Saturday, December 23, 2017

Prez Says December 2017

Readers, today we hear from Bowen Gillings, president of Pikes Peak Writers. Look for the Prez Says Column each quarter as Bowen continues to keep Pikes Peak Members informed.

Report on the December 2017 PPW Board Meeting
Happy Holidays! Pikes Peak Writers is about to close the books on another exciting and educational year. My heartfelt thanks to all of the amazing volunteers who have taken time away from their families, friends, and (heaven forbid) their writing to keep PPW going. You make this organization great. I wish for each of you a merry wrap-up to 2017 and a great and Happy New Year.
Your Board of Directors met twice in December. The first meeting covered necessary tasks for upgrading and maintaining our web presence. Our outstanding web team vetted several options for web hosting, membership management and event management software, and website migration. The Board eliminated some choices before our Conference Director ran a few demos with the software. The bottom line is that PPW will soon have a better system for member management, workshop and event submission, Conference and Zebulon registration, and blog functions. Yippee!
The second meeting determined our operational budgets for 2018. Several exciting decisions were made to include allocating more funds for volunteer appreciation, non-conference events, and social media. We approved spending for the new software and web migration. We also approved funds to provide honoraria for presenters at our monthly Write Brain events--something many of us believe has been a long time coming.
On a personal note, I am happy to announce that the Board approved funds to buy books published by PPW member authors. The goal here is two-fold: 1) motivate authors to use our events page so that we can publicize and support their book releases and 2) show PPW’s support of our members by paying for a copy of their new books then giving those books away at PPW events. This proposition is for both traditionally published and independently published member authors.
Next year promises to be our best yet. The Writing is Art event in partnership with Cottonwood Center for the Arts begins its showing in March. If you are interested in contributing to this event, go to the Special Events tab on our website,, and click on Writing is Art. There is still time to submit before the December 31st deadline.
Our Write Your Heart Out event in February is shaping up. This is our annual free preview of faculty presenting workshops at our 2018 Conference.
The Pikes Peak Writers Conference runs from April 27-29 and looks to continue its tradition of excellence. PPWC keynotes will be Jim Butcher, Laurell Kaye Hamilton, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Jonathan Maberry. PPWC boasts outstanding workshops and the return of our attendees’ favorite improvisational writing event, Write Drunk, Edit Sober. Please, drink responsibly, but write recklessly.
If the price of Conference is the only thing keeping you from registering, fear not! Scholarships are available to help defer costs for those who qualify. Check out for more information.
Thank you for engaging with Pikes Peak Writers. If you have questions about PPW and how it works, please reach out to me. The address is

Thank you.

Bowen Gillings
Pikes Peak Writers

Friday, November 10, 2017

Conference Scholarships - Meet Your Tribe

Pikes Peak Writers provides a limited number of scholarships to our annual conference, thanks to the generosity of donors. We ask those who receive Scholarships to Pikes Peak Conference to share a bit about their experience attending Pikes Peak Writers Conference.
Today, we hear from Roberta Crownover, not only a 2017 scholarship recipient, but a top contender in the 2009 Paul Gilette Writing Contest (now known as the Zebulon).
Scholarship applications for Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 will be accepted from November 15, 2017 through January 15, 2018.  You can find more information here.
If you'd like to donate to our Conference Scholarship fund, you may do so easily via PayPal.

A Kick in the Stomach

So, I was hanging things up on my wall the other day, like you do, and I found my framed certificate for Third Place in the Short Story division of the Paul Gillette Writing Contest at PPWC. The year was 2009.
That kicked me in the stomach. 2009 was only a few years ago. The places I've gone since have been so amazing that I can't believe that since that day in October 2008 when my husband said, "Why don't you submit to this contest?" I've covered the distances and built the words and worlds I have.
"Are you nuts?" (This is probably a PG-13 version of my response. No, no probably about it.) "I don't have anything to submit. I've got days before the deadline. I can't do this." I lay my head down on my desk to contemplate my futile attempts at self-expression.
My husband, being a different kind of anal-retentive personality than I, went to the garage and grabbed a banker's box full of paper, which he proceeded to drop on my office floor, spreading dust mites and mold spores throughout.
"What the hell...?" (It's hard to jar oneself out of a good primadonna moment, ya know?) I said while coughing.
"Your writing. From the last twenty-five years." He leaned against the door jamb and smirked. "Every time you asked me to read something, I saved it."
My eyes narrowed. I considered my options. I could kill him or hug him. The best option was to see what he'd scrounged. His sentencing could wait until I discerned whether his gift was worthy. Outwardly scowling, inwardly piqued, I turned my back on him and began to rummage through my past.

Meeting the Person I Once Was

It's a curious thing, meeting the person I once was. The stories I wanted to tell then are lovely reminders of children's birthdays and bedtime stories. There are also angst-ridden bursts of "I need to scream this and don't know how." Sometimes, the two are interwoven. I found myself, more than once, rocking back on my heels and congratulating my former self for not being as stupid as I remembered me being.
2008. Nearly nine years ago.
It still took me a while to get busy.

Writing with Intent

Writing with intent is a process of learning and exploring. I'm not sure I knew that when I started college at the ripe old age of forty-five. I surely didn't know that when I actively started writing my fiction later.
Like most of us, I have always wanted to be able to say "I am a writer." Like all of us, I believe that I have worthy stories to tell. And like many of us, I doubt my skills.
This is where the circle's ends meet. 2008.
I showed in the short story category. I attended Pikes Peak Writers Conference. It was amazing and terrifying. So many people who all had stories to tell.
I'm not a fast learner. It took some time, some years, and a lot of encouragement for me to begin to believe in my stories and my words.
There were some rough landings. When I had to rewrite the first many pages of my novel to reflect my changed understanding of who the characters were and, importantly, who my audience was, I lost hope. For a while. Until some members of the writing tribe came and kicked me in the butt.
Then, to steal a line from "High Hopes," I picked myself off, dusted myself off, and started all over again.
Every time I did so, I learned. I'd find myself treading deep waters and somehow wade to shore.
That somehow was often through the Pikes Peak Writers Conference and the regular events PPW sponsors.

We Writers Are Not Alone

Perhaps the most important facet of all this for writers to remember is that we are not alone. We do have a tribe. Our tribe is eclectic and sometimes eccentric.  It's not easy to pick us out in a crowd. We might have the tallest high-heels, or be dressed in our jammies. It's possible that we appear to be normal people. We might even think of ourselves as normal. (We writers are allowed our delusions, too, ya know.) But we share our stories.
We share our stories. And, because we want others to remember them, we strive to learn the craft.
2017’s conference was another amazing learning experience. All of the presenters I heard offered me new insight into my work. Listening to Donald Maass opened me up to allow odd moments of discontinuity in my characters’ thinking to permit a different kind of aha for both writer and reader. I’m afraid I’m still better at it in relatively shallow ways, but I’m working on it.
There’s another thing I should mention: I’m more than a little terrified of people not liking my work. But that, too, I’m working on. The tribe is keeping me at it.
And now I have something else to hang on my wall – the best of the best rejection letters. This is getting to be really fun.

Roberta Crownover writes historical fiction and teaches history at a local community college.  Roberta can be found online on Twitter.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Readers, today we share the news of J.T. Evans' Griffin's Feather, an urban fantasy novel that debuted on October 28, 2017.   J.T. is past-president of Pikes Peak Writers and we're pleased to share his news.   Thank you to contributing editor, Kathie Scrimgeour find her on facebook for ensuring that you, our members, are informed of the accomplishments of fellow PPW members.

Congratulations to J.T. Evans on the recent release of his debut novel, Griffin’s Feather (Wordfire Press, 10-29-17, 214 pgs, ISBN: 978-1614756040). You can purchase his book at

Marcus Barber is a two-thousand-year old immortal, a former Roman Centurion who now works as a bounty hunter for supernatural creatures from the ancient world. When he’s not pounding the pavement as a private investigator for mortal clients, Marcus chases down missing mythological creatures for the Ancients. Now, in the heat of San Antonio, Marcus must search for Nemesis's missing Griffin while trying to rescue a melting Ice Pixie from an eccentric collector.

J.T. Evans writes fantasy novels, and also dabbles with science fiction and horror short stories. He is the former president of Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group and Pikes Peak Writers. When not writing, he develops interactive voice recognition systems at the Day Job, home brews great beers, spends time with his family, and plays way too many tabletop games. From West Texas to Montana, J.T. has landed in the Colorado Springs area.
You can find J.T. on his website on Facebook, and on Twitter.  J.T. can be contacted by email at

Monday, October 30, 2017

Readers, today we hear from Bowen Gillings, president of Pikes Peak Writers. This month, Bowen provides a report on Pikes Peak Writers 3rd quarter Board of Directors meeting  Look for the Prez Says Column each quarter as Bowen continues to keep Pikes Peak Members informed and aware.

Report on the September 2017 PPW Board Meeting

Continuing with my goal to keep you, the PPW member, engaged and informed about our terrific organization, I present this latest update on the efforts of your amazing Board of Directors.
The PPW Board met at the end of September to hold our annual elections for various Board positions. You may check out our bylaws (available to the public at to know the necessary process for becoming a member of our Board. It is not very difficult, but does require candidates to honestly depict their qualifications, goals, and reasons for wanting to be part of the Board.

This election brought in new Members at Large Damon Alan and Gabrielle Brown for two-year terms. Our new Vice President is Kameron Claire. She is a regular attendee at PPW’s monthly improve writing event, Write Drunk, Edit Sober, so come by and meet her. Also, Treasurer Charise Simpson will continue for another two years, as will Member at Large Karen Fox.
When I became your President in March, I replaced our Immediate Past President, J.T. Evans, who had 18 months remaining on his term. At that time I felt it improper for me to step into nearly a full term as President without an open election. The position of President was open to the entire PPW membership in September, yet no one submitted his or her name for consideration. So, the Board voted to keep me in place until the September 2018 elections when the position will again be open for a new candidate to serve a two-year term.

For a full look at your current Board of directors, go to These are the people you can reach out to with ideas and concerns regarding PPW.

The Board also took a hard look at our web footprint. In late August, an outstanding trio of volunteers joined forces to become our web team. Todd Gleason heads this group as Webmaster and is supported by Jim Beavers and Liz Jeffries. Together these three have worked with our previous Webmaster to take over the managing and maintenance of our website, our membership database, and our submission portals.  Along with Gabrielle Brown, the new managing editor of our blog, they’re also working to streamline blog functionality as well as our news feed. For a tech noob like me, these seem daunting tasks, but these folks charged right in and set to work.

In the next few months you can expect to see some changes to our site. The team is building proposals to make our site more functional and easier to maintain. With a 100% volunteer workforce, simplicity is key for continued success. The Board will be deciding in November which changes to make and which products to use.

That is it for this installment of Prez Says. If you have questions about PPW and how it works, please reach out to me. The address, again is

Thank you.
Bowen Gillings
Pikes Peak Writers

Friday, October 20, 2017

Today is National Day on Writing. I write because I must. NYT has 650 prompts here  #WhyIWrite

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Is the Time Ripe for Multi-Genre Novels?

Is the Time Ripe for Multi-Genre Fiction?

Today we hear from Steve Janss, who's Dead in a Red Dress can be classified as a dramatic, suspenseful thrilling political spy novel, and more.  Steve shares with us the facts of genres and multi-genres, today and in classical literature.  In addition to working on his second novel, Steve leads the CS Writers group in Colorado Springs.  You can find out more about CS Writers at the end of this post.

What Genre is Your Novel?

"What genre is my novel?  Why, it's a multi-genre techno-thriller!  No wait…  Let me explain…"
If this resembles a conversation you've had, I might not be alone.  Have you ever been told, " 'Multi-' is not a genre -- you have to focus your work into a specific genre, or agents and publishers won't know what to do with you."  In an age when most movies and TV shows cross genre lines at will, combining science fiction, suspense/thriller, and action-adventure onto the latest silver and LED screens, I had to ask myself, "Why is the multi-genre approach still not respected in literary fiction?"
Although puritanical gatekeepers will burn you at the stake for crossing genres in fiction, we writers desire to combine elements of multiple genres in our fiction the same as we see being done in other media.  Doing so provides a rich increase to our creative pallets, and if we like it, our readers might like it, too.

Genre, Subgenre, Microgenre, NanoGenre...?

Classic lists of literary genres typically include comedy, drama, horror, fantasy, realism, romance, satire, tragedy, and mythology.  Naturally, as do all good things which have been analyzed to death, these break down into about 21.3 billion genres, subgenres microgenres, etc., so one must be very careful as to whether or not their protagonist's brown plaid jacket seams were hand-sewn in Surrey using a blanket stitch or in neighboring Berkshire with a wrapped backstitch.  While the truth isn't quite that bad, I recently discovered my first novel, Dead in a Red Dress, isn't the murder-mystery I had envisioned after all, but rather, a multi-genre novel with the following taxonomy:
Genre:  Drama
  • Subgenre:  Suspense Fiction
    • Microgenre:  Crime
    • Microgenre:  Detective
  • Subgenre:  Thriller
    • Microgenre:  Political
      • Nanogenre:  Spy Fiction
Thus, it looks like it's still of just one genre, albeit of multiple subgenres.
Taxonomies of literary genres have grown increasing complex, numbering a couple dozen or so in the middle of the 20th Century to more than 300 today.  If you think that level of hyperfocus is a bit too constraining, you're not alone.  Even so, many writers and most books on writing continue reiterating the same thing:  "Pick a genre and stick with it."  With so many genres out there, however, it's nearly impossible to write a novel that stays in its lane.

Multi-Genre Fiction is Not New

Fortunately, articles such as Considering Alternatives: Multi-genre Literature and Multi-genre Writing (Scully, 2008) remind us that award-winning multi-genre fiction isn't exactly new.  Robert A. Heinlein, for example, has won the Hugo five times, with eleven nominations, even though most of his novels are a mix of science fiction, romance, political, thriller, and even western genres.
So, do you want to allow yourself to be stuffed into a nice, tidy label, or do you want to write about that for which the masses are hungry?  I prefer the latter, and I hope you do, as well.  Even so, we still live in the real world, and if we want to be published, we need to adhere to at least a few standards, including those involving genres.  This doesn't mean that you can't write a book that fits into multiple genres.  You can, and public demand has long been dragging the publishing industry in the multi-genre direction.  Readers like it because it's fun, and people everywhere are usually willing to pay for fun, so until someone crafts a non-purist reason for always coloring within one's genre lines, be creative and pass the popcorn.

About CSWriters:
CSWriters meets for camaraderie, study, and critiques at 6:00 PM every Friday night at Agia Sophia Coffee Shop.  Guest Speaker Jeff Gerke will be joining us to discuss his "Hack Your Reader's Mind," October 27th.  Find CS Writers on Facebook or at to learn more.

Steve Janss went to high school and college in Virginia before serving our nation in the Air Force.  He holds advanced degrees in management and business administration, and has been running CSWriters for nearly three years.  He is currently writing Body on a Cold Beach, the second of five novels in a series.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Sweet Success Celebrates F. P. Dorchak

Do the Dead Dream Book Cover Dorchak“F. P. Dorchak writes like a hot-rodder heading toward a brick wall. Edge of your seat entertainment! I pondered over each of these stories long after I'd finished reading them. That's what great writing is all about!”
Dean Wyant, Co-Founder, Hex Publishers

Monday, September 11, 2017

This is an archive page for Writing from the Peak.  

You can access current Writing from the Peak Blog Posts at Pikes Peak Writers

Friday, September 1, 2017

Letter from the Editor

Well, it is now September. It is with a bit of trepidation I take over the reigns here as Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog. Donnell Bell has been outstanding at ensuring you see timely posts regarding the craft and business of writing and sharing the successes of you, our members. Donnell also, I think, knew everyone. 

But my worry is fleeting. This blog features the input and submissions of more than a few talented individuals. I stand in good company. I'm fortunate to work with a team of talented, dedicated professionals.

I look forward to working with this capable group of Pikes Peak Writers members. Here you will continue to meet members and celebrate in their successes. You’ll see announcements, craft and business advice, relevant pieces, and updates from our President, Bowen Gillings. And of course, you will also have the opportunity to be a part of our blog.

Pikes Peak Writers is here to serve our members. If you’ve got ideas for our blog, or a subject you’d like to see or write about, please share your thoughts. We’re currently accepting individual submissions as well as series ideas. I can be reached at

And remember, becoming a member is easy.  Just head over to and follow the instructions.

A little bit about me - My published works are almost entirely nonfiction - textbook credits, studies for the federal government, research papers, technical writing, and a few random poems. I've been compelled to write stories, poems, and song lyrics since I could hold a crayon, and I've recently made the leap from leisurely to serious fiction writing. I've blogged, designed websites and done a bit of development work for many years, primarily as a volunteer for non-profit groups. Since I’ve benefited from reading the PPW Blog for timely relevant posts, I'm thrilled to be at the helm.

PPW Blog and website will be undergoing some changes in the next few weeks.  We are working to complete the process as seamlessly as possible. Still, you may see differences in appearance and format, some of which could be temporary. Ultimately, the changes we’re making will improve functionality and virtual visibility of Pikes Peak Writers.  

Gabrielle Brown, Managing Editor of Pikes Peak Writers Blog, is an engineer by trade and a writer by passion.  Her published works included government studies, textbook credits, and NIOSH and OSHA reports.  Gabrielle currently writes humorous short stories, poetry, and literary fiction. Gabrielle has extensive experience in web design, management, and maintenance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Pikes Peak Writers September Events

Pikes Peak Writers September Events

Write Drunk, Edit Sober - September 13

Second Wednesday of every month 
6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Bar K 
124 E Costilla St. 
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

Join Deb Courtney for Write Drunk*, Edit Sober on the second Wednesday of every month. We start at 6:30 PM will run until approximately 9 PM in the lower level of Bar K in downtown Colorado Springs.

The basic format is improv writing followed by discussion of critical techniques useful in unpacking improv responses in order to further develop them.

Bar K is located on Costilla, between Tejon and Nevada.
This event is no host, which means Pikes Peak Writers will not be providing the drinks. Alcohol/soft drinks are available for purchase. There is no food service; owners have graciously agreed to allow outside food/snacks. Please be courteous and leave no messes.

This event is only open to writers who are at least 21 years old.

Hope to see you there.

* Pikes Peak Writers does not endorse or approve of drinking to excess. Please, if you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, drink responsibly.

September Write Brain – Never Plead “No Contest” Again!

6:15 PM to 8:15 PM
Library 21C
1175 Chapel Hills Dr. 
Colorado Springs, CO 80920

What: Never Plead “No Contest” Again!

Who: M.B. Partlow

When: September 19th, 6:15 – 8:15pm – Note: earlier start time

Where: Venue@21c (upper floor, to the right if coming in the upper entrance) of Library 21c, 1175 Chapel Hills Dr. Colorado Springs, CO 80920

More Information: Entering the Zebulon (or any) writing contest can be a rewarding endeavor or an exercise in frustration. This workshop is all about how to improve your chances in a writing contest, with specific attention paid to our very own Zebulon. First, we’ll cover the basics–opening dates, deadlines, rules, entering, scoring. Then we’ll move on to the meat of the matter: what separates successful entries from unsuccessful efforts. After analyzing details from past  contests, we’re going to share the most common errors that knock down scores, and share tips on how to prevent them. We’ll talk about paying attention to details, what genre means (or should mean) to you, and how to make the query letter a strength instead of a weakness. If time allows, we’ll split into small groups and discuss individual query letters. If you have one needing feedback, bring a couple of copies.

If you’d like another reason to attend, we will give away TWO free contest entries that night! 

About the Presenter: MB Partlow tries to inject her off-center sense of humor into everything she does. She writes mostly in the speculative fiction world, with forays into mystery and women’s fiction. Her first paid writing gig was for the A&E department of The Independent. She’s also written a parenting column for Pikes Peak Parent and spent years writing restaurant reviews for the Indpendent and The Gazette. She’s a longtime volunteer for PPW, having done everything from stacking chairs to Conference Director to serving on the board. She reads voraciously across genres, and thinks making up stories for a living is the greatest job in the world.

Want to Connect?: Click here for the Facebook Event Page.

FREE Writer’s Night - Sep 25

6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Kawa Coffee 
2427 N Union Blvd.
Colorado Springs, CO 80909

Writers’ Night is two full hours of discussion, laughter, and fun with other local members of Pikes Peak Writers.

The direction of the meeting is decided by the participants and can include discussions about query letters, obtaining and working with an agent, writing conferences, or other specific points of the craft.  If nothing else, we talk about books!

If you have any questions, or if there is a specific topic you’d like to get on the agenda, send an e-mail to the host, Damon Smithwick, or call him on his cell phone at 719-464-5336.

Meetings are scheduled to start at 6:30 and run until about 8:30.  These are drop-in meetings, so feel free to attend all or just part of them.

See you soon!

Host: Damon Smithwick

Damon Smithwick is a long time Pikes Peak Writers attendee at various events. He took over for the PPW Writers’ Night in January of 2017.  

Inpactful Quotes and Adieu

Over the last two years I've been showered with wonderful articles and learned much as your editor for Writing from the Peak. There's truly a stable of information in this blog, I hope readers (particularly writers) will refer to it often and learn much from its pages. Still, as editor, I think one of the most inspiring times was when I went hunting for a weekly quote for Quote of the Week and the Week to Come. I rummaged through my archives and found a few of my favorites. They inspired me, and I hope they will inspire you as well.  Enjoy!  ~ Donnell Ann Bell  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Inside Directing a Writers Conference

Editor's Note: So impressed by this article. This should be added to the Writing Conference Director's Bible. 

By: MB Partlow

Although many might think so, conference directing is not all tasting menus, telling people what to do, and sipping mimosas with the agents and editors.

I’ve worked on the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in various capacities for the past ten
years, with one turn in the hot seat in 2015 as its Conference Director.

What’s the secret to a successful turn directing a big, four-day conference without losing your nerve, your hair or your health? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you the real inside secrets.

Surround yourself with good people. That doesn’t necessarily mean people who will agree with every idea you have, but rather people who will share your vision, make good decisions, rein you in when you get punchy, and are willing to admit when they need some help with a particular task. People who don’t freak out under pressure are a bonus. Treasure them.

That is not to say you need a conference committee made of your best friends, or full of people who are just like you. First, that would be boring. Second, and most important, if you’re all that much alike, you’re probably going to share all the same weak spots. You need people who can provide support in areas where you’re weak.   

A perfect example is social media. I know it’s important, but I also know very little about how to create it or manage it. So I found a couple of folks who knew what they were doing, and I listened to them. While I had veto power over, say, Facebook announcements, I didn’t exercise that by nit-picking. I made big picture suggestions and let them get their design on, because that was their strength.

Learn what the budget is, and what parts are flexible and which are not. Think long and hard about what’s important to you, and what’s going to be important to your attendees. All that swag in the conference bags? You have to pay for that. And for the bags themselves. Cute and kitschy doodads may look fun, and you may say $2.49 per item isn’t a lot, but multiply that by 350 people. Is it worth $871.50 of your swag budget?

Do. Not. Gossip. Not ever. Not about your conference committee, and certainly not about any of your faculty. You probably have a friend or a spouse who already listens to you vent, so they can probably handle a little more. While everyone should feel free to come to you, as director, to vent, it should all roll uphill. Disseminate vital information, but keep it professional.

That word, professional. You can’t go wrong with approaching everyone from the guy bussing the tables in the banquet room to the keynote speaker (and everyone in between) in a professional manner. Be friendly, and be yourself, but remember that you are setting the standard for attendees and committee members. Oy, it’s like parenting that way. You may need to lower your snark and/or sarcasm volume, which is really difficult for some of us.

The director bears the ultimate responsibility for the conference, and that includes the inevitable mistakes. No, you can’t throw a committee member under the bus. A conference director has to be able to apologize sincerely, and then move on. This is one thing I learned as director that has served me well in regular life. When you’ve wronged someone, apologize and mean it. Do what will make it right, then keep moving forward. No need for prolonged hand-wringing or self-flagellation. We’re all human.  

Keep all the lines of communication open. Be honest with your people, and provide as many details as you can, whenever you can. And for crying out loud, if you don’t know the answer, admit it and then find the answer. Your people want the conference to be as successful as you do, and they don’t need a load of baloney. Treat them like responsible, professional adults, or (gasp) the way you would like to be treated.

Enjoy the ride. A lot of people are putting a lot of time and energy into this project right along with you, and hopefully you’ll be buoyed and inspired by the energy around you. No mistake, this job is hard work and requires a lot of time and attention to detail, but putting it together and pulling it off is a rush.

Last but certainly not least, thank and praise all those people helping you. When someone congratulates you on a great conference (something we all hope for), your first response had better be, “I couldn’t have done it without my conference volunteers. They worked their butts off for this and did a fabulous job.” Because everyone I’ve worked with at conference? Does work hard. Does deserve more praise. And made being Conference Director one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

About the Author: MB Partlow tries to inject her off-center sense of humor into everything she does. She writes mostly in the speculative fiction world, with forays into mystery and women’s fiction. Her first paid writing gig was for the A&E department of The Independent. She’s also written a parenting column for Pikes Peak Parent and spent years writing restaurant reviews for the Indpendent and The Gazette. She’s a longtime volunteer for PPW, having done everything from stacking chairs to Conference Director to serving on the board. She reads voraciously across genres, and thinks making up stories for a living is the greatest job in the world.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Quote of the Week and the Week to Come

Source: Wikipedia & Google

Sidney Sheldon (February 11, 1917 – January 30, 2007) was an American writer and producer. He came to prominence in the 1930s, first working on Broadway plays and then in motion pictures, notably writing the successful comedy The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer (1947) which earned him an Academy Award. He went on to work in television, where his works spanned a 20-year period during which he created The Patty Duke Show(1963–66), I Dream of Jeannie (1965–70) and Hart to Hart (1979–84). He became most famous after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling romantic suspense novels, such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980). He is the seventh best-selling fiction writer of all time.

This week on Writing from the Peak

Aug 28          Inside Directing a Writer’s Conference by MB Partlow

Aug 30          Exiting Editor’s Favorite Quotes

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sweet Success Celebrates Michelle Major's RITA Award

In July Michelle Major attended Romance Writers of America's annual conference where she was nominated for the prestigious RITA award, RWA's highest achievement among published authors. No surprise to many, she won her category for Christmas on Crimson Mountain. Well done, Michelle! May your stories continue to entertain readers for years to come. 

Michelle holding her RITA 

Peace and quiet—that's all Connor Pierce wanted from the rented cabin on Crimson Mountain. Yet the caretaker turned out to be lovely April Sanders—a total distraction. As were the two little girls she was caring for. Connor's plan to forget his painful past soon detoured into giving the ladies a Christmas to remember. 
Being named guardian of two motherless girls has upended April's world. Add to the mix a mysterious, brooding writer claiming he wanted to be left alone while going out of his way to bring a little joy to the girls, and she has quite the quandary. April had counted herself out of a happy ending. But maybe Santa still had a few surprises up his merry old sleeve… 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Pikes Peak Writers President's Report -- The Prez Says

By: Bowen Gillings

When I became your president in March, one of my key interests was keeping PPW membersPrez Says blog is intended to do just that. Once per quarter, following our Board meeting, you will receive a summary of what occurred, what decisions were made, and how we are moving forward.
informed about the workings of their organization. The
Please understand that, as a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, this organization is governed by bylaws. Those bylaws are intended to protect individual members as well as our organization. Therefore, some of what occurs at Board meetings cannot be shared. Still, it is my hope that keeping our members informed will help draw in new volunteers and new ideas to help the organization grow.
This last meeting covered a broad range of topics from financial reports to getting new signs for our various monthly events.
The success of April’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference has given us a path for our next one in 2018. However, several key positions on the Conference Steering Committee need to be filled. Please, if you love attending Conference and are planning on going in 2018, why not help out as a volunteer? Check out for opportunities. Some positions come with big discounts on the cost of Conference!
Angie Hodapp
June’s half-day event with Angie Hodapp also proved a great success and the Board is looking into the possibility of conducting events like these more often, perhaps quarterly. To do this, we once again need volunteers to help out. If you’d like to see more big events more often and have the wherewithal to help see them done, contact me via email at If you have an idea for an event you’d like to see, be sure to visit our workshop request page and fill out the brief form at
A big issue discussed this past meeting concerned our vacancies in key positions within PPW. Aside from Conference, PPW needs volunteers to keep itself functioning. One shortfall we have right now is the need for a qualified webmaster. Our current one is stepping down after having given us great service for the past few years. My goal as president is to create a web team around any webmaster serving PPW. Right now, we have two talented individuals who are helping out with the website, but neither can take on the full duties of webmaster. If you are a talented web guru, work well as part of a team, and can take vague direction from a non-tech savvy president, then we need you!
Other vacancies include a volunteer coordinator to help keep PPW up to date with its members and a new facilitator for our monthly Open Critique sessions. Pay attention to our website and social media as a fun, informational social event is coming up in late August. There will be door prizes! For more information on all of our needs, check out
 Next month we hold our annual Board Elections. Several positions will be up for election this time. Those include President, Vice President, and a few Member-at-Large vacancies. Normally, President and VP elections are offset by a year. However, due to the circumstances of my becoming President, it’s only fair to allow other qualified candidates to submit their names for the position this year, knowing that the position of president will be up for election once again in 2018. If you are interested in running for a position on the PPW Board, send a formal, one-page letter stating your interest and a short resume of your qualifications for the position to A selection committee then forwards candidates to the Board for the vote in September.
Two other items of note at this meeting was the approval of Laura Hayden as a Board Liaison. This is a non-voting position and one that allows us access to Laura's experience and insight as one of PPW’s founding members. We also discussed the power of our social media presence, particularly PPW Connect ( PPW Connect is a great place to seek out other writers should you be looking for a critique partner, have questions about the craft, the business, or just want to get opinions on some of your literary ideas. Check it out if you have not already.
That is it for this installment of Prez Says. If you have questions about PPW and how it works, please reach out to me. The address, again is
Thank you.

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 is President of Pikes Peak Writers. 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 rollercoaster ride of his first novel about a disgraced soldier and pregnant sorceress fighting their demons in a fantastical version of the French and Indian War.  

Monday, August 21, 2017

Non-Conference Events: Who Are We & What Can We Do For You?

By: Linda Tschappat

So, as a Pikes Peak Writers member, or future member, you probably already know about the fantastic writing conference we hold each April, right? Affectionately known as PPWC, it's an amazing experience, jam-packed with all things you need to learn for your writing career, with friends both known and new, and all kinds of fun. It's four or five days of networking, kibitzing with other authors, keynote speakers, editors, and agents, forging friendships, and soaking up as much knowledge as you can. Definitely not to be missed.

But what about the other 360 days of the year? One cannot learn all you need to know in five days. Did you know there are events, and learning, and fun, all year long? Dubbed Non-Conference Events (NCE), these mini events are held at various times to help you along every step of your career. Here's a snapshot of what we offer:

Write Your Heart Out - Held each February, this is a FREE half-day event designed as a Conference sneak peek. Six speakers from the upcoming PPWC faculty present a mini version of their material, covering a wide range of topics to help further your writing career.

Writers' Night - A fun, informal night of conversation, support, and sharing. Typically held on the fourth Monday, this is an open and free-form discussion on all facets of writing specifically or books in general.

Open Critique - This is an excellent way to get positive, non-judgmental feedback on your writing. A small group of writers along with the host and a guest critique offer suggestions on how to tighten and polish your masterpiece. Held on the first Wednesday, email to reserve your spot for the next meeting.

Write Drunk, Edit Sober - Our newest event held the second Wednesday of each month, join our host and other writers for improv writing prompts aimed at jump starting your writing creativity and honing your skills. Alcoholic drinks, while available for purchase, are not required for attendance and participation.

Write Brains - A free conference format workshop held each month on a variety of topics from the craft of writing to the business and marketing side of your career. Typically held the third Tuesday of each month, speakers from all skills and publishing levels share their knowledge and expertise.

          Do you have an idea for a Write Brain Workshop that you'd like to share? As NCE Director, I use the same Proposal Portal as the Conference to choose the speaker and topics each month. Please consider adding your idea and presentation information to share your knowledge with our members. Feel free to email me at
Half-Day Paid Event - This is a Deep Dive format, usually on a single topic, designed to give in-depth information to improve your writing skills, increase your knowledge, and further your career. Typically, an annual or bi-annual event, this is an excellent opportunity to attend an extra workshop modeled like the Conference Prequel.

PPW also participates in other events throughout the year, such as Mountain of Authors, Mini-Maker Faire, and Mile-Hi Con.

Ask not what PPW can do for you; ask what you can do for PPW

Okay, so that's kind of silly, but no less true. Did you know that one of the best ways to grow
in your writing career is to help others get where you are or where you want to be? One of my favorite quotes by Earl Nightingale, "A candle is not diminished by giving another candle light." PPW offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities for all skill levels. You don't need to be an expert to get involved; all you need is a positive attitude and a willingness to help.

PPW and NCE are currently in deep need of help in a variety of positions of which most do not require a huge time commitment. True, there are positions available that do take more time, such as the openings on the Board, but none require prior experience, rather simply the desire to get involved. Training for any volunteer is provided, so don't think you have to know it all or do it all on your own. We're here to help and support you as you help and support us. Here's a short, and probably incomplete list of current openings that are PPW in general, not specifically tied to the annual conference, which also has a list of openings available:
·       President - Board position
·       Vice President - Board position
·       Webmaster
·       Member at Large - Board position
·       NCE Director - Board position, (Assistant also a possibility)
·       Open Critique Host - (NCE)
·       Assistant hosts for each of the monthly events - (NCE)

About the Author: Linda Tschappat joined PPW last September, training to be NCE Director, officially taking over the title in April. As a mom and crazy workaholic, she is currently looking to train someone as NCE Director, or an assistant to help plan the monthly and special events. Though still non-published, she's a perfectionist who stubbornly refuses to give up writing. She enjoys a variety of genres and age groups, currently working on a YA Urban Fantasy / Greek Mythology series and others including a Time Travel Regency Romance and MG Fantasy. Connect with her online at or email at