Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I Hate All Writers Everywhere

By Aaron Michael Ritchey 

I was at the Colorado Teen Literature Conference this year, and they had wonderful guests like they
always do. David Levithan was there; he wrote Two Boys Kissing, co-authored Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and co-authored Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Heavy hitter. He got picked up by a big publishing house in his twenties, didn’t even query. A friend knew a friend, who passed on his writing.

I hate him.
A.S. King was also there, and she wrote Reality Boy, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, and like a million other books. Her story was more common. And heartbreaking. She wrote, queried, and was rejected for fifteen years. Then got a big break and became a hit. Another heavy hitter. 
I hate her.

And then Todd Mitchell was there, critically acclaimed (hate him), and a bunch of other local writers with big agents, big houses, movie contracts, adoration, and raw, burning talent (hate them one and all).
And there was Sheri Duff and me. I love Sheri Duff. She loves good books, writing, and me. All good things to love.  Sheri went home, feeling overwhelmed by all the big name authors, because yeah, it was intimidating.  I talked with her for a long time in the middle of the street, with cars zooming around us, because what she was feeling was important and I could empathize.

When I was first starting out, I hated anyone who had more success than me.
Because I felt like a small goldfish among sharks. I felt desolate and empty, hopeless. Despairing.  However, things have changed.

More and more, it doesn’t matter. The writing game isn’t a fair game. It’s evil in some ways. Why did David Levithan get the big contract when other authors didn’t? Why did it take A.S. King so long to get in the door?  How come?
I don’t have any answers. I don’t know why I’m unagented. People seem to like my books. My new book got a glowing review from Kirkus. I mean glowing. If you read it, you gots to wear sunglasses.  But still, no lovin’ for Aaron Michael Ritchey from the traditional publishing world.

I’m going to quote from an interview I had with Catherine Ryan Hyde (love her), because this sums up really what I’m feeling nowadays and I wanted to share it with the PPW blog:
 I’m like a guy who couldn’t find a prom date. I went around and asked all these agents and editors to go to the prom with me, and they all said no. I went to prom anyway. I might be out on the dance floor by myself, but I’m publishing books I adore, and I’m dancing. But I’m not alone. I’m dancing with editors from small presses, I’m dancing with other writers, and I’m dancing with readers. Make no mistake. I’m dancing.”

I don’t know why some people strike it rich and others don’t. I do know I wrote for twenty years and I churned out numerous books, some of which were bad and shouldn’t be published. Other books were good, and I’m proud of them, but no one wanted to publish them. I don’t know why that is.

Doesn’t matter. I’m going to play this game with everything I’ve got. I am going to continue to query because an agent can get me to a bigger house, which can get me help with marketing. Not a lot, but any help is better than none. I’m going to continue to write books and get them out into the world.

In short, I’m going to continue to dance. What other people do, what fortunes they gain, or laurels they win, good for them. I am going to celebrate the victories of other writers.

Let me repeat that. I am going to celebrate the victories of other writers. Because a win for one of us is a win for all.

And when I meet the big names, when I see their lines of fans stretch around the block, I’m going to smile and be glad for them.

Maybe someday that will be me. Maybe not. Right now, I’m dancing, and when I’m pounding on my keyboard, listening to 30 Seconds To Mars, lost in my story, well, the music just can’t get any sweeter. That Jared Leto, rock star and Academy Award winning actor.

Him, I can hate.

About the Author: Aaron Michael Ritchey’s first novel, The Never Prayer, was published in March of 2012 to a fanfare of sparkling reviews including an almost win in the RMFW Gold contest. Since then he’s been paid to write steampunk, cyberpunk, and sci-fi western short stories, and his story, “The Dirges of Percival Lewand” has been nominated for a Hugo award. His next novel, Long Live the Suicide King, is currently giving hope to the masses. Kirkus Reveiws calls it a “a compelling tale of teenage depression handled with humor and sensitivity.” He lives in Colorado with two rockstar daughters and a moviestar wife.

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. .

Monday, July 28, 2014

A Rookie PPWC Experience

By Lise Bennett

My head spun for weeks from everything I learned at this year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference - or was the spinning due to lack of sleep combined with altitude? Whatever the reason, my first PPWC was an incredible experience. I went into the weekend with the simple intent to soak up as much novel-writing knowledge as I could each day, wring my brain out every night, and be ready to absorb again the next day. Soak, wring, repeat. I left with much more than I’d imagined.

I arrived the first morning to “A Murder in Aspen Leaf” where EMTs, CSIs, FBI agents, and I think IPOs were investigating a death. I had my money on Professor Plum in the bedroom with a belt— the one that matched the ligature marks found on the victim’s neck. The presenters taught us how to set up a realistic murder investigation scene by explaining the flow of events that take place, clarifying who has jurisdiction over what, and illustrating how the various specialties do what they do. I found the forensics portion particularly fascinating. Chris Herndon, the Coroner, explained how rigor mortis follows a predictable time pattern and can be used to estimate time of death. She showed us how the location of lividity, discoloration caused by congestion of blood pooling in a dependent part of the body, can indicate that a body has been moved. After a detailed explanation of the careful observations, examinations, and calculations she uses in her work, she said that in reality, calling time of death boils down to SWAG; coroner lingo for “scientific wild-assed guess”.

Middle-grade novelist extraordinaire and seasoned wrangler of 12-year-olds, Darby Karchut exudes acceptance and support as only a 7th grade teacher can. She’s the kind of person who would be completely unfazed if some guy laughed so hard at one of her anecdotes that he snorted diet soda out of his nose and onto her dress. She’d whip out a tissue, rub the spill and pat the snorter at the same time, and then spin her story in a way that made soda guy look like a hero. She’s that good. She was the perfect person to guide us through the intimidating world of querying, publishing, agents, and contracts. Apparently the fun of writing in stolen 15-minute bursts every single day, juggling families and day jobs, mustering enough courage to slash the things that don’t work, and sweating through the fear of not being able to make up something better is only the beginning of the levity yet to come. I learned that pitching is not for weaklings or those whose stamina is taxed by walking from the computer to the coffee pot. Darby pitched her first book 102 times before she got an offer. Since everything about the publishing journey— from the writing to the waiting— moves at a glacial pace, she encouraged us to acknowledge and celebrate every milestone along the way, from fixing a difficult chapter to typing “The End”. Darby went out to eat after her first book was released reminding herself, “Yesterday I didn’t have a book published; today I have a book published.” I’m just trying to decide how many pages I need to write to justify some dancing and cookie eating merriment.

Hank Philippi Ryan, the ultimate in unaffected coolness, is a mystery writer/investigative reporter. She talked about the way her career in TV journalism has supported her novel writing. She said that any story, whether it’s a three-minute feature on the nightly news or a 400-page novel, has to capture people’s attention and keep them hanging on until the end. That means originally my writing has to excite me, the writer. Does the story move me on a heart level? Is the idea compelling enough to sustain me through the unfolding and resolution of the plot? Hank’s trick for uncovering meaning in the story is to repeat to herself over and over “Why do I care?” It’s also apparently vitally important to say this aloud in a nasal twang to channel the voice and spirit of one of her executive producers. By asking this question again and again with the proper inflection, it will help me discover what it is that I can sink my teeth into without letting go. It will transform me into a literary pit bull for the months or years it will take to tell my story. It will show me where the meat is— or the marinated soy, if I’m in a vegetarian state of mind.

Before attending the conference, I knew that flaws are what make a character relatable and interesting, but Carol Berg, writer of all things demonic, enchanting, and magical, gave us a great tool to discover these flaws. She suggested asking, in terms of our characters, “How do you get them riled up?” Trai Cartwright, screenplay goddess, took a similar, if less subtle approach. Her M.O.? Character harassment. Her eyes gleamed when she told us we can’t really know a character until we put him in a fight. Thanks to her, I now have visions of each of my characters enclosed in an MMA-style chain link ring— with Trai. They don’t have to fight her, though. They could fight their boss, the rain, fate, or a Thin Mint-toting Girl Scout with a kick ass sales goal and a take no prisoners attitude. And if there are multiple main characters, Trai says everyone needs to be messed with!

When I signed up for PPWC 2014, I was expecting to have an enjoyable weekend and learn a lot about writing. I wasn’t disappointed. However, my experience went far beyond that. I met wonderful people with enormous vocabularies and even more enormous hearts, and I think I may have walked away with the Holy Grail— not only for success in writing, but for success in life:

  • Mess with everyone. Really rile them up.
  • Rejoice in flaws. They are more interesting than strengths.
  • Care. (using my best nasal twang)
  • Celebrate every victory no matter its size.
  • Accept that I’ll never have all the answers and then take my best SWAG, because in the end, I’m going to die anyway.
  • Write here. Write now.

About the Author:  Lise Bennett is a transplant to Colorado but is thriving in the reduced oxygen. She won the grand prize in a scene writing contest sponsored by Showtime, was a winner in the Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition with her script, Crossing the Line, and was a finalist in both The Moondance International Film Festival and The Latino Screenplay Competition with En el Nombre de Dios. Formerly working full time in private practice as a naturopathic doctor, she has now gotten her priorities straight and spends her time making stuff up and writing it down. If she’s not behind her laptop, Lise is probably balancing on two wheels or one leg, huffing up a 14er, blowing into the small end of a sax, or compressing and extending her way through West Coast Swing. Lise is currently converting her script, Crossing the Line, to a novel, writing an action comedy screenplay, and is part of a documentary film project called Voices of Grief.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quote of the Week and Week to Come

"I never try to convey a message, I just want to tell a story. Why that story in particular? I have no idea, but I have learned to surrender to the muse. I become obsessed with a theme or with certain stories; they haunt me for years, and finally, I write them."

Isabel Allende (August 2, 1942 - )
The House of the Spirits
Daughter of Fortune
Winner, National Prize for Literature

This week on Writing from the Peak:

* A Rookie PPWC Experience                    Lise Bennett

* I Hate All Writers Everywhere                Aaron Michael Ritchey

* August News and Events                          Debi Archibald

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sweet Success! Carol Berg

Compiled by Kathie Scrimgeour

Carol Berg has sold the audio rights to her mythical fantasy novel, Dust and Light (ISBN: 978-0451417244 - print copy, 464 pages, trade paperback, ebook, audio). The audio book will release in August 2014 by (NAL/Roc Books for the print and ebook already available).

The Pureblood Registry accused Lucian de Remeni of “unseemly involvement with ordinaries,” which meant only that he spoke with a young woman not of his own kind, allowed her to see his face unmasked, worked a bit of magic for her. Now the Registry has contracted his art to a common coroner. His extraordinary gift for portraiture is restricted to dead beggars or starvelings hauled from the streets. But sketching the truth of dead men’s souls brings unforeseen consequences. Sensations not his own. Truths he cannot possibly know. The coroner calls him a cheat. The Registry will call him mad—and mad sorcerers are very dangerous....

About the Author:  Former software engineer Carol Berg’s fourteen epic fantasy novels have won multiple Colorado Book Awards, the Prism Award, the Geffen Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.  Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews called her work things like compelling, intelligent, and superbly realized.  Her newest fantasy/mystery duology begins with Dust and Light in August 2014. Carol writes, camps, hikes, and bikes in Colorado. You can find out more 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, July 23, 2014

Flaw Goggles

By DeAnna Knippling

So at my house we have this phrase, “flaw goggles”. It’s what happens when you look at your work or your abilities, and all you can see are the flaws.

My husband came up with it. He started woodworking about five years ago or so. He builds me furniture. For example I have a bookshelf in my office of which I am fiercely protective; he keeps threatening to take it apart and rebuild it.

Personally, I can’t see any flaws in the bookshelf, even though he assures me that there are a lot of them. Nevertheless, it’s my bookshelf, and he can’t have it back.

Writing is like that, too.

Sometimes, all we can see are the flaws.

This always hits me especially hard after I’ve read something particularly good that someone else has written. I always feel the bitterest failure. And then, when something good happens to me, I feel like a complete and utter fake. There are days I have to force myself to admit my successes, because they never feel deserved.

Because of the flaw goggles.

What to do if you’re in the grip of flaw goggles?

Personally, I find it a big help to have my husband there, calling me out when I start complaining about what a terrible writer I am. And, really, trying to get the flaw goggles out of your life in general is a pretty broad task without a quick and easy solution.

But, well, to play a tune that I’ve played before--

You just have to send it. Or publish it. Or whatever.

Sure, there are going to be issues with your story. But you can’t “fix” a bookshelf by fussing with it for years and years and years. Once that bookshelf is built, you have two choices: take it apart or use it.

Likewise, you can’t “fix” a story by fussing with the words for years and years. You can either get it into a reader’s or editor’s hands, or you can delete it. Everything else is just a delaying tactic.

In the end, I still just see the flaws in the things I write. All the flaws, all the time. I don’t think you get to be a real craftsperson and ever just feel satisfied with what you’ve made. I mean, you might be ninety percent satisfied...but you will always have some part of your brain that’s assessing what you just did and trying to figure out how to make it better.

Is that a bad thing, wanting to improve? Nah. The problem isn’t that we can see flaws. It’s that we choose to get emotionally screwed up when we see them.

Yes, you’re going to encounter nay-sayers who are driven by the idea that you have to have some kind of magnificent masterpiece before you’re allowed to release things into the wild. It’s certainly a safer approach, to have the experience of a master writer under your belt before you make your work public.

But is it a practical approach?

How do you become a master craftsperson if you never let anyone else see your work? If you never have the feedback of a friend saying, “You know, the stain on this bookshelf is magnificent...but next time, some shelves would be nice,” then how do you become a master craftsperson?

You can’t bootstrap yourself if you’re not allowed to bootstrap yourself until you’ve already bootstrapped yourself. And there’s only so far you can go as a selling writer if you’re not allowing yourself to try to get sales until you’ve already had sales.

So send it.

Sure, another craftsperson might take a look at your work and point out that there’s a rough spot you forgot to sand (or even a complete lack of shelves). But they have flaw goggles, too.

And, believe me, there are plenty of people who just need a set of bookshelves.

About the Author: DeAnna Knippling started freelancing in May 2011 and wouldn’t be able to do it without her wonderful family and friends, especially her husband. In fact, she owes a lot to Pikes Peak Writers for helping her be a better writer, especially through the Write Brains, both in the lectures and in meeting lots of other writers.

Her reason for writing is to entertain by celebrating her family’s tradition of dry yet merry wit, and to help ease the suffering of lack of self-confidence, having suffered it many years herself. She also likes to poke around and ask difficult questions, because she hates it when people assume something must be so.

For more kicks in the writerly pants, see her blog at or her ebook How to Fail & Keep on Writing, available at Smashwords, B&N, Amazon, and OmniLit.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Consequential Conflict

By Karen Albright Lin

Some of us walk around looking for a battle, but most of us try to avoid conflict.  We dread the “conversation” we have to have with our son who just got a full-face tattoo of a praying mantis eating its mate.  We refuse to challenge ourselves with the Class 4 rapids our first time in a raft.  We resist the urge to use a few choice words when the IRS threatens an audit.  We are cavemen doing whatever we can to avoid the cougar that will inevitably stalk and eat us.
Self-preservation is an instinct.  So it can be a challenge setting aside our reputation-preserving, risk averse, considerate and conscientious selves to create that most essential element of fiction—CONFLICT.

Conflict is about high stakes.  It’s not simply a disagreement about whether a shirt is gray-blue or blue-gray, unless the discussion is between a savvy cop and a color-blind murderer.  No ho hum disagreements please. 

True conflict requires consequences.  That’s not to say that all conflict has to be bigger than life—like an antagonist holding your hero over the edge of the Grand Canyon.  Sometimes the conflicts are quieter, yet just as devastating, as likely to thwart a plan or create an obstacle between a character and her goal.  The beautifully written Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates, is a relationship book with neurotic baggage as obstacles.   

Conflict can be found in surprise, even sideways humor:  When Dawn met “Mr. Sexy", she had no idea that his first name was Chip and his last was Dale. 

Conflict can be fear:  Ben saw the clown’s face frozen in a scream as it floated in the shadows of the forest.

It can be self-contained like a trail of insecure thoughts:  I’d doubted, believed, doubted again; I’d dared to speak of what I shouldn’t have even known; I’d become my own Grim Reaper.

It can be a bitter divorce, the denial of a call to action, a guilty admission.  And yes, it can be a machete at the throat.

We can think of a book as a series of conflicts, some smaller ones resolved along the way and at least one building to a black moment when our character must face the choice between two bad alternatives, the ultimate test of his moral fortitude, a climax of inner conflict.  This need not be a life or death moment, but your hero’s choice needs to lead to life-altering consequences.  Ask yourself: how will my character’s life change depending on how she handles this particular conflict?  If you don’t have an answer to that question, you lack the power of consequence. 

Readers crave cause and effect that matters.  They love to see courage they can admire and enjoy books that put their own life challenges into perspective.  They return over and over to books that get the adrenalin pumping, the endorphins rushing, leading ultimately to the satisfying release of tension.  Our readers ride a chemical roller coaster on the waxing and waning of conflict, but only if it is consequential conflict.  

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Quote of the Week and Week to Come

“I always try to write on the principle of the iceberg. There is seven-eighths of it underwater for every part that shows.”

Ernest Hemingway (7/21/1899 - 7/2/1961)
The Sun Also Rises
The Old Man and the Sea
For Whom the Bell Tolls
A Farewell to Arms

This week on Writing from the Peak:

* Consequential Conflict                              Karen Albright Lin

* Flaw Goggles                                              DeAnna Knippling

* Sweet Success! Carol Berg                       Kathie Scrimgeour

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sweet Success! Ashley Hodges Bazer

Compiled by Kathie Scrimgeour

Ashley Hodges Bazer’s Sci-fi/Space Opera, Heralds of the Crown: Poison, (ISBN: 978-163-310-0060, E-book and trade paperback, 93,000 words, family-friendly/adult) was released on May 16, 2014 by Distinguished Press. Poison is available on Amazon and Smashwords. The author’s website is

When Gaultier Lassiter discovers an unconscious young woman buried in a snowdrift, his world is turned upside down. She has no memory and no ability to speak. The question of her identity leads to a journey of legendary proportions. Between his own personal struggles with his estranged brother, his unmet potential, and the murder of a close friend, Gaultier fights to cling to his faith. And once the mystery is solved, will Gaultier be prepared to face the truth?

Ashley Hodges Bazer is often decked out in bellbottoms and grooving out on the 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. 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!


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, July 16, 2014

Do You Share Books? — A Reader University Post

By Stacy S. Jensen 

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

I don’t share chocolate very well, but I love sharing books.
We support our favorite writers when we share his or her work.
You can help when you share:
  • a book with a friend
  • via word of mouth
  • on your blog
Print books are great for this. You have a book. You have a conversation about a book. You let a friend borrow it. Your enthusiasm may have created a new fan.
I became the recipient of several books this week, because a friend shared her love for Amish romance books. So, when I thought an aspect of Amish life would be good for a future manuscript, I contacted my friend. She graciously shared several books with me. Now, I just need to pick one to read.
Ebooks have complicated sharing a little bit. After reading the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, I thought I could share my copy with my sister. I missed the memo that not all books are loanable. Sigh. Many of the self-published (or indie-published authors) allow this option!
Thankfully, we can share books via word of mouth — no matter what format. This year, I continue to follow my "Name Them" rule and list the title and the author’s name when I mention these books in conversations or social media. 
Our blogs are a great place to share books, too. I enjoy reading reviews. I continue to add books to my library list I missed in 2013, but found through year-in-review blogs.
What’s your favorite way to share books?
(This post originally appeared on Stacy S. Jensen's blog on February 17, 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, July 14, 2014

Support Conference Style

By Ashley Hodges Bazer

The recurring theme I saw during the Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference 2014 could be summed up in one word: SUPPORT. I witnessed it in many ways, and I’d love to share just a few.

By volunteering to stuff bags the night before the Thursday add-on, I got to see a unique perspective of the backstage work that goes on prior to the conference. Oh, I’ve attended a few of the planning meetings, but nothing like this. As I stuffed bags with a dedicated few, our conference team was putting out fires and taking care of the last-minute details. You know the duck feet analogy. Ducks swim serenely across a pond and look so peaceful and content...but below the surface, their feet are paddling like crazy! That would perfectly describe what was going on that night. And as I left at 10 p.m., I knew there were still many more hours the staff would put in before they could give into sleep. I am in awe and inspired by the crew of people who devote their time and energy to putting together one of the best writers’ conferences around. This kind of unnoticed undergirding and support is what makes PPWC so great.

As the conference started on Friday, the electricity in the air was awesome. New, nervous writers along with old friends coming together for a single purpose—to hone their craft. The talent that gathered in the Marriott that weekend could rule the world, if we all weren’t so bloomin’ introverted. The faculty and staff headed off to their respective places to teach and support the hopeful attendees. Even mealtimes weren’t wasted as they offered encouraging words from both the podium and the host seats around the ballroom.

Pitch day is my favorite, especially since I’ve been on the pitch staff for the last two years. I love greeting attendees as they arrive on the seventh floor. Whether you’re confident and ready, or nervous as can be, I’m glad to offer a smile, a mint, or a verbal boost. This is my little way of giving back, of supporting the courage and fortitude it takes to step off that elevator. But beyond Pitch Day itself, I have to applaud the pitch staff and Bonnie Hagan for stepping up after we lost Amanda. For those of you who don’t know, Amanda was the heart and soul of Pitch—at least for the two years I’ve been involved. The transition, despite the heartache, was seamless and only because of the support of the PPWC leadership.

Saying goodbye, or at least “See you again next year,” is never easy. Winding up a conference like this requires perhaps not as much behind-the-scenes work as pulling it together, but it still takes a lot. With a team of people and a caravan of five or six cars, we took boxes, crates, and bags of conference-related items to a nearby storage unit. The support was necessary, and because we had so many hands, it didn’t take that long!

I’m pleased to say that support wasn’t left at the conference. Through the friendships cemented and connections made, I’ve gained a family of like-minded folks in Pikes Peak Writers. They saw me through the launch of my book, cheering me on and even purchasing it. Just recently, I attended one of the Write Brain sessions, to be greeted with smiles, hugs, and joy.

I treasure my time with Pikes Peak Writers. I really do. There is no other experience like it in the world. And with programs like the Write Brains, the Open Critique sessions, and the Writers’ Night get-togethers, we’re able to capture glimpses of that same excitement and wonder that we know at Conference. I’m grateful for my family of writers—for everything. For the love. For the encouragement. For the support. Thank you all.

About the Author:  Ashley Hodges Bazer is the author of Heralds of the Crown: Poison, releasing May 16th, 2014 from Distinguished Press. 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. Her debut novel, Asylum, was traditionally published by WestBow Press in 2012. When she’s not writing, she’s crocheting or belting out Broadway show tunes. And she's a real duchess!

(Editor's Note:  Watch for Ashley in an upcoming Sweet Success post.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Quote of the Week and Week to Come

"I like what I do. Some writers have said in print that they hated writing and it was just a chore and a burden. I certainly don't feel that way about it. Sometimes it's difficult. You know, you always have this image of the perfect thing which you can never achieve, but which you never stop trying to achieve. But I think ... that's your signpost and your guide. You'll never get there, but without it you won't get anywhere."
Cormac McCarthy (7/20/1933 -)
Pulitzer Prize Winner
  The Road, No Country for Old Men

This Week on Writing from the Peak:

* Support Conference Style                                                  Ashley Bazer

* Do You Share Books? (Reader University)                    Stacy S. Jensen

* Sweet Success! Ashley Bazer                                             Kathie Scrimgeour

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sweet Success! Maria Faulconer

Compiled by Kathie Scrimgeour

Maria Faulconer is excited to announce the April release of her latest children's book, A Mom for Umande by Dial Books for Young Readers. It received a starred review on Kirkus and is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Maria was inspired to write Umande after seeing a photograph of a baby gorilla snuggling in the arms of his surrogate mom. An adoptive mom herself, she was captivated by the joy on their faces and knew she had to write a story about this resilient little gorilla.

This is the true story of a baby gorilla, born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado, whose mom was too young and didn't know how to take care of him. He was hand-reared by the amazing zookeepers and found love 1,000 miles away in the arms of a surrogate gorilla mom at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.  

About the Author:   Maria Faulconer's first children's book, Arianna and the Strawberry Tea, was promoted on a national morning talk show, named a shelf-talker at Barnes & Noble, and used for a state-wide literacy program. It contains recipes for Strawberry Tea and Chocolate Tarts. A teacher and counselor by profession, Maria writes for Colorado Springs Style Magazine. Ms. Faulconer has also received several mentions in local as well as national publications. To read more just follow the links.

N.Y. Times:  Click Here
USA TodayClick Here
The GazetteClick Here

You can find Maria at her website: