Saturday, March 31, 2012

PPWC Rates Increase April 1, 2012

If you haven't signed up for this year's Pikes Peak Writers Conference, do so now! Registration at the regular rates end today. Late registration fees begin tomorrow, April 1st.

Please note that prices remain the same for the Thursday add-on workshops.

We do expect to hit our maximum registration this year, so sign up now to guarantee your spot.

Conference brochure:

PPWC Registration:

Friday, March 30, 2012

PPWC 2012 Faculty Addition

MacGregor Literary agent Amanda Luedeke is joining the PPWC 2012 faculty. She represents literary fiction, YA, romance, women’s fiction, science fiction, fantasy, horror, steampunk, African American fiction, middle grade fiction, nonfiction, and Christian non-fiction/fiction. Ms. Luedeke is hoping to add twenty clients to her list in the next year.

Check out the brochure for more information on Amanda Luedeke and the rest of the PPWC 2012 faculty. Over 70 workshops, panels, and talks are planned for PPWC 2012, presented by 7 agents, 4 editors and 46 authors and specialists.

PPWC 2012 brochure available here or at
Registration is open now:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

PPWC in the Independent

Check out this great article by Kirsten Akens in the latest issue of the Colorado Springs Independent:
Author Games
Pikes Peak Writers Conference heads into its 20th year of changing writers' lives
The conference has become a legacy created by authors, editors and agents who visit Colorado Springs annually to network with writers and educate them in the realm of commercial fiction.
Click here to read full article:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Throw It Back by Shannon Baker

I was staring at the interesting patterns cast by the full moon through the light tube in the bedroom ceiling at three, twelve this morning. Before I was a women-of-a-certain-age, I never had insomnia. That thought struck me with a sigh of frustration. Then I remembered what one of my wise Sisters (of the Quill) said about her wakefulness. She said she thinks of that quiet time as a gift she can use to think. Who couldn’t use some uninterrupted brain time?

I started reworking a particularly hairy plot issue in my latest WIP. Why would my villain do this thing I needed her to do? The motivations I’d come up with previously didn’t seem to be strong enough. I threw my original idea back and asked my brain for a better one.

And that’s when the train derailed and I started out across the barren prairie of my mind on foot. Where had I come up with the idea to throw my idea back and ask for another? Fully distracted now, I thought back to an RMFW conference. It was the year Bouchercon was in Denver the same weekend as our annual Colorado Gold so we had a two-day workshop instead of the full conference. What year was that? And the guest speaker was—I’m ashamed to admit I can’t remember—someone with the last name of Cook.

I bought Mr. Cook’s tape of the event (tape, you understand, that’s how long ago it was). He talked about trusting your subconscious. I can almost hear him say, “If you don’t like the idea your imagination gives you, throw it back and demand another. It will keep working until it gives you something you can use.”

I can’t remember what else he had to say although it seems he gave us that quote about only having to see what is directly in your headlights to keep driving. But these words about demanding more from my brain have been with me every day since then. I know I benefited by his other words of wisdom but this is the gleaming gold, the nugget panned out of a river of good writing advice.

I jumped from this to thinking about Sister Janet’s blog about the Rule of 10 on Chiseled in Rock blog. It is such wise and thoughtful advice. I thought about the precious jewels I’ve collected from writers--those I know, those I admire, published and not-yet pubbed--that have made my journey easier and my writing better. And I thought of the advice from my Sister about using my wakefulness that started this convoluted trek through my consciousness. I think that might have been my last thought until the alarm woke me.

When I got up, I looked for that long lost tape of Mr. Cook. But it must be in a storage box in the garage and I don’t have a cassette player, anyway. I did find a bunch of conference CDs I’m anxious to listen to again.

I would really love to hear from any RMFWers who remember this conference and what Mr. Cook’s name might be. And I’d also like to hear what golden nuggets you’ve retained from your various writerly digs.

(Originally published at the Sisters of the Quill Blog, March 28, 2011)

About the Writer:  Shannon Baker has a right brain/left brain conflict. While the left brain focuses on her career as an accountant, her right brain concocts thrillers, including her 2010 release, Ashes of the Red Heifer. A lover of mountains, plains, oceans and rivers, she can often be found traipsing around the great outdoors. The first book in the Nora Abbott Mystery Series will release in the fall of 2012 from Midnight Ink publishers. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012


One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one's own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one's pen. ~ Leo Tolstoy

Friday, March 23, 2012

You Choose! Exciting Thursday Options at PPWC 2012 by Cathy Dilts

One of the many nice things about PPWC is that you have options. With so many choices, you might feel like Forrest Gump reaching into his box of chocolates, and not knowing what you’re gonna get. Well, I can fill you in on one good selection.

Two years ago, I was unable to attend the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. Fortunately, the Thursday Add-On / Stand-Alone program had just been implemented. I opted to attend a Thursday only, all day workshop with Linda Rohrbough. I got more than my money’s worth, and left exhausted, inspired, and educated.

Last year, I had to pick either/or, so I went for the Friday through Sunday conference option. No regrets, but I did wonder what I’d missed Thursday. There was a special intensity to an entire day devoted to one subject area.

This year I get to have it all – the Conference and the Thursday workshop. Picking from this year’s Thursday workshop choices isn’t going to be easy.

If you’ve never written a novel, I suggest you try "So You Wanna Write a Book?" Published author Angel Smits will provide a complete primer for those new to the world of professional fiction.

"Mile High Concept: The Big Idea" will explore defining that high concept idea in your work, and how to translate it into a novel, or series, that sells. Part of the workshop will focus on crafting a query and pitch. Authors Esri Allbritten and Karen Albright Lin, and literary agent Kristin Nelson will present this workshop.

Writers who are testing the waters with Young Adult fiction will want to attend "Day on YA." An impressive cast of published authors will lead this workshop presenting everything you need to know about writing Young Adult and Middle Grade books.

Donald Maass, New York literary agent of renown, returns to PPWC to present "Writing 21st Century Fiction." This workshop is suggested for advanced writers.

Deciding which workshop to attend isn’t going to be easy! And space is filling up fast.

Learn more and register here:

When and Where:

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Colorado Springs Marriott
5580 Tech Center Drive, Colorado Springs CO

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dinner with the Stars

Imagine dining with a bestselling author, or a New York agent. Then imagine having your photo taken with him or her, and receiving priority in their autographing line. Too good to be true? Not at PPWC 2012!

This is your chance to meet your favorite author in an elegant and exclusive setting.  Pikes Peak Writers will be hosting a very private dinner party on April 19 at 6:00 p.m. at the Colorado Springs Marriott with our keynote speakers, authors Robert Crais, Susan Wiggs, and Jeffery Deaver, and agent Donald Maass.

You're invited to bid for a chance to join this festive occasion. Your friends are invited to bid, too. How about your critique group, or your book group? All are invited to bid, but only a lucky few will enjoy Dinner with the Stars!

The guest list is limited to thirty-two participants with eight seats available for auction at each of the four hosted tables. The highest bidders will be seated on either side of our guest. 

Hurry! Bidding closes March 25 at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Column: An Effortless Read by Karen Albright Lin

I returned from the 2011 Colorado Gold Conference with a head full of inspiration and a heart filled with gratitude for our amazing Colorado writing community.

One of several workshops I attended stood out because it addressed head-on a difficulty I’ve been having with the beginning of my book. Sara Megibow (from the Nelson Literary Agency) taught a workshop entitled:

Bang! Zoom! Pow! Those First 30 Pages and Why They Are So Important and How to Make Them POP

I’ve been to many similarly titled workshops and have found most impart the same information. But I figured it couldn’t hurt to have it all reinforced again -- especially in light of the feedback I’ve been receiving about my book, Mu Shu Mac-N-Cheese. It works extremely well except the very beginning.

My query letter is effective; I’m usually asked to send full manuscripts. My voice, I’m told, is courageous and works well with the characters and storyline. I’ve even been told by agents that it is a marketable, commercial novel. So what about the beginning is holding it back from earning representation in this tough market?

I have a lot in my first chapter, clearly too much. Mario Puzo got away with it, and one agent suggested I study the beginning of The Godfather. Puzo detailed the back-story of the various characters who sought the aid of the powerful Godfather. The lesson seemed to be that I needed to give the reader more to latch onto about the motivation of the few characters I introduce in the beginning of the book. I was also advised that my voice was so strong that it “overwhelmed the narrative.” That was more difficult to decipher. My critique groups helped me interpret this. I have a rather unusual way with language sometimes. Maybe it is the poet in me. Maybe it is my twisted sense of metaphor. Maybe I try too hard to have an atypical approach to word play. I think it is all of the above.

Back to Sara’s helpful advice. She explained four things that automatically earn rejections from their agency.

1) Data dump
2) Work not written with genre requirements
3) Awkward dialogue
4) Weak character or voice

Great advice. But none of these seemed to address the dissatisfaction over MY beginning. I’d pretty much pounded out the above common problems working over the years with my critique partners and taking a long detour writing screenplays.

Then Sara talked about what makes a beginning POP. First:


She emphasized that the inciting incident shouldn’t be in a prologue, and, in fact, “mainstream fiction shouldn’t even have a prologue.” My book is mainstream women’s fiction and the story takes place twenty years after my Midwest-raised protagonist marries into a traditional and dominating Chinese family. In the PROLOGUE, my protagonist meets her future husband on the dance floor, beginning the dance of their marriage. It’s only one page long. One page. One page! ONE page!!! It sets up the marriage! Right?

It seems I’ve started my book with one of those gnarly, dreaded darlings. And that I should work the information in, as needed, later in the book. Ironically, I taught a workshop at the conference about back-story in its various forms and specifically about writing flashbacks. I warned against flashbacks that come too early. Guess I’ll have to review my own notes.

Chop off my prologue, and luckily I still have a strong inciting incident. That is not the problem. Sara’s last observation about beginnings that POP was less straight forward than items of craft and as elusive as voice.


We’ve all experienced it. We open a book and force our way through the first few pages, slogging along, debating whether or not to take more of our precious time to unravel a tangle of too many ideas, dense prose, flowery overkill, or a mess of complicated sentences. Hers was not a surprising suggestion. But somehow, the way she stated it became an aha moment for me. I and my critique partners know my book so well that we don’t recognize the introduction of too many conflicts, each on the heel of the other, and the story promise with too many angles. The morass of too-tight writing.

I cared too much about getting it right, about dragging the reader in with so many questions to be answered, and not one spare word. I’ve over edited the beginning of Mu Shu Mac-N-Cheese to the point of being dense compared to the rest of the book that manages to breathe. It wouldn’t be too far off to call the beginning constipated while the rest is…well… smooth moving.

I now have a plan of attack. Not an easy plan, especially for this freelance editor who usually deals with tightening chubby prose. But what in a writing career is easy? I am going to make my entire book breathe.

Make it an effortless read.

Thank you, Sara.

(Originally posted at the Sisters of the Quill blog on September 15, 2011)

About the Writer:  Karen is an editor, ghostwriter, pitch coach, speaker and award-winning author of novels, cookbooks, and screenplays. She’s written over a dozen solo and collaborative scripts (with Janet Fogg, Christian Lyons and director Erich Toll); each has garnered international, national and regional recognition: Moondance Film Festival, BlueCat, All She Wrote, Lighthouse Writers, Boulder Asian Film Festival, SouthWest Writers Contest, and PPW Contest. Find out more at

Monday, March 19, 2012

Celebrating Twenty Years of PPWC

The Pikes Peak Writers Conference has a solid reputation for:  

  • Stellar faculty
  • Workshops for writers of all genres and levels of ability
  • A terrific venue and menu provided by the Colorado Springs Marriott
  • Being the "best organized" and "friendliest" writer's conference in the country
  • Read & Critiques and Pitch Appointments
This year, you can expect even more! The 20th Pikes Peak Writers Conference, April 19-22, features a host of fun and celebratory events. Watch for details on these exciting new events at

  • Bid on a seat at an exclusive dinner with the keynote speakers!
  • Silent auction and booksigning – open to the public!
  • Costume party!
  • Game night!
PPWC 2012 begins on Thursday, April 19, with the popular Add-On workshops, which can be purchased as a stand-alone for those not attending the whole conference.  

Click here for the online conference brochure.  

Click here to register. Remember - conference rates will increase on April 1, 2012, so sign up now to guarantee your seat.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Becoming a writer means being creative enough to find the time and the place in your life for writing. ~ Heather Sellers