Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #8

The Getting to Know You Project is intended to introduce RMFW members with short responses to three questions, a photo, and a few social media links if available. If you would like to participate in the project for future months, please email Pat Stoltey at blog@rmfw.org

Betsy Dornbusch

Website: http://betsydornbusch.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/betsydornbusch
Twitter: http://twitter.com/betsydornbusch
Instagram: http://instagram.com/betsydornbusch

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write epic fantasy and my fourth and fifth novels come out next year. For my next series, I'm merging fantasy with mystery, so that's fun and super scary. I write as my job so I tend to work when the kids are at high school, though business stuff, planning for cons, promo and coughcoughFacebookahem all seem to cut in. Total homebody, so I write in my office on my big antique library table. I plot by synopsis, draft doing constant revisions, and then do one more full pass before I turn it in. After that it's up to my editors, who are much smarter than me about my own stories.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I used to be a professional artist with some success. I have a chronic injury that destroyed my fine motor skills.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Watching the Broncos and my favorite, Von Miller, play football. I've been watching with the same group of friends for several years and we have a lot of fun. ORANGE CRUSH!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Andre Gonzalez

Website: http://andregonzalez.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AndreGonzalezAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Monito0408
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monito0408/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/monito0408/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14644829.Andre_Gonzalez

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write thriller, horror, and a splash of sci-fi. I have been writing since I was 12 after falling in love with Stephen King books. He is by far my inspiration in writing. Working a full time job with a wife and two little ones at home, finding time to write is difficult. I write by hand with my Colorado-made fountain pen as I find it easier to take my book with me instead of carrying around a computer to type on. I can squeeze in some words during my lunch break and before bedtime after the wife and kids have gone to sleep for the night!! My goal in writing is to be able to do it full time, and right now I'm focused on one page at a time to get there! My first book, Followed Home, was released in October and I am enjoying the challenge of getting it in front of readers!

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I wouldn't necessarily call it a fun thing, but I am blessed to have survived the Aurora Movie Theater shooting in 2012. I use a lot of that fear and mix of emotions to drive my writing in what I hope makes it stronger for the readers.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Outside of writing I enjoy many hobbies from baseball, golfing, poker, and of course, spending time with my family and traveling!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Greg Henry

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greg.henry.142

1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

My most recent novels are Young Adult. I love writing across genres in YA: paranormal, fantasy, contemporary. I love creating stories. I’ve been studying writing craft for years, since I wrote my first novel in 1991. I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I’m an unpublished author of thirteen novels that seem to be rejection magnets, but I’m technically published anyhow. That means, an author threw my name on a horrific book that I didn’t write a single sentence in, with the hope that I might help sell it on social media. If only I had any followers, it might have actually been useful.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Spending time with my family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many thanks to Betsy, Andre, and Greg for volunteering for the Getting to Know You Project. If you'd like to participate in future GTKY posts, please email me at blog@rmfw.org

Should We Continue the Getting to Know You (GTKY) Posts?

I would love to continue the Getting to Know You (GTKY) blog posts if we get enough volunteers. Here's one example of a member who was featured in the September 30, 2016 GTKY post:

Janet Lane

Website: http://janetlane.net/
Blog: https://janetlane.wordpress.com/ and RMFW Blog
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/janetlaneauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/janetlaneauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15418008.Janet_Lane

2016_Janet Lane1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write "History, made passionate in medieval England," aka historical romance and women's fiction. It's my passion because I firmly believe that "Amor vincit omnia" -- Love conquers all. I love exploring relationships and making the impossible, possible through my characters. My favorite reviews mention that my writing transports them to my story worlds and makes them care for my characters. I write from my home office at an elevation of 8,300 ft. in Morrison, frequently crashing my husband's home office (better view), and wherever my MacPro and I travel.

2. What is one fun thing few RMFW members know about you?

I directed my community's annual musical production for 22 years, and I ran away from home at 6, 12, and 14. Oh, and my husband, John, and I were married at the Renaissance Festival.

3. What is your most favorite non-writing activity, the one that gives you the greatest joy?

Must I choose one? I love to ski, spend time with my family and new grandson, and play tennis. And I love good treasure finds at estate sales and consignment stores.

 

We also have openings for guest bloggers throughout the year, so consider volunteering for one of those spots as well. Submission guidelines for guest bloggers can be found on the website.

Contact me at blog@rmfw.org and I'll email you the instructions for the GTKY posts.

You must be a Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers member to participate in these opportunities, but it doesn't matter if you're published or unpublished, a long-time member or brand new to the organization. We want you to have a chance to introduce yourself to the membership and get acquainted with other members.

What’s the Scoop on Colorado Gold 2017?

Every bit of information available so far about this year's Colorado Gold Conference can be found on the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers website, conference page.

Conference dates: September 8-10, 2017
The location: Renaissance Hotel, Denver, Colorado

Want to submit a workshop proposal? Start here!

Want to know who the keynote speakers and visiting agents and editors will be or learn all about the conference fees? Hop back to the conference page.

You've probably already heard Diana Gabaldon has graciously accepted the invitation to attend as a keynote speaker. That's enough incentive right there to register as soon as registration opens on May 1st.

There's a Conference Facebook page where you'll find timely announcements and connect with other potential conference-goers.

More information coming soon. Don't forget about those workshop proposals...you can submit between now and March 31st.

 

The RMFW Spotlight is on LS Hawker

Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we’re pleased to present LS Hawker.

2016_ls-hawker1. Hi Lisa! Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I'm the new PAL Coordinator. RMFW has been instrumental in my success as an author and I want to help other writers realize the same success.

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

My newest suspense novel END OF THE ROAD comes out January 31 from HarperCollins Witness Impulse. You can buy it at any online retailer.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish -- what's one of yours?

One that I'm going to realize next summer is to witness a total solar eclipse. Ever since I read Annie Dillard's description in Teaching a Stone to Talk, it's been an obsession.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

As with most areas of my life, I'm a binge writer. I don't write every day. But I'll write up to sixteen hours at a stretch when I'm on deadline. I wish it could be different, but I've come accept that it's part of my process.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

I love traveling, speaking, reading, dreaming — but most of all, I love that I get to write for a living.

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Don't rely on your "talent." Work your ass off learning your craft. Don't wait until you're in your forties, for the love of God.

2016_desk-ls-hawker7. What does your desk look like?

It's an electric adjustable desk so I can sit or stand, with two large monitors. What item must be on your desk? Coffee or bourbon, depending on the time of day, and a quote from Calvin Coolidge about persistence. Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it? A pair of wax lips, a rhinestone tiara, and Story Cubes.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Thanks Lisa!

You can learn more about LS Hawker at her website, blog, and on Facebook and Twitter.

An Imaginary Conversation by Liesa Malik

September 1843 – London, England

Hannah Brown knocked gently on her mistress’ parlor door as she opened it and peeped around, a slight smile hovering on her lips.

“He’s here, Miss Angela.” Hannah had been Miss Angela Burdett-Coutts’ governess, then paid companion for many years, and shared a sense of fun and generosity with her mistress. This afternoon would be a real treat with this special friend come a calling.

England’s richest woman, a mere slip of a girl in her mid-twenties, looked up from her knitting and returned Hannah’s smile. “Why, you must show him in then, Hannah. Oh! Do I look all right?” The young woman smoothed her dress and dark hair almost unconsciously. Hannah nodded her approval and went to fetch their visitor.

“Miss Angela, you look charming as always,” said her young gentleman caller. He bowed over her hand and twinkled into her face. “The autumn air suits you.”

“Nonsense, Charles. You flatter. But do sit, for I adore flatterers. Especially those who bring gossip and good news.” Angela winked, and patted the couch near her. Charles took his seat. Hannah went to fetch tea. “Now, how is our dear Catherine?”

“You mean Kate, my wife? She is well and sends her regards. She’s taking our Charlie for a walk and to the London zoo today, so you and I have our time to talk.”

“Ah. So all is well. Now, Charles, have you completed the quest I set you upon when we last met?”

“So quick to the point, as always, my dear. No on-dit from the court? No noise or famous turn-aways at Almack’s? Well then, I will be as pointed as you, and we shall not draw swords over the matter.”

Angela nodded. “Do proceed, Charles. I must know whether to invest my pounds in my scheme, and you are the only one who can help me decide. Are things as I heard they are in Saffron Hill? Is there hope, or is all lost?” She leaned in and let her perfume settle in the air between them.

“All I can say, my dear madam, is that I am very glad you chose to send me as your ambassador to our most deplorable slum, rather than approaching on your own.” He shook his head and gave a theatrical shudder. “I simply cannot imagine subjecting you to that squalor.”

Angela wrapped Charles on the wrist with her fan. “Oh please, Charles, you behave as if I were one of the China dolls on my shelf, and not your friend in all schemes, up to the pluck for anything. Besides, you tricked me into not going with you. So now you must pay the price by spending the afternoon with me and telling me all you saw. Every bit. Out with it now.”

Charles sighed, shook his head, and stood. “If you insist, dear madam and great friend.

“I went to Saffron Hill, just as you suggested. There I found the streets as narrow as two twigs bound together, and the air thick with soot, and smells worse than any I could describe. There was indeed, in this most obscure and squalid part of the Metropolis, a building open at night for the gratuitous instruction of all comers, children and adults, the Field Lane Ragged School. Oh, Angela, how you would have wept to see it. My recollections as a youth working in a blacking factory pale by comparison.”

Hannah brought in the tea, and the three companions continued their chat.

“Within the walls of the Ragged School, even the rats found it hard to make room for themselves. One could not distinguish between the downtrodden and the criminals, for everyone is treated with the same lack of care and concern. The girls can sit for a while in their room, pretending to absorb what the volunteer teachers have to share, but the boys are as wild as any creature known to man or God. They cannot be trusted with books or civilized supplies.”

“Is there no hope then, Charles? Would it be a useless venture to try to support this school, this area?”

“I think, truth be told, that there is hope. I saw a lad of no more than five or six there. Tiny creature with large eyes and a gentle air. He’s been working since he was three. Chimney sweep, I think. Rickets have him in their grasp. Poor boy’s bones are as fragile and bendable as a willow branch, but he spoke to me of all good things. For him alone, it would be worth your time and money to invest in projects to help the poor of Saffron Hill.

Tears sprang to Angela’s eyes. “Did you bring him out, Charles? Did you help him escape?”

“No, Angela. For every little Timmy is like him. Poor chaps. How could I take one and not them all? Miss Hannah would have her hands full if I brought the wild boys all here.” The ladies smiled at Charles’ absurdity.

“There must be something we can do.” Angela wrung her hangs in desperation.

“I will write and post a report of what I saw,” replied Charles. “Surely, I can persuade the good people of London to care for our poor, and not accuse them. I think The Daily News could use this story."

"Perhaps, Charles. But I think there is a better way for you to reach Londoners. Do you think, my dear friend, you might write a story about the plight of Saffron Hill, in one of your fictions? I have heard that even our new queen, Victoria, reads your stories until midnight.”

“Bah,” said Charles. “That’s a humbug. But for you Angela, I will try. For you and for Tim, and for all who want to see England address the needs of the poor with something better than jails, workhouses, and ragged schools. England must see that we cannot leave a legacy of Want and Ignorance if our great empire is to survive. Yes. I think I shall.”

Good to his word, Charles Dickens began writing A Christmas Carol that month and had completed the story in six weeks. It was first published December 19, 1843.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good write.

The RMFW Spotlight is on Mari Christie

Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we're pleased to present Mari Christie.

2015_Mariana Gabrielle1. Mari, tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I’ve just started as PR Chair, which means I get the word out about RMFW news and events. (Currently looking for social media volunteers…)

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

Right now, my books on sale are historical romance, The Sailing Home Series and a standalone, La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess. I’m also co-writing a serialized Victorian romance posted weekly on Wattpad, Never Kiss a Toad. I am, however, presently moving into mainstream historical, currently working on a Civil War story, Blind Tribute, to come out next year.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

I don’t believe in bucket lists. I try to live in such a way as to avoid regrets at the end of my life. That said, if fantasies count, I would not mind at all if Anson Mount played the lead role in the Paramount Pictures version of Blind Tribute.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

Setting and description. That is always second draft work. Pacing is a hard slog, too, but better than it used to be.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

The writing.

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Start sooner. Don’t be afraid of failing.

7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

My desk is a serious mess. The only things that must be on it are my cats, India and Burton (they told me to write that, but it isn’t really true), and my computer. One thing I’ve had at eye level for years is a brass ingot of a meditating lion.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

I’m currently reading A Bohemian Brigade: The Civil War Correspondents.

Thank you, Mari. We wish you well in your new position with Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog Needs You!

laptop-and-notebook
http://www.1001freedownloads.com

First:  Co-editor Julie Kazimer and I are looking for one new regular monthly contributor to the RMFW Blog. If we have several applicants, you get a bonus point if you're already familiar with WordPress. You receive a second bonus point if you are funny (as in humor writing). And you get more points if you promise to be obsessively on time (as in getting your posts in draft or scheduled at least a week ahead of time). Regular contributors educate and inform, focusing on their writing craft or writing life areas of interest. Self-promotion is minimized. Click here for the current list of contributors.

Second: Starting in January, we also need at least two guest bloggers per month and sometimes more. The submission guidelines are posted under the Blog link on the RMFW website. We'd love to see some new faces on the blog this year. If you're interested now or later, email us at blog@rmfw.org  The guest bloggers are invited to add an author photo and recent release cover art to their posts, but should still aim to educate and inform.

Third:  We need volunteers to participate in the Getting to Know You Project for 2017. For that one, we give you three questions to answer and request an author photo and social media links. Click here for a sample of the GTKY post from 2016.

RMFW Members Only:  Occasionally we feature guest posts by conference keynote speakers, agents or editors, but those are rare exceptions. We want RMFW members for these open blogging positions. Doesn't matter if you're published or not. Doesn't matter whether you opt for traditional publishers or prefer to do it yourself. Doesn't matter what genre(s) you write. Doesn't matter if you write under your own name or a pseudonym.

What's Important: You have something of value to share with the world about writing craft or the writing life. You know your grammar and punctuation. You meticulously proofread your own work. You strive to meet deadlines.

You can contact us by emailing blog@rmfw.org

The RMFW Spotlight is on Terri Benson, Education Chair and Western Slope Liaison

Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we're pleased to present Terri Benson. You can also connect with Terri at her website.

2016_terri-benson1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I am the Education Chair and the Western Slope Liaison, and the western slope events take place where I work so I get the room ready and put together the press releases, etc. I initially stumbled into RMFW from a newspaper ad about a workshop and was so excited to find that there were actually people like me out in the world. I have gotten so much from the group, both in terms of camaraderie and education that I felt I needed to do whatever I could to give back.

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

I am currently working on a new series. It’s a female amateur sleuth who is also a classic car restorer. I’m having fun with the story, but finding I need to be a sneakier person to get enough “mystery” in there to qualify. I have one book out (paperback and ebook), an historical romance, titled An Unsinkable Love which is set half on the Titanic, and half in the New England garment factories.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

I want to travel the world for research – SEE the history that I love to write about. My bucket list would have that at the top, but then several hundred “sub-items” because there are so many places I want to go.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

I get so involved with my characters that sometimes I lose track of what it is they’re actually supposed to be doing, as in the case of the Bad Carma character – solving a mystery instead of having fun restoring all those cool cars. And research. Lots and lots of interesting research often sidetracks me from putting words on paper.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

I can be anyone and do anything I want. I have no limitations on what I can write (that’s not to say anyone will want to read some of it). It is so much fun to decide what I want to know about, and what I have to do to “become” it and how I can make a story from it.

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Read more. Turn off the TV or go somewhere no one can find me and write (and hope my husband doesn’t divorce me).

2016_terri-benson-office7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

The room my desk is in is also the “Christmas present” room, so right now it’s full of bags and boxes of shopping. When it’s usable, I have 4 bookcases full of (mostly read) books, binders of WIP and/or finished manuscripts and research, and a big wall calendar that was supposed to keep me on task and on schedule (but since I’m not in there writing….). I don’t keep much on my desk. I’m not a knick-knacky kind of person – I prefer to have my space pretty utilitarian.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

I’m in the middle of a post-death Sidney Sheldon (written by another author) that a friend gave me, as well as a cozy mystery on my I-pad. I’m really terrible about book names and authors (unless I know the writer). I generally don’t worry so much about who wrote it, if it was a best seller, or that it had all 4 star reviews – it’s usually because the blurb sounds interesting, it’s a genre I like, or a writer I know or have met or who was recommended by someone at Gold/in RMFW. I like finding someone with a style I enjoy – I have a ton of Dick Francis novels because I really like the way he writes.

Thank you, Terri. One of the many services Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers performs for its members (and non-members as well) is education. Thank you for filling that important role of Education Chair and coordinating programs for the Western Slope.

The RMFW Spotlight is on Corinne O’Flynn, Conference Chair

Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we're pleased to finally corral the Colorado Gold Conference chairperson, Corinne O'Flynn. Her focus on Colorado Gold in Denver on September 9-11, 2016 kept her very busy, but she's finally recovering and ready to roll as one of our regular contributors.

2016_corinneoflynn1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I am currently the Conference Chair for Colorado Gold. 2016 was my first year as chair, and I am super excited to be planning 2017 already. Before this, I was Technology Co-Chair with Wendy Howard. Before that, I was an aimless writer. I got involved because I believe in being active in the communities where I belong. It's the best way to meet people and be a part of the momentum. 🙂

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

My most recent publication is TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time, an anthology I did with six other RMFW members through our publishing company, Wicked Ink Books. It recently took home two CIPA EVVY awards! We’re working on the next anthology now. I am also working on PROMISE OF THE SCHOLAR, Book Two of my fantasy series, The Expatriates. You can find my books on my Amazon author page.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists -- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

I am currently working on meditation and making time to mindfully slow down in my life. I operate at a pretty high speed, which is great when there are a lot of balls in the air, but I find moving at this pace is less sustainable as I get older. I would love to make meditation a daily habit, but I struggle with finding time for everything.

4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

Ah... it’s like you saw that coming. My problem in writing and in life is time management. I am incredibly organized but not very disciplined. It’s something I struggle with daily.

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

I love the discovery that comes with writing. Its seems like everything is an opportunity to dig into and develop. And, of course, I love my writing tribe!

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

I’d tell myself not to stress so much about the timing of everything. When I was first starting out I felt this urgency about getting it all done. There was a rush to write, to finish, to query, to enter contests, to publish, and, and... I’d tell myself that the urgency is not real.

2016_oflynn_office7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

I love my office! I am a memento keeper and I also hang on to most of the stuff my kids give me as presents. So, my office is like a gigantic scrap book. When I am sitting at my desk, I have a stack of books on my left that act as a lamp-table and a writing shrine full of things that inspire me and have meaning. One of my favorite things is my moss terrarium which was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS. I loved that story.

One of the more inspirational things in my office are the sparrows. The morning I published my first book in 2014, I woke up to find a sparrow flying above me in my bed. We were in NY visiting family so it was doubly disorienting to wake in a strange room with this sparrow circling a few feet above me. It didn't seem real. One source of animal wisdom I found said that the sparrow signifies power, productivity, and self worth. It also is one bird that persists in many climates despite external factors. That felt extremely meaningful and resonates with me today.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

I’m currently reading CLOSER HOME by our very own Kerry Anne King (Kerry Schafer)! It’s fantastic and I highly recommend. Before this I read BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty and HEART OF THE GOBLIN KING by our IWOTY, Lisa Manifold. On deck is a re-read of DIVINE EVIL by Nora Roberts because it’s mentioned in a writing class I am taking and I am intrigued to revisit it as a writer with my class notes in hand!

Thank you, Corinne. Your hard work for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and this year's Colorado Gold Writers Conference is much appreciated. We'll be looking for your regular posts on the blog (the second Monday of the month starting October 10th).