Saturday, January 31, 2015

Congratulations Are In Order

By MB Partlow

October was Arts Month in the Pikes Peak Region, and Pikes Peak Writers jumped on board with great enthusiasm. In additional to our regular Write Brain, we had an improv night, an open mic night and a Saturday writing workshop for teens.

As a special incentive for Arts Month, we took the names of everyone who attended all of the events (except the teen workshop), threw them into a hat and pulled one lucky winner to receive a FREE Thursday Prequel at the April Writers Conference.

We’d like to congratulate our winner, Damon Smithwick. And here’s what he had to say about PPW and winning the free Prequel.

PPW: It's no surprise you won the free Thursday Prequel in our Arts Month promotion. You seem to be at all of our events. What keeps you coming back?

Damon: It was certainly a pleasant surprise to me that I won a free Prequel. I'm very grateful. What keeps me coming back to PPW events is self-interest. I want to be a successful author. I feel I am getting fantastic information from PPW and from those who host, run, and attend PPW events. I feel very fortunate to have an asset like PPW available in the community I live in. Not only that, but the authors attending these events are amazing. These people are my influences, and I feel good about that.

PPW: What's the best advice you've gotten from a PPW Write Brain?

Damon: I think the best advice from a Write Brain so far is a conglomeration of information given by the ladies who did the Social Media panel: Jennie Marts, Deb Courtney, Sue Mitchell, Ashley Bazer and Jessica McDonald. They were great at educating the attendees on how to market themselves. Particularly for self-publishers. I'd attend that one again if I could, and probably take better notes. Strangely, I'm terrible at notes. These ladies made a topic I'm not fond of at all, marketing, understandable. Most days I just want to write the book. Thanks in part to these ladies I realize that there is so much more to it than that.

PPW: If you could pick any topic, what kind of Write Brain presentation would you like to see?

Damon: I just recently dove into the world of self-publishing, and I'd like to see a Write Brain on that, in depth. Not about marketing, or anybody's individual experience, but about the self-publication process. The nuts and bolts. Particularly about Amazon Kindle and Createspace, because let's face it, that is the 800-pound gorilla in the business. Information on the various options, iTunes and for example, would also be welcome.

PPW: What are you most looking forward to at the PPW Prequel this year?

Damon: As I mentioned, I've embraced self-publishing, so I'm deeply interested in Bree Ervin's class, Edit Your Novel Like a Pro. I think readers of self-published material tend to understand that there will be a few errors, but I think we, as authors, owe it to our readers to provide the best story and most error-free book we can for them. That drive is what makes us professionals, whether we're submitting our material to agents or directly to the public. Any tool that enhances that professionalism is going to be on my learning agenda.

PPW: And finally, what are you looking forward to the most at the 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference?

Damon: I'm looking forward to so many things! Seeing the people I met last year. The classes, and conversations in the bar. What I think I'm looking forward to most, however, is the uplift the conference gives me. Last year I was so motivated afterward. I couldn't wait to put all this new knowledge into practice. Sometimes everyday life steals a bit of that drive away from us. Family issues, kids, life in general can be a huge distraction. PPWC worked wonders on restoring my focus last year. The conference reminded me that we're not telling campfire stories. Well, maybe we are, but if so those campfire stories are wrapped in an insatiable desire to share them with the greatest effect on the most people. I have no doubt I will leave PPWC this year tired, maybe dazed, but certainly ready to attack my keyboard with renewed gusto.

For more information about the 23rd annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference and the Thursday Prequel, please visit We’ve got spectacular keynote speakers, insightful agents and editors, and a host of faculty who will help you choose your writing adventure.

MB Partlow's first paid writing gig was for the A&E department of The Independent. She wrote a parenting column for Pikes Peak Parent for several years, and freelanced for The Gazette. She’s a longtime volunteer for PPW, working her way up from chair stacker at Write Brains to Moderator Coordinator, Contest Coordinator, Director of Programming, and now Conference Director for 2015. A voracious reader across genres, she primarily write urban fantasy, although she ventures into space opera, mystery and magical realism. MB is physically unable to restrain her sense of humor, and her mouth occasionally moves faster than her brain. She blogs at, and can be reached at

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