Rocky Mountain Writer #95

Alice Kober - 2017 Honored Guiding Member

Two years ago, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers started a new tradition of recognizing Honored Guiding Members, those individuals who have significantly contributed to the success of the organization over the years. Honorees are selected for their talent and abilities, as well as the leadership they've shown.

This year, it’s Alice Kober.

Alice Kober has been a member of RMFW for over 20 years.

She has volunteered for numerous jobs, including Conference Chair and RMFW President. She was given the Jasmine Award in 2005 to honor the long-term service of individuals to the organization.

On the podcast, Alice reflects on her early years with RMFW and also give us a sneak peek about the workshop she’ll be giving at this year’s conference, about the importance of book covers.

Alice should know. She currently works for the Arapahoe Library District, where she buys both print and e-book fiction for one of the best library districts around.

Local writers please note – Alice particularly loves buying books by Colorado authors.

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #94

Curtis Craddock & An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors

Many times on the podcast we’ve had examples of patience and hard work, and this chat with Curtis Craddock is proof again of the notion that you just need to keep writing and keep getting better.

It also doesn't hurt to attend Colorado Gold. Again, we’ve had stories in the past about chance meetings at the conference and again a very random encounter put Curtis Craddock together with the right editor and that informal meeting led to the publication, later this month, of An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, the first book in a series.

Kirkus has already raved and the Washington Post picked Curtis’ debut as one of the top three science fiction and fantasy books of the month.

Curtis Craddock was born in the wrong century and quite possibly on the wrong planet. He should have been born in a world where gallant heroes regularly vanquish dire and despicable foes, where friendship, romance, wit, and courage are the foundations of culture and civilization, and where adventure beckons from every shadow.

Instead, he was born on Earth and lives in a world bounded by bureaucracy, hemmed in by cynicism, and governed by the dull necessity of earning a wage. An exile in this world, he is a biographer of friends he’s never met, a chronicler of events that never happened, and a cartographer of places that never were.

Given that the mundane world supplies a dearth of oddly progressive kingdoms to be saved, he spends his time saving cats, dogs, and the occasional bird of prey. By day, he teaches Computer Information Systems classes to offenders at a correctional facility. By night, he puts on his writer’s cap, the broad-brimmed one with a feather, and, into the prison walls of reality, etches defiant words of legend.

Curtis Craddock's website

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #93

Fleur Bradley & The Double Vision Trilogy

This interview with Fleur Bradley, a.k.a. F.T. Bradley, was recorded one day before the news circulated that all spots at RMFW's Colorado Gold Conference in September are now taken.

If you’re going to the conference, this chat with Fleur will give you a taste of the three workshops she is presenting—one each day at the three day conference. One about marketing your works, one that will provide an overview of the children’s fiction market, and one about the advantages of using plot points as you write.

Fleur also chats about her Double Vision trilogy, a middle-grade spy adventure that Library Journal calls “"a must-read for mystery fans, including reluctant readers.”

Fleur Bradley is the author of numerous short crime stories, and she manages a freelance writing career along with various other writing projects in the works.

She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and two daughters, and entirely too many cats.

Fleur Bradley's website

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Ocean Liner or Toy Boat?

Your book launch is like a ship christening, right?

Pomp, circumstance. The whole bit.

You invite as many people as you know, including every stranger you encounter in the weeks leading up.

You bash yourself a little bit for not doing a better job of keeping your email lists tightly organized over the years.

And, of course, you buy a jeroboam of Veuve Clicquot Brut and a long rope and you make a big deal out of the moment.

Well, I’m here to echo what Nathan Lowell wrote on the blog last month.

Yes, a good launch is swell. It feels good. But it’s not a bad idea to think about the long-term, too.

Pace yourself.

Book clubs, bookstore visits, blog interviews, radio interviews, literary conferences, genre conferences, library talks, on and on. Can you find one feature event or two every month for the next couple of years? (Investing in a publicist can help you generate ideas and leads.)

You never know.

Sure, it's not all wonderful. I’ve been there in empty and nearly-empty library conference rooms—even after weeks of promotion and large posters hanging by the library doors for weeks leading up. I’ve been to bookstore talks with a couple of readers. I once drove 400 miles to a book signing and the ONLY person who came to the store on purpose was a student who needed to interview somebody for a college class. (Though I did sign bunch of stock for the store and had another, more successful event on the same trip.) My good friend Linda Hull and I decided to do a joint library talk in Aurora about a year ago and our only attendee was our mutual pal (and writer; and book fanatic) Dean Wyant.

But if you believe in your book, it’s more than the launch. Its sheer existence represents an opportunity to get out and go find readers.

A couple months ago, out of the freaking blue, I got an email asking if Greenwood Village and Arapahoe Libraries could feature Lake of Fire for their first-ever “Village Read.”

Soon, the creative folks at Arapahoe Libraries had eight (count ‘em, eight!) events lined up and a fair amount of incredible publicity buzzing around a book that came out … two years ago. I am giving a few talks and the organizers are putting together some community events related to themes from my story—a forager, experts in fighting forest fires, a real-life female huntress. There’s an opening event. There's a closing event featuring a bluegrass band a tequila tasting (because tequila is the preferred beverage of my main character, Allison Coil). They also organized an a-m-a-z-i-n-g art show at Greenwood Village City Hall that will hang for about eight weeks--and all the art (photographs, painting, and mixed media too) are pieces inspired by Lake of Fire. 

Holy smokes!

Why? Why me? How did I get chosen for this incredible opportunity? I had to ask.

And the word came back—because I had done some talks in the Arapahoe Library district and, well, the reviews were good.

I guess the lesson is that your launch is the day of the release—you are sending your baby out into the world. At that point, you likely feel like you’ve put as much work into the story as if you built an ocean liner yourself with a hammer and a wrench.

So, why not smash a bottle of champagne?

But also think of your book as a little toy sailboat. You stretch out on your stomach at the end of the dock and lower the boat into the water with two hands.

You give it a little nudge.

Then, you watch it bob in the ripples and catch a little breeze.

++

Complete list of "Village Read" events are here:

Rocky Mountain Writer #92

Heather Webb & Deep Revision

"Deep Revision - Making the Good Even Better" is the title of a master class being taught by Heather Webb at the RMFW Colorado Gold conference in September.

On the podcast, Heather talks about the topics she’ll cover in those four hours of in-depth learning.

Heather also gives us a peek at books she has coming out later this year and early next. The first is an epistolary love story she co-wrote with Hazel Gaynor called Last Christmas in Paris. The second is a re-telling of The Phantom of the Opera called The Phantom’s Apprentice.

Heather Webb is the author of historical novels Becoming Josephine and Rodin’s Lover, which have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, Elle, France Magazine, and many more. Rodin’s Lover was a Goodreads Top Pick in 2015. To date, Heather’s novels have sold in ten countries. She is also a professional freelance editor, foodie, and travel fiend.

Heather's website.

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #91

Corinne O'Flynn & Ghosts of Witches Past

Corinne O’Flynn is the unflappable conference chair for RMFW’s big three day conference, Colorado Gold, coming right up in early September.

But of course, she is also a writer of fantasy and mystery.

So this time on the podcast we have a dual-purpose interview, to catch up with Corinne’s writing and find out about the new features and some of the guests arriving from all over the country and, in fact, world for Colorado Gold.

Corrine’s latest book is the start of a series and it’s called Ghosts of Witches Past. Corinne tells us what inspired the story and talks about building and managing a large email list. She also reveals her approach writing, which boils down to one simple goal--taking the reader for a ride.

Corinne O’Flynn is the USA Today bestselling author of fantasy and mystery books. She's the author of The Expatriates fantasy-adventure series, Witches of Tower Hill paranormal suspense series featuring the award-winning Ghosts of Witches Past, the Aumahnee Prophecy urban fantasy series, which she co-writes with Lisa Manifold, and the Half Moon Girls murder-mystery series. She is also a publisher with Wicked Ink Books, whose titles include the award-winning TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time and their latest release, OFF BEAT: Nine Spins on Song.

Corinne is a native New Yorker living in Colorado who wouldn’t trade life in the Rockies for anything. She is a self-proclaimed scone aficionado, a professional napper, and she has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea.

When not writing, she can be found hanging with her husband and their four kids, playing board games, knitting, reading, or binge watching some fabulous shows (while sipping tea)

Corinne O'Flynn's website.

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #90

Mario Acevedo & University of Doom

Writer Mario Acevedo has written what he considers to be his favorite book.

It’s called University of Doom and it’s a young-adult thriller from Hex Publishers.

On the podcast, Mario talks about the fairly wild premise of University of Doom, featuring thirteen-year-old Alfonso Frankenstein and his father Eugino.

Mario also fills us in on what he calls a re-boot of the Felix Gomez series, and all of his other editing, writing and other artistic endeavors, too, including painting.

Mario’s latest Felix Gomez vampire-detective novel is Rescue From Planet Pleasure. His short fiction has appeared in several anthologies including Nightmares Unhinged and CyberWorld. Mario's novel Good Money Gone, co-authored with Richard Kilborn, won a best novel 2014 International Latino Book Award.

Mario edited the 2016 RMFW short story anthology, Found, which went on to win a Colorado Book Award this year.

Mario serves on the writing faculty of Regis University and Lighthouse Writers Workshops.

Mario's website.

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Independence Day

I grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

The first house where we lived happened to be on the same road that Paul Revere followed on his famous ride.

My parents used to wake us up on April 19 to watch the re-enactment of the ride. It was late, but I'm not sure if it was midnight. Horseman would stop at the Hartwell Farm, almost directly across the street from our house.

Shouting. Clop-clop. Very cool.

Revolutionary war history was all around us—in Lincoln, Concord and Lexington. And I always thought July 4 was a blast. Who wouldn’t? Parades and fireworks, right? Ah, Boston.

So … Independence Day. Yes, the colonies declared their independence on July 4, 1776 but the struggle was far from over.

For you fiction writers, I have some questions for you.

About independence. And your characters’ struggles.

How independent is your main character?

Who does he depend on? And for what?

Does she want to rebel? If so, against what? Or whom?

Is he someone else’s millstone?

Is she toxic to a certain relationship? Or fear the toxin from a certain other?

Would he be okay living on Mars, alone, for a month?

Would she like to live alone on an island? Or does she cherish a ride in a jam-packed subway in Manhattan?

Does he feel secure in every relationship? Which ones make him queasy? For which moments does he wear a mask? Steel himself? Become someone else?

Does she hide the need for others around to make her feel complete? Why?

Does he wear a shackle? What kind? How well is made? Will it keep him from doing what he needs to do in the course of the story? What will it take to shake off those shackles?

What about family? Blood family and other kinds, too? Has her family encouraged her independence? Or does mom still helicopter around?

Independence is a funny concept. Even as a country today—are we independent? Completely? What does it mean? How much freedom does this country have to do anything it might want?

How much freedom do your characters feel each and every day? How much freedom do they want?

When called upon to act, and let’s hope your story requires them to do something, how much freedom will they have to get the job done?

Think about your favorite characters—what role does independence play? What will it take to make them feel like lighting up the sky with fireworks?

Paul Revere was the third of twelve children.

Why him?

You get the idea.

Some musings.

Happy Fourth.

Rocky Mountain Writer #89

Peter Eichstaedt & Borderland

Peter Eichstaedt has written non-fiction books based on his reporting all over the world, from Kosovo to Armenia, Afghanistan and Uganda (among other stops).

He also published a book called The Dangerous Divide: Peril and Promise on the US-Mexico Border and that title won the 2015 International Latino Book Award for Best in Current Affairs.

It might not come as much of a surprise, then, that Peter’s first novel is a thriller called Borderland and it’s set on the US-Mexico Border, among other locations.

Borderland, published in March by Wild Blue Press, features reporter Kyle Dawson.  On the podcast, Peter tells us about his first novel and making the switch from covering stories to making them up.

Peter Eichstaedt's website.

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

Rocky Mountain Writer #88

Denise Vega - Writing for Teens and Toddlers

An interview with award-winning Denise Vega, who writes for teens and toddlers.

Denise talks about what inspired her to write for young adults, how she keeps current with the world of teenagers, and how she draws from her own high school experience for the right emotional connections.

Denise is the award-winning author of seven books including Click Here, Access Denied, Fact of Life #31, and Rock On. Her picture books include her latest: If Your Monster Won't Go to Bed.

Both Click Here and Fact of Life #31 won the Colorado Book Award; Rock On was a finalist.

Denise is a former Co-Regional Advisor of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI and she’s on the faculty at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She is also a Young Adult Faculty Mentor for the Regis University MFA Creative Writing program.

Denise Vega's website.

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com