Mark Stevens is the author of the Allison Coil Mystery Series--Antler Dust (2007), Buried by the Roan (2011) and Trapline (2014). Trapline won the 2015 award in genre fiction from the Colorado Authors League and the 2015 Colorado Book Award in mysteries. The fourth book in the series, Lake of Fire, was published in September, 2015. Kirkus Reviews called it "irresistible." More about Mark on his website.
Stuart Horwitz - Finishing Your Book in Three Drafts
This podcast is the first in a series of conversations with key presenters who are coming to Colorado Gold, RMFW’s big annual three-day writing conference, in September.
This time the guest is Stuart Horwitz, who is leading a master class on Friday, Sept. 9 and that workshop follows the approach in his new book, Finish Your Book in Three Drafts: How to Write a Book, Revise a Book, and Complete a Book While You Still Love It. That book is set for publication on June 6 and it’s the third in Horwitz’ Book Architecture trilogy.
Horwitz is founder and principal of a company called Book Architecture. He’s spent over fifteen years helping writers become authors, signing with top literary agencies, sealing deals with coveted publishing houses and forging a successful path through indie publishing.
Stuart Horwitz is an award-winning essayist and poet. He has taught writing at Grub Street of Boston and Brown University. He holds two masters degrees—one in Literary Aesthetics from NYU and one in East Asian Studies from Harvard with a concentration in Medieval Japanese Buddhism.
Registration for Colorado Gold, RMFW's big three-day conference in September, is now open and this podcast provides a thorough preview from conference chair Corinne O’Flynn.
There are several new features to the conference this year including “Hook Your Book” sessions, new options on the master class schedule, an expanded author signing sessions, additional author readings, the mentor room and more. Corinne talks about the two keynote speakers who are on the way and offers suggestions for first-time conference goers.
Corinne O'Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn't trade life in the Rockies for anything. She's the author of The Expatriates fantasy series and the Half Moon Girls mystery novella series.
When she isn't writing, Corinne works as the executive director of a nonprofit. She is a member of RMFW, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and ALLi, The Alliance of Independent Authors.
Specifically, it's an interview with former RMFW Writer of the Year Linda Joffe Hull about her journey of getting involved in both Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Mystery Writers of America.
Last week in New York, Linda was one of the co-presenters at the Edgar Awards for the best novel in juvenile fiction. Her work with writing organizations, however, started with becoming active within RMFW.
Linda Joffe Hull is the author of two standalone novels, The Big Bang (Tyrus Books) and Frog Kisses (Literary Wanderlust). She has also written three books in the Mrs. Frugalicious Mystery series (Midnight Ink) featuring bargain hunter and sleuth, Maddie Michaels: Eternally 21 (2013), Black Thursday (2014) and Sweetheart Deal (2015).
Linda currently serves on the national board of Mystery Writers of America. She is a longtime member and former president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and was the 2013 RMFW Writer of the Year.
That was my question last Thursday night as I sat at the banquet at The Edgar Awards in New York City.
Technically, I got to the banquet because I’m president of Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America (RMMWA).
That slot puts you on the national board for Mystery Writers of America and that means you get to attend a quite swanky event and watch mystery writers pick up the top award in my favorite genre.
But the RMMWA gig only came about because I also previously had the chance to do lots of things with RMFW.
But how did that come about?
Years ago, I’d started going to the monthly workshops on a regular basis. I started asking more questions. I started hanging out. I lingered. And, well, mingled. I started getting to know a few people. And then someone asked if I would like to serve as monthly workshop coordinator. Maybe? Would I?
I won’t belabor every step but suddenly I found myself in the flow of the organization. After a few board meetings, I started to see how the organization functions. Who wouldn’t be impressed by watching so many give so much?
(Don’t worry—this isn’t a ‘please volunteer’ pitch.)
(Of course, it would be fine if you did. RMFW is always in need of new voices. It would give you a chance to linger and mingle.)
By chipping in a little time and effort, showing a bit of care for how RMFW did its thing as an organization, I found it felt good to chip in and help. And then the next thing you know, I’m helping out with the mystery writers group and there you go.
So hold that thought for a second and now see if you agree with me on this (or not).
Writers are friendly people.
As the Edgar Awards banquet was winding down, I hung around. Yes, lingered.
A guy who is, in my world, a pretty darn big name in the mystery writing field came up to say hello. He has won a “best novel of the year” Edgar. His new book (comes out in a few weeks) has already been optioned for film. He’s heading out soon on a national tour.
I’d met him once before at mystery conference, but I mean that “meeting” was 3.5 seconds and done.
Last week the chat was five minutes. Um, maybe ten. He said he knew my name. What? Seriously?
I handed him my business card, which has the cover for Lake of Fire on it and he was surprised. It turns out that was going to be the title for one of his books, a few books ago.
(So glad I beat him to it.)
Well, after chatting for a few minutes he said something along these lines: “If there is anything I can ever do to help you, please let me know.”
So pitching in to help run a few workshops about 10 years ago led me to this conversation with this very well-known writer who is offering me help.
I was telling a non-writer friend about this exchange the morning after the banquet.
She said: “Well, it makes sense, you know, it seems to me that writers have to like people. I mean, if they are going to write about people they have to like them first, be interested in what makes them tick.”
Aimie K. Runyan's first novel, "Promised to the Crown," launches this week. The novel is set in 17th Century France and New France, a.k.a. Canada.
The idea for the book started for Runyan in third grade when she took an instant interest in the French language and soon, an even deeper interest in everything to do with France.
Her interest in France stayed with her through high school and college and it was while working on her Master's thesis on the women who helped found French Canada that she won a generous grant from the Quebec government to study onsite for three months, enabling the detailed research necessary for work on her novel.
On the podcast, Runyan offers tips for guarding your writing time and how she fit work on the novel around raising two small children. She also talks about how she found her agent following a session of Pitch Wars on Twitter and the steps to finding her publisher.
The podcast includes Aimie reading the opening of Promised to the Crown.
This week on the podcast, a two-part preview of Genre Con, a day-long educational event taking place in Golden on Saturday, May 14.
First up is Terri Benson, who serves in a dual capacity as RMFW’s Western Slope liaison and education chair. Terri provides some insights into how Genre Con will run and what attendees can expect from both the morning group session and the afternoon breakout sessions.
Following Terri, Angie Hodapp (Nelson Literary Agency) provides a sneak peak of the morning session, "The Right Stuff – Opening Pages that Lead to Yes."
Besty Dornbusch &
"The Silver Scar"
Betsy Dornbusch writes epic fantasy. She has also dabbled in science fiction and she has written and published short stories that have appeared in over a dozen magazines and anthologies. Her first fantasy novel came out in 2012 and her latest trilogy is wrapping up, after Exile and Emissary, with Enemy, coming soon. She just announced the sale of a new standalone, The Silver Scar, to Night Shade Books.
On the podcast, she talks about the draw of world building and writing fantasy, she reveals the moment on a trip to England that sparked her writing career, and she talks about the benefits of writing short stories as a way to hone your craft.
A Little Bit Every Day I started writing the fifth book in the Allison Coil Mystery Series on Jan. 1, 2014. (Yeah, New Year’s Day. Just Because.) I finished the draft on Monday, March 28. I wrote 500 words a day. That’s 453 days, which would have been 165,433 words if I made forward progress every day. But I needed to back up a few times, re-work a few things. I took a break to write a short story. And another. I finished Draft 1 with 112,000 words, still too many. Lots of cutting to come. What’s my point? 500 words a day isn’t much. It adds up. Do the math.
There’s A Feeling I Get This excellent column by Bob Lefsetz is all about rock and roll. But I thought about writing the whole time. Led Zeppelin went their own way with “Stairway to Heaven.” Their previous album was a dud.
Here’s Lefsetz: “What Led Zeppelin said back in ’71 is that you’re best doing it your way, by yourself, with your peeps, than hiring outside hands to meddle with your vision … That we react to and love most that which is personal and human.”
Lessons Learned I’ve had some excellent podcast guests lately, but check out the one with Eleanor Brown. She had a huge hit with The Weird Sisters. Huge! She was on the road doing promotion for 18 months! And then she wrote three more books that all went pffffft before finding the groove for the one that comes later this year, The Light in Paris.
Much like Led Zeppelin, she listened to her heart. (I guess Tom Petty sang that, too.) Humility, folks. It’s a tough business. Listen.
Her workshop is Saturday, April 30 at Columbine Library in Littleton.
Legends of the Fall Everything they’re saying about Jim Harrison, who died recently, is true.
Read his stuff if you don’t know his work—gritty, singular, raw, honest. I looked up an old review I wrote of his three-novella collection, The Woman Lit By Fireflies.
Anyway, at the bottom of the review I came across a funny exchange with my late pal Gary Reilly and I shook my head (yet again) at Gary’s dry humor. I miss that guy. (Click on the picture to read the exchange.)
The Detachment Speaking of Gary, Running Meter Press is launching The Detachment at The Tattered Cover on Friday, April 15 (Colfax Store) at 7 p.m.
I managed to get advance blurbs from some amazing writers—Stewart O’Nan, Ron Carlson, John Mort, Fred Haefele.
Carlson compared The Detachmentto Catch 22 and that’s a guy who teaches fiction in an elite program out in California. O’Nan (pals with Stephen King and one prolific writer himself) called it a ‘classic.’
Speaking of length, The Detachment is 534 pages. It’s a powerful, heavy book based on Gary’s experiences in Vietnam as a military policeman.
Honors for Gary Speaking of Gary, Pick Up At Union Station (his seventh novel in The Asphalt Warrior series) was named a finalist in literary fiction for the 2016 Colorado Book Award.
That’s three finalist nominations out of that seven-book series.
The other two were Ticket to Hollywoodin 2013 and Doctor Lovebeads in 2014.
The Detachment is the ninth title we’ve published of Gary’s—after seven books in The Asphalt Warrior series and The Enlisted Men’s Club, the first book in his series about Vietnam following Private Palmer.
And Running Meter Press still has about 15 books to go.
Gary wrote more than 500 words a day.
Tethered by Letters
Is Metro Denver and the Colorado Front Range chock full of writer groups?
There’s bound to be one out there to suit your needs.
Here’s a new one I came across last year. Tethered by Letters.
Yes, based here but with connections all over the world, really. One reason I mention them is because they do a great job—web site, online interactions, classes and a literary magazine called F(r)iction.
The other reason to mention them is because they offer pretty good money for flash fiction, short stories, poetry and more. Check ‘em out!
Eleanor Brown is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Weird Sisters, an Indie Next pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a Barnes & Noble Book of the Month.
Later this month, on April 30, Eleanor is giving a free workshop in Littleton, Colorado called "Flammable Characters."
On the podcast she gives us a preview of the “flammable characters” concept and chats about the bumps and roadblocks in her writing career, including writing three whole books before finding the right source of inspiration that would make for a worthy follow-up to first. The Light of Paris will be published in July.
Warren Hammond & The KOP Series, The Tides of Maritinia
Warren Hammond is the author of the KOP series of novels -- KOP, Ex-KOP, and KOP Killer -- as well as the standalone The Tides of Maritinia. The first three mash up mystery and sci-fi, the standalone Tides is more of a spy thriller set in a watery, distant planet.
On the podcast, Hammond talks about the inspiration for the KOP series and getting the rights back and re-publishing them, with new covers from an artist from Italy.
Warren Hammond grew up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Upon obtaining his teaching degree from the University at Albany, he moved to Colorado, and settled in Denver where he can often be found typing away at one of the local coffee shops.
Always eager to see new places, Warren has traveled extensively. Whether it’s wildlife viewing in exotic locales like Botswana and the Galapagos Islands, or trekking in the Himalayas, he's always up for a new adventure.
This podcast includes a reading from The Tides of Maritinia.