Back in March of 2013, Mark Stevens caught up with me at Left Coast Crime in Colorado Springs and asked if I might be interested in reviving the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers blog. It's possible he caught me in a weak moment, perhaps after a glass of wine, but I said I'd think it over.
Then I decided yes, I'd give it a shot. We went live on August 1, 2013 with a new lineup of regular contributors and a few open spots for guests.
Even though I knew very little about the WordPress program that houses the blog.
Even though I had just signed a book contract and had the whole editing cycle and promotion planning ahead of me.
Even though I knew very few RMFW members and up to that time had only volunteered as a conference registrar or workshop moderator.
As I said, it's possible Mark caught me in a weak moment, mellowed by that glass of wine (and probably a chocolate dessert as well).
Little did I know that "yes" would take me down a yellow brick road leading to a whole new world of information, networking, and just plain fun--a kind of Oz, if you will.
As I move on down that yellow brick road to new adventures (two first drafts that need revisions, a new project just started, and another November book release that will be here way too fast), I want to encourage other members who've never volunteered to give one of the tasks a try. I promise you'll make new friends, no matter what job you take on.
If you volunteer to help out at Colorado Gold, you might moderate and keep time for a panel of agents or editors. If you're a published author, you might host one of the tables at the banquet -- I got to sit next to an agent one time, and since the room was very noisy, she spent most of her time talking to the two of us who sat closest to her. Conference opportunities are many, so fill out and submit the form on the Conference Volunteer page or contact Corinne O'Flynn for more information (email@example.com)
If you decide to write a guest post for the blog, you'll be introducing yourself to new people, both members and non-members. Watch for new procedures when they're announced in the newsletter, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have good critiquing skills and a good knowledge of the craft of writing, you'd be a natural to volunteer as a first-round judge for the Colorado Gold Contest, and those judge positions need to be filled very soon. (Contact email@example.com)
Offer to present a program or workshop, write an article, help the social media gurus, and more (contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am grateful to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers for many things, but that opportunity to meet my future Five Star editor during a critique workshop tops the list. Attending that one Colorado Gold Conference led to three books published and a fourth on the way. I hope I've managed to show my appreciation through my volunteer activities so far, especially the 3.5 years as blog coordinator alongside my co-editor and good friend, Julie Kazimer. After I whip all my unfinished projects into shape and get through the November book release, I'll probably be back looking for some little thing I can do for RMFW. Maybe I'll see you there.
After all, once you discover there's a kind of Oz in your life, you really don't want to let it go.