigns herself the task of identifying the killer.
More attacks on professors follow, the only connection a curious symbol found at each of the crime scenes. Putting her scholarly skills to the test, Lila gathers evidence, but her search is complicated by an unexpected nemesis, a suspicious investigator, and an ominous secret society. Rather than earning an “A” for effort, she receives a threat featuring the mysterious emblem and must act quickly to avoid failing her assignment…and becoming the next victim.

Bio: Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series, which includes The Semester of Our Discontent and The Art of Vanishing. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama, PhD and other publications.She is professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Your To-Do List After the First Draft

By: Jason Evans

Last month we talked about actually writing your book. If you’ve followed my advice month to month you might be disappointed to realize your masterpiece isn’t done by now.

Don’t beat yourself up. It takes some people years to finish their first draft. Give yourself some time and do it the right way. (But not too much time.)

Juggling plots, character motivations, settings, and themes is a difficult process for even experienced writers. The best way to complete that book of yours is to write a little every day. Start with a page, then try to write two pages. Write six days in a row. Follow that up with a word count goal to make every day. Make writing a habit. Eventually you will have a completed draft. When that day happens, believe me, you’ll be relieved and happy. Of course, you’ll then ask yourself a question.

Now what?

That what today’s blog is all about. What should you do next?

Now even though this is the historical fiction blog on Pikes Peak Writers, please know that the following suggestions apply to all writers of fiction. Sci-fi, Speculative, Romance, etc. Follow these steps once your first draft is complete.

Here are the top five things you should do once your manuscript, or W.I.P. (Work in Progress,) is finished.

1.) Celebrate!
You wrote a dag-blame book! Congratulations. Many people can’t say that. People say they want to write a book all the time. How many even write a line of that book, let alone an entire novel? Not many. How many get 50 pages, or even 25 before quitting? You didn’t. You stuck it out.
Tell everybody you know. Go on social media, tell your in-laws, your kids’ teachers, and the mailman. Bake a cake, or buy some (cheap,) champagne. You deserve to celebrate.

2.) Rest
Now that you’ve written this sure-to-be best seller, walk away from it. I’m serious. Walk Away.

When I was in college, I learned to write a paper well before the deadline, then put it away for a couple of days in order to see it with fresh eyes. Doing this helped me see the faults in my writing. Stuff I thought was pithy or clever turned out to be boorish or just blame awful. A few days gave me some healthy distance so I could give my writing a fair critique. In the end, that distance helped me strengthen structure and clarify arguments. I figured if a paragraph didn’t make sense to me after a few days, it certainly wouldn’t make sense to my professors.  

How long should you take? I would say at least two weeks, but anywhere from a month to six months seems right to me. Now I know many people like to submit pages to conference contests, or query during an agent’s submission period, so maybe six months is too long. I completely understand. Just give yourself some down time away from the keyboard.

3.) Join a Critique Group
Here is where things get scary. I have hermit tendencies at times. I know getting out of the house and wearing pants seems like a lot of effort, but trust me, the effort is worth it.  
Joining a critique group can have several benefits to your writing life. Chiefly, they will read excerpts of your W.I.P., and give you gentle critiques. (Why gentle? I’ll get to that in a moment.) Second, you will develop an eye for good writing, as you will be reading other people’s W.I.P.’s. More importantly, you’ll learn why and how a story can go south, by reading other people’s works. Just the act of reading fiction critically will help you become a better writer. Finally, those critique partners, those people who have seen your worst and your best, will become your writing family. They will mourn, laugh, grouse, and celebrate your writing life. They’ll be your inklings.

4.) Get a good book on Grammar.
A lot of you may not have gone to college. Those who did, probably didn’t major in English. So mastering the grammar monster is something most new writers have to deal with. (I know it is for me.) The relationship between new writers and grammar is akin to a professional football player and pain. Sometimes it will distract you from your job, other times you’ll conquer it. Regardless, you will respect it and have a relationship with it that must be nurtured.

But it’s not just about learning grammar rules. It’s about manipulating the language in different ways, making English stretch and do those things that will wow your readers. It’s learning about meter and rhythm, about word etymology and descriptive verbs. A good book of grammar will help you along this process.

5.) Editing
You’ve celebrated and rested, joined a critique group and bought a good book on grammar.
Now we get serious. Now it’s time to edit your book. Here’s what you do.

Chiefly, buy a BIG binder (or, liberate an oppressed binder from your place of work – theft is such an ugly word). Get ahold of a three ring hole punch (see liberation above). Then print your book out.

Yes. I said print your book out!

You want to print it out for a couple of reasons. You’re gonna want to make notes in the margins –things you’ll get to later. You’ll want to take it outside and read it in the sun. Your eyes will get tired looking at a computer screen all day, so switch to paper.

Finally, there is something tactile and soothing about critiquing your work on paper. There’s nothing to save, or accidently delete. You won’t end up with multiple copies with different edits floating around. Plus, it’ll be pretty cool to walk around with a filled binder of your own writing.

A trick you can do is get one of those multi-colored ball point pens. Use red for grammar, green for character arc or plot points, black for basic edits, and blue for remembering notes for the re-write.

What? Yes, you will be re-writing portions of your book. You didn’t think we’d be done in one draft, did you?

Like my author page on Facebook: Jason Henry Evans
Follow me on Twitter: @evans_writer
Visit my new webpage

Monday, May 15, 2017

Finding my Niche and My Confidence

By: Natalia Brothers 

I’m awaiting approval for a juried event, a Holiday Gift Fair. I have accepted that writing is a never-ending learning process, and while I still experience occasional spells of self-doubt at three in the morning—though I swear last night it was my Chihuahua who woke me up—my writing career is unfolding one tentative step at a time. My book was released last November. I told my husband that this is what I’d be doing this year, participating in various events as an author in hopes to figure out how to sell my creation.

Darwin's Orchid
My long-time passion is to grow things. I’m accustomed to introducing myself as an orchid expert. For years, I earned my living as a plant specialist. Someone who knew how to bring to bloom finicky Phrags and Masdevallias. Someone who could tell you which fertilizer would keep your houseplants alive in less-than-perfect lighting conditions. Someone addicted to fabulous scents of blooming Neofinitia and Angraecum, Darwin’s Orchid.


And what I discovered quickly was that selling a book is very different from selling an orchid. No matter how many beautiful Russian shawls and scarves I used to create the book’s stage, the vibrant displays weren’t drawing passersby to my booth.

Whenever I face a new project, I expect a learning curve, but in this case, the only new part happened to be the item I was trying to sell. I had no problem talking about my orchids—my pride, my passion. Now I needed to figure out how to introduce my novel. My pride. My passion.

I was fortunate. On my second attempt, I shared the table with a YA author who had experience in such events. She listened to my pitches and mentioned how her interest perked up when I explained that the story was rooted in my family mythology.

Armed with this information, I plunged into my next venture, a metaphysical fair.
Besides the book, I offered hand-decorated bookmarks. My creativity allowed me to come up with dozens of unique designs, and those colorful pieces became my little “orchids.” I used cards to open a conversation. The blue-and-purple front side complemented my book cover and offered my website address and places where the ebook could be found online. I speak with an accent, and if someone had trouble understanding my English in a noisy auditorium, I simply referred to my loglines printed in the other side of the card.

A few days ago, I attended a presentation by Pam McCutcheon, How to Talk About Your Book. I’ve been to many of her workshops, and I always benefit from her talks. For the next event, I’ll be tweaking one of the sentences because when I designed the card, it slipped my mind that it’s better to tell who the character is rather than mention his name.

When I looked at my transactions after the fair, I realized I did as well as if I were still in the orchid business. The three-day event was demanding and tiring, but for the first time, I could proudly say, “I’m a professional writer.”

What are the next steps I’m going to explore as an author? I signed up for two more events, for which I’m building a stately bookmark holder, a tabletop tree that will allow me to expand my display vertically and make it more visually appealing. Last night I had a message from my publisher. They wanted to know when they could expect to see my next novel. I would love to be able to offer two books at my table. I’ll be busy the next couple of months, rushing to finish the new manuscript.

I also hope that one day I’ll start feeling confident enough to give workshops. I want to share my discovery of a simple and efficient source of learning how to write a successful query letter, the hashtags I used to gain 5,000 followers on Twitter, and the most important things I’ve done to become a published author. For me, public speaking is another challenge, but not because of dry mouth, sweaty palms, and aggravated heartbeat that affect me whenever I talk to an audience. It’s my strong Russian accent that is impossible to overcome, and for now, my self-doubts prevail over my confidence. Will my passionate presentation keep my listeners in their seats? I hope so. Maybe, when someone on his or her writing journey faces the next obstacle, that author will remember a class presented by a woman with a funny accent and think, “She wasn’t afraid. I can do this too.”

Author Natalia Brothers
About the Author:  Born in Moscow, Natalia grew up with the romance and magic of Russian fairy tales. She never imagined that one day she’d be swept off her feet by an American Marine. An engineer-physicist-chemist, Natalia realized that the powder metallurgy might not be her true calling when on a moonless summer night she was spooked by cries of a loon in a fog-wrapped meadow. What if, a writer’s unrelenting muse, took hold of her. Two of her passions define her being. Natalia is an orchid expert and she writes dark fantasy.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quote of the Week and the Week to Come

"I'm writing a book. I've got the page numbers done." ~ Stephen Wright

Source: Wikipedia
Steven Alexander Wright (born December 6, 1955) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and an Oscar-winning film producer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironic, philosophical, and sometimes nonsense jokes, paraprosdokians, non sequiturs, anti-humor, and one-liners with contrived situations.
Wright was ranked as the twenty-third greatest comedian by Comedy Central in a list of the 100 greatest stand-up comics. He was awarded the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film for his 1988 short film The Appointments of Dennis Jennings.

This week on Writing from the Peak:

May 15         The Price of Confidence by Natalia Brothers

May 17         PPW’s Writing History by Jason Evans

May 19         Pikes Peak Writers Celebrates Cynthia Kuhn

Friday, May 12, 2017

Sweet Success Celebrates Margaret Mizushima

STALKING GROUND by Margaret Mizushima is a finalist in the 2017 Colorado Book Awards mystery category. In this second book in the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series Deputy Mattie Cobb, her canine partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker investigate the disappearance of Deputy Ken Brody’s sweetheart, but the hunters become the hunted when they find themselves caught in a killer’s stalking ground. “Dog lovers will want to read this thriller.” – Library Journal

About Stalking Ground: When Deputy Ken Brody's sweetheart goes missing in the mountains outside Timber Creek, Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called to search. But it's mid-October and a dark snow storm is brewing over the high country. And they're already too late. By the time they find her body, the storm has broken and the snow is coming down hard.

While Brody hikes down to bring back the forensics team and veterinarian Cole Walker gathers supplies to protect them from the storm, Mattie and Robo find themselves alone, guarding the gravesite overnight in the dead of the early winter. And that's only the first long, dark night in a series of them, because as their investigation develops, Mattie, Robo, Brody, and Cole find themselves in the middle of the killer's stalking ground--where the hunters have just become the hunted.

An effortlessly engrossing read filled with tension, excitement, and heart, Stalking Ground, the second in Margaret Mizushima's lauded debut series, will send a chill down every reader's spine.

Margaret Mizushima is the author of the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series, which includes Killing Trail (Crooked Lane Books, 2015), nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award for best first mystery, Stalking Ground (Crooked Lane Books, 2016), named a finalist in the Colorado Book Awards mystery category, and Hunting Hour (Crooked Lane Books, 2017). She lives in Colorado where she assists her husband with their veterinary practice and Angus cattle herd. She can be found on Facebook, on Twitter @margmizu, and on her website at

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A Letter from PPW's Incoming President

Dear Reader:

A heartfelt thanks to the PPW Board of Directors for electing me president of such an
amazing organization. It is my sincere hope that together we can continue to move PPW toward a goal of being the premier writer’s organization for the Front Range.

This letter will convey to you four areas of focus for my presidency. While I have many more ideas for PPW, this first blog post will cover the four broad topics that most encompass who I am as a leader, and what I seek to do as your president.
First, I am a stickler for communication. It is my firm belief that poor communication is the root of most failings within any relationship, be that between two people or within an organization boasting more than 1,500 members. To open the lines of communication with you, our members, I invite you to reach out to me at with your suggestions and ideas for the organization as a whole. I cannot promise responses to every email, but I will take seriously your input and present viable ideas to the Board.
Furthermore, I will communicate with you with as much transparency as allowed by our bylaws. Decisions, opportunities, events, changes, etc. will be made public, if at all possible. You can expect our website and social media to reflect this.
Next, I hope to increase member engagement. Every component of our organization relies on members volunteering their time, talent, and resources. For PPW to thrive, we need a diverse body of engaged and committed people at all levels of leadership, management, and operations. Again, keep checking our website and social media for open volunteer opportunities ranging from assisting with monthly events to serving on the PPW Board of Directors to helping with our next conference. These will be posted soon and updated regularly.
Third, I seek to renew PPW’s commitment to promote its member authors. We currently have a way for you to let us know if you are holding an event (release, book signing, etc.) by completing the form found at I will work with the Board to develop additional efforts, such as a regularly scheduled announcement of member authors recently published, be it traditional, self-published, anthology, periodical, or other medium. To make this work requires a combined effort from me, the Board, and of course, our member authors.
Lastly, as a fellow writer, I believe it behooves me to seek as much education, advice, networking, and promotion as possible. It would be hypocritical of me to not expect and endorse the same for you. With that in mind, I hope to partner PPW with other non-profit writing organizations in Colorado in the hope that we could promote each other’s events, recommend and share ideas, facilitators, workshops, and modus operandi, and in every available way combine forces to improve and promote area writers.
These are just four topics from a list of things I will be working with the Board of Directors to develop. I offer no guarantees.
Again, this is a volunteer organization and as such is only as successful as those willing to make it so. The PPW Board has consistently proven to be committed to making this organization the best it can be. Our volunteers are dedicated, amazing people, but we need more. If you are interested in committing your time and effort to PPW, send me an email at
Thank you, Dear Reader, for being part of Pikes Peak Writers. I look forward to working with you."

Bowen Gillings
Pikes Peak Writers

About the Author:  Bowen Gillings lives in Colorado Springs with his wife, daughter, and dog.  He became a member of Pikes Peak Writers in 2015 and sits on the PPW Board as a Member at Large. You can catch him climbing the Manitou Incline or at Garden of the Gods Park, where he heads the school programs for area elementary and high school students. Or come listen to his overbearing voice as the emcee of Write Brain the third Tuesday of each month at Library 21C. He is screaming along the roller coaster ride of his first novel.  

Monday, May 8, 2017

Meet PPW Member Patrick Hester

Today we take a quick peek into Patrick Hester’s busy universe. He is not only a writer, but an avid reader, and a teacher as well.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR:  What is a book that you read that you couldn’t put down, and why? What is a book that you will reread more than once?

PATRICK HESTER: Most recently, any of the Miles Vorkosigan books from Lois McMaster Bujold. Once I got into them, I fell hard and couldn’t stop until I’d read them all. Bujold is a master of storytelling and great characters and worldbuilding.

The Lord of the Rings or Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World are books I have read and reread multiple times. Both are cherished by me and for very different reasons. Tolkein is who most fantasy authors look to as foundational and a deep influence, kinda like how bands in the 70’s would say The Beatles inspired and influenced them. I was introduced to Tolkein at a young age and was blown away by the world and characters he created.

Jordan did the same, but on such a scale! His Wheel of Time series is massive and dense, full of mythology and worldbuilding, and characters! Oh, I love the characters. When a new book was coming out, I would reread the entire series (think about that for a second, cuz there are 14 of them plus a prequel!) Now that it’s finished, I reread just the first book – Eye of the World – when I can, or when I need a reminder of the kind of author I aspire to be.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR: What author inspired you to write?

PATRICK HESTER: As mentioned above, Jordan and Tolkein were both huge influences on me. I’ll add to that all of the Star Trek novels published in the 70’s and 80’s by great authors like Diane Duane, D.C. Fontana, Peter David and Vonda McIntyre.

More recently, I’ve been inspired by Jim Butcher, Gail Carriger, Lois McMaster Bujold, Brandon Sanderson and James SA Corey, all of whom approach writing and storytelling in different ways.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR:  You teach workshops on Scrivener, and many writers are unfamiliar with this powerful program. If it is possible, can you tell us why this is a “must use” program for writers? How will it help them be better writers?

PATRICK HESTER: The first thing I always tell people is this: Scrivener is not Word. Word is a word processing software that has been enhanced by its developers to offer bells and whistles specifically for people working in offices. Need to send a fax? You can do that from Word. Want a simple brochure? Word has one. So on and etc.
Scrivener is project management for writers that includes, as part of a powerful suite of tools, a word processor.

If you want to write out of order as ideas come to you for chapter 36, Scrivener makes it easy to do that. Word, you basically need separate docs for each chapter to do that. Want to outline your novel and have that outline visible as you work on each chapter? In Word, you have to have multiple docs open, totally doable. In Scrivener, you split your screen and have your outline on the right, manuscript on the left. You can also have all your research, character descriptions, notes, etc.

Scrivener is designed to make it easier for you to draft your manuscript quickly and in the way that makes the most sense to you and how you write.

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR:  How can people find out about your upcoming classes?

PATRICK HESTER: Usually my website, but I can clue your readers in right now to my next class – it’ll be at the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Conference as part of the Thursday Prequel on April 27th. You can actually take only the Thursday Prequel if you like, and pair my half-day afternoon workshop with one of our awesome morning classes. For information about cost, visit

KATHIE SCRIMGEOUR: What are you are working on right now? Tell us a little about it.

PATRICK HESTER: I’ve had a space opera percolating for a couple years now – I’ve described it as the hunt for Red October in space. I’ve written, rewritten and shredded it a few times. The most recent draft takes it down from five point of view characters to two. This has allowed me to focus much more on those two characters and the world I’m building, which takes place just a couple hundred years in the future. Humans have discovered space travel and have taken the first steps out into the galaxy only to find they’re still alone. They’ve colonized worlds and gotten into a routine of exploration and exploitation of resources. The same petty political issues we see now still exist, just on a broader scale between not only countries, but country-sized corporations and independent colony planets. When a new technology is discovered and deployed by one country, it threatens to incite a war like we have never seen before – a space based war. Everything is riding on a naval intelligence officer, and a gateship captain, neither of whom are aware of just how much is riding on them or what will happen if they fail.

Patrick Hester is an author, blogger and two-time Hugo Award Winner. He lives in Colorado, writes science fiction and fantasy, and can usually be found hanging out on his Twitter feed - @atfmb. His novel, SAMANTHA KANE: INTO THE FIRE is available at all major retailers. His short fiction can be found in the anthologies Space Battles: Full-Throttle Space Tales #6 and An Uncommon Collection, as well as the eBooks Conversations with my Cat, Witchcraft & Satyrs, Consumption, Cahill's Homecoming and Cahill's Unfinished Business. His Functional Nerds and SF Signal weekly podcasts have both been nominated for Parsec awards, and the SF Signal podcast was nominated for a 2012, 2013, and 2014 Hugo Award. His Scrivener Quick Tips articles exploded on social media and the web in 2012, and he’s been teaching writers how to use the software ever since.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Quote of the Week and the Week to Come

 "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Source: Wikipedia

Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 (January 6, 1705 – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He facilitated many civic organizations, including Philadelphia's fire department.

This week on Writing from the Peak:

May 8           Meet the Member Patrick Hester by Kathie Scrimgeour

May 10         A Message from PPW's Incoming President, Bowen Gillings

May 12         Sweet Success Celebrates Margaret Mizushima