Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #6

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

Travis Heermann

Website: http://www.travisheermann.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Travis-Heermann-Author-155963681137209/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TravisHeermann

2016_Travis Heermann1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write a variety of stuff, leaving no genre unturned. I have a historical fantasy trilogy, a YA supernatural thriller, a science-fiction noir novel I'm shopping, and a horror-western novel debuting in September called Death Wind. The Death Wind original screenplay, co-written with my friend Jim Pinto, gave rise to the novel and won Grand Prize at the Cinequest Film Festival in San Jose, CA, in 2012. I've also dabbled in mystery and romance. Am I missing anything?

I write full-time in various capacities, from freelancer to fiction, so my goal is to be writing all the time, even if I don't always manage it.

The methods I use for composition vary depending on the nature of the piece I'm working on. Sometimes a story seems to demand that I write long-hand first, then transfer to PC. Sometimes I can just crank it out in Scrivener. I can typically finish the first draft of a short story in about a week, with another week or so of reflection and revision. When I'm on a roll, I can do 50k words in a month, so theoretically I could finish a novel in two months, although I have yet to try it.

As for where I work, we recently moved into a house large enough for me to have a private office, and I haven't had that before, so it will be interesting to see how that works out. Prior to that, and probably still occasionally, I worked in a rotating pool of coffee shops around the Denver area.

The writing bug seized hold of me when I was about twelve, and it's never been cured. I can't see myself doing anything else, not anymore, although back in my 20s I tried to deny it for a while. I write because I have to. If I don't, I get really crabby. You wouldn't like me when I'm crabby.

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

My family and I just moved back to the States after a year living in New Zealand. During that time, we traveled extensively within NZ, North and South Island, and also in Australia. We made the pilgrimage to several filming sites for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, including Hobbiton and the Weta Workshop. My office door now bears a placard from Bag End saying "No Admittance Except on Party Business."

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

That varies, honestly. I love video games (games of all sorts really). I love immersing myself in the experiential and/or strategic thinking of detailed virtual worlds. The Bioshock and Starcraft universes are two of my favorites.

But I also enjoy martial arts. In NZ, I had the good fortune to join a Japanese ju jitsu dojo. I wouldn't call the training sessions enjoyable--they often involved a great deal of physical pain and exertion--but the feeling of accomplishment gave me a tremendous sense of satisfaction. Over the course of about six months, I achieved the (lowest) rank of white belt, and let me tell you, they do not give those belts away. It's one of the things I'm proudest of having done in my life.

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Rachel Hoff

Website: http://pencilprincessworkshop.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rachel-hoff-87541644
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachel.hoff.52

2016_Rachel Hoff1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write YA sci fi and fantasy because I'm miserable whenever I'm not writing and when I am writing, these are the stories that come to me. My writing time is any time I can wrestle away from handling kids, doing household-chores, and freelance editing, so I write in the early morning or late night, when the kids are at school, or on buses. I write longhand in pencil for first drafts, so those can happen in any clean space. Getting things into the computer usually happens at my desk.

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

As my critique group knows, I lived in China for about a decade before moving to the Denver area five years ago, and my family (husband, two other kids, and I) are now in the process of adopting a teenager from one of the provinces we lived in.

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

It's hard to choose, but I think baking is my favorite non-writing or reading activity. I love the way it makes me take my time. I love the texture of dough, and the rhythm of kneading, and the heavenly smell once the bread is in the oven.

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Jennifer Kincheloe

Website: http://www.jenniferkincheloe.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSecretLifeofAnnaBlanc
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jenkincheloe
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/jrkincheloe/

2016_Jennifer Kincheloe1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write historical mysteries set in 1900s Los Angeles because no one else was telling the story of the police matrons and female cops who worked for the LAPD back then. They were tough, brilliant, amazing women who transformed law enforcement and were virtually ignored by history. Scotland Yard credits them as creating the first crime prevention program in the world.

Despite the serious subject matter, being serious does not come natural to me, so my books are humorous and light.

I write in bed or at the Botanical Gardens. When I'm in the flow, I write blissfully and constantly (and some days never really get out of bed). When I'm starting a new book, which is terribly difficult for me, it's painful, my drafts seem hopeless, and it's very, very slow.

I LOVE revising.

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

I lived for a summer in a remote village in Papua New Guinea where there was no telephone, no mail service, and no roads (not even dirt ones). The only doctor was a shaman. I arrived by flying, driving to where the roads ended, then taking a motorized raft eighteen hours up the Sepik river. The airlines lost our food and luggage, so I wore a beautiful sarong and these neon orange, leopard print men's briefs that someone gave me. I ate leaves and sago paste. I hunted crocodiles at night from a canoe.

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

Teaching my kids how to do things, like cooking or replacing toilet seat lids, and seeing them do it; road trips with my husband; hiking alone with my dog; listening to audiobooks; designing research studies and coding statistical analyses.

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Judy Rose

Website: http://www.jrrose.net/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Judith-Robbins-Rose-ChildrensYA-Author-Candlewick-Press-127997043963855/

2016_Judy Rose1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

Though I’ve spent my life writing (print, radio, stage and screen), it is a dream come true to now be writing young adult novels. It’s a challenge—the hardest thing I’ve ever done—and that motivates me. I usually write on my laptop, in my recliner…or whenever the muse comes. I’ve been known to write on napkins and grocery receipts in the car at stop lights.

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

I did standup comedy for a while, at the same time and venues where Roseanne Barr got her start. One of the pros at the Comedy Works in Denver said to me, “If we could take your writing and Roseanne’s delivery, we’d have one really funny person.”

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

I love working with middle grade students, which is something I didn’t know about myself until I entered the second half of my life. I’ve had a chance to teach acting and writing classes to pre-teens, which is so much fun. Tutoring and mentoring individual students has changed my life.

Thanks to Travis, Rachel, Jennifer, and Judy for participating in these get acquainted Q&A posts.

The RMFW Spotlight is on Scott Brendel, Editor/Agent Critique Coordinator

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 two spotlights, especially in honor of the Colorado Gold Conference in Denver on September 9-11, 2016. Today we're featuring Scott Brendel, and on Monday, our conference chair Corinne O'Flynn.

2016_Scott Brendel1. Scott, welcome to the RMFW Blog Spotlight. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

For the past few years, I have coordinated the editor/agent critique workshops held during the Colorado Gold conference. I also help run one of RMFW's critique groups. At various times over the years, I have helped judge the contest, was the Education chair, and served for two years as President. Many people in RMFW have been enormously helpful to me in ways I can't begin to describe and volunteering has been one way to try to pay that back.

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

Last summer, my short story, entitled "Threesome," was published in a literary 'zine called Cactus Heart (http://www.cactusheartpress.com/e-issue-16/e-issue-12/). It's about two estranged brothers who meet on a golf course to carry out their father’s final wishes.

I recently finished a new novel called Just Beyond the Light, in time to pitch it at ThrillerFest. It's set in the late 1970s in the mid-South where I spent time after college. A young woman—a dancer—living in a boarding house ends up in a coma after her wrists are slashed. Her brother (a petty criminal on the run) and a detective mourning the death of his young son try to determine if it was attempted suicide or attempted murder.

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?

Here's one I actually fulfilled. I wanted to go with my father to visit Egypt. Unfortunately, our trip was cancelled after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Years later, we finally made the trip, this time with my sister, mother and our spouses.

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

I get carried away with description. As one of my critique partners says, "Tell us what the building looks like. We don't need a treatise on its architecture."

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

The unexpected things I discover in the course of writing the first draft and the sense of satisfaction when I finally get to the end of the story.

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

Take the plunge and join a critique group. I toiled in isolation for too long before putting my work in front of the kind of people who could help me the most.

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?

It's cluttered with unpaid bills and scraps of paper with story notes. My desk faces a wall with built-in book shelves that remind me of the end goal. And a nine-inch figure of a troll that I picked up in Sweden many years ago watches me while I write.

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

Everybody's Fool, by Richard Russo, who I met at a Tattered Cover reading over twenty years ago. He's a fellow, former upstate New Yorker. An incredibly talented writer with a gift for capturing the humor of hapless but earnest small town folks who struggle their way through life.

Thank you, Scott. Your work with the agent/editor critique workshops for Colorado Gold is most appreciated. There are quite a few of us who found agents or editors through our participation in those sessions.

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #5

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

Theresa Alan

Website: http://www.theresaalan.net
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Theresa_Author
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theresa.alan
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/115314.Theresa_Alan

2016_Theresa Alan1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

All of my published books are comedic women’s fiction. I’m working on a new series that is also comedic women’s fiction, but I’m also trying a book that’s darker, more in the vein of The Girl on the Train. I write in the mornings because that’s when my brain is most highly caffeinated. These days I write from home, although coffee shops are good choices, too. Why I write? It’s an addiction. I wrote my first book at the age of nine (I still have it) and have been writing fiction and nonfiction ever since. I’ve also been keeping a journal since the age of nine, and it’s a much cheaper form of therapy than actual therapy, plus, it’s nice having help remembering different times in my life—memory can be tricky. I’d forgotten something hilarious that had happened to me my freshman year in college; I put the scene in my first novel, Who You Know, and that true-from-my-life scene was far and away the most commented on in the fan mail I received.

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

My sister is an experienced improv comedian, and one time in New York City we went to the Upright Citizens Brigade, an improv and sketch place founded, in part, by Amy Poehler. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey happened to drop by the night we went. We could have reached out and touched them both. As women who write comedy, it was a thrill to see two of the best comedic writers in the world perform two feet away from us.

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

It’s a four-way tie between reading, movies, going to see live comedy, and, of course, hiking (I live in Colorado, so there is a law about loving to hike).

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Thea Hutcheson

Website: http://theahutcheson.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thea.hutcheson
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Theah1771

2016_Thea Hutcheson1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write all over the board--SF, fantasy, romance, erotica, New Adult, and Crime fiction. I write in all the nooks and crannies of my life. Lately, I have been hard pressed to back myself into a corner, but I have been reasonably successful, and I keep trying.

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

I work events--Operations Manager at various Chocolate Festivals around Colorado, The Athena Festival, and the Denver Modernism Show; and Competition Director for Denver County Fair.

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

Lately, the thing that gives me the most pleasure (and fright) is taking road trips in Stanley (a 1941 Studebaker truck) and Big Jim (a 1955 GMC one ton utility truck) with my long-time partner, Randy Merrick, and camping in our vintage trailer, Olive. I get pleasure because we see cool places all over our great country, and our adventures and the sights we see end up in stories, which makes them all tax deductible. But being on the road can be frightening. People don't realize trailers and their tow vehicles have mass. They can't stop on a dime and that space they made between them and the car ahead of them is to insure they can slow down reasonably well. If you jump in there, and then traffic slows, it is heart wrenching sometimes to have to avoid an accident.

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Bernadette Marie

Website: http://bernadettemarie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorbernadettemarie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writesromance
5 Prince Publishing: http://5princebooks.com/

2016_Bernadette Marie1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write HEA Contemporary Romance because I, as a reader, want to walk away from books feeling happy that I invested my time in a romance where everything was good in the end. I write all the time! I have a laptop and will travel. There is no set schedule for me. When I feel it, I do it. Luckily, I feel it all the time. I can usually write a book from start to finish in two months.

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

I have a second-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do. I started martial arts with my older kids, and the others joined us when they each turned 3. After a 3 1/2 year hiatus, I have just recently begun training again and I now feel whole.

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

Disneyland! Yep, I crave it. Dream it. It's like my drug, and the best part is I can take my family of 7 and no matter what age, we all turn into children. (Yes, I also blog about it on my parenting blog. Writers have to write about everything.)

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Yvonne Montgomery

Website/Blog: https://yvonnemontgomery.com/
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B001KIXKIU
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yvonnemontgomerywriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorYvonneM

2016_Yvonne Montgomery1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I'm currently writing paranormal mysteries because I love working on stories in which the supernatural and reality bump up against each other. I tend to write from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in my study on the 3rd floor of our house. My partner is a Mac computer named Dimmsdale, and the printer is Hester Prynt.

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

One fun thing few RMFW members know about me is that I love cheesy horror movies. I introduced my grandkids to Godzilla, a noble achievement.

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

I have two favorite non-writing activities that give me great joy: reading and gardening. However, I don't enjoy reading about gardening.

Many thanks to Theresa, Thea, Bernadette, and Yvonne 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

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #4

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

Mari Christie (Mariana Gabrielle)

Website: http://www.marianagabrielle.com/
Professional Services Website: http://www.marichristie.info/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MariChristieAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MChristieAuthor
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/marichristie/

2015_Mariana Gabrielle1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

My historical novels feature second chances for scarred souls; all of my characters come to my books broken in spirit and are, in some way, uplifted. I write Historical Romance (Regency and Victorian) as Mariana Gabrielle, and Mainstream Historical (American Civil War and Turn-of-the-Century New York) as Mari Anne Christie. In my day-to-day life, I am a professional writer, editor, and designer in various corporate, government, academic, and publishing industries.

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

I chose writing over auditioning for the National Musical Theatre Conservatory.

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

I don’t do anything except write. I am a very boring person in that respect.

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Karen Duvall

Website:  http://www.karenduvallauthor.com/
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Karen.Duvall.Author/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/KarenDuvall
Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/405199.Karen_Duvall

2016_KarenDuvall1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

That’s a tough question because my process changes and evolves all the time. In fact, I’ve recently switched genres. I used to write strictly fantasy, but now write mainstream fiction with elements of magic or the supernatural (magical realism). I write because I’m compelled to, yet I don’t write as enough as I’d like. My day job has interfered more than ever, leaving me very little time to get much writing done. I write on my desktop computer in my home office. As for how I write, I can’t write with music playing, that’s for sure. I need a blank auditory background to get in the flow.

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

During my first year of college at the University of Hawaii, I took a skydiving class on a dare and loved it so much that I went on to do it competitively. I bought my own rig and logged in over 60 jumps before I moved to Colorado and hung up my parachute because the altitude was too much for my sea level-accustomed body. A few months later a bunch of the people I jumped with in Hawaii, including my skydiving instructor, died together in an evening skydiving accident while doing an exhibit jump into football stadium.

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

I’d have to say my day job as a graphic designer. I’ve been a professional graphic artist for well over 30 years and I now specialize in designing book covers for self-published authors. However, I also design 3D art for an online computer game called Second Life. The Second Life virtual world gets 40,000 to 50,000 registered uses from all over the world logging on every day. I’ve been a Second Life resident for seven years and though it’s a way for me to make a good income, it has also been a tremendous help to my writing through inspiration and roleplay opportunities for character development.

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Karen Albright Lin

Website: http://www.karenalbrightlin.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karen.a.lin
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karen-lin-8778135

2016_Karen Albright Lin1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I do my first drafts longhand at restaurants over lunch. I typically work on more than one project at a time. I used to be a contest junky; every win offered oxygen. I'm a produced screenwriter who has done work-for-hire, script doctoring, and happily collaborated on a few projects (most importantly with my Sister of the Quill, Janet Fogg). I've been represented by a few very successful agents for a novel, cookbook, and a ghostwriting gig. Why did they fall through? I’ll tell you when I'm keynote! I've published articles, personal essays, shorts, flash, and a column for BTS Book Reviews. I'm also an editor for award-winning and bestselling fiction and nonfiction writers. The best perk of all--I get to teach for cruise lines and that means cruise for two for free to places like Russia, Tahiti, and Costa Rica.

Why do I write? I'm a show-off. But I probably would have been a forensic entomologist, if not for a high school teacher who encouraged my writing by taking me to a writer's conference, helping me get a full-ride creative writing university scholarship, and getting the principal to announce writing awards instead of only news of winning football games.

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

My first genre was erotica (the middle school kind). I still write it, but thank goodness it's different now.

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

Dancing and food tourism with my husband of 29 years.

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Elizabeth Richards

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/elizabethlrichards

2016_Elizabeth Richards1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I am working on a historical mystery set in Colorado in 1893. I’m fairly sure I didn’t spend all my growing up years in the 20th Century so historical fiction is a natural for me. I spend 10-20 minutes writing every morning before going to work. On the weekends I am often found writing at EverBean Coffee Shop in Evergreen.

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

My career has spanned everything from cleaning up sheep poop at a petting zoo to being the director of operations at an Artificial Intelligence start up company. Both were fun in their own way.

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

Is it too much of a cliche to say reading? I grew up a military brat, often moving every one to two years. Books were friends when life could be lonely. They opened up a world beyond our everyday life. When I was in 5th grade (New York City) I discovered Rosemary Sutcliffe and read Warrior Scarlet, the coming of age story of a Celtic boy. The next year, in Miesau Germany, we lived near a Celtic graveyard from the time of Isiah. It was as if, out of the corner of my eye, I could glimpse the echo of people who’d lived there a hundred, a thousand, three thousand years ago.

Many thanks to Mari, Karen D., Karen L., and Elizabeth 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

The RMFW Spotlight is on Angela La Voie, Volunteer Coordinator

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 our Volunteer Coordinator, Angela La Voie.

2016_Angela La Voie_Headshot_cropped1. Welcome to the blog, Angela. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I am the Volunteer Coordinator for RMFW and Colorado Gold. The people in RMFW were so welcoming when I joined. I’d like to help create that same experience for members wishing to share their time and talents with the organization.

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

I’m working on the rewrite of a novel set during the Korean War.

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’ve done several big ones on my list, including climbing a fourteener, completing a sprint-distance triathlon and two half-marathons, even flying in a small aircraft and steering the plane (briefly!). There’s much to be said for achievements. I value the quieter things, too. On a recent visit with my niece, she was asking me questions about my wedding. She was eight at the time and doesn’t remember much even though she was in the wedding party. She’s a teenager now, an aspiring writer, and an Anglophile. She wants to become a tea drinker and lamented that she didn’t remember the high-tea bridal shower at the Brown Palace Hotel (She’s not your typical teen!). I’d love to take her there for high tea. That would involve a cross-country trip for both of us, but it would make for a fun memory.

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

Learning to trust my instincts about my process has taken time. I tend to draft with a lot of summary to put a footprint in place with as much of the territory that I can see. These sketches let me slow down and have patience to work through the discovery process, the imagery, and the music of the language. As I rewrite, I both layer in detail and strip out everything that rings false. I fought against these tendencies until I learned to allow myself a crummy first draft that’s for me alone to guide my work.

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

I most enjoy the opportunity to continue to evolve—to try new things and dig in deeper.

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

I would tell myself to have faith that all life experiences connect. Journalism taught me how to publish on a daily deadline. Business taught me about marketing, business development, and project management. Although seemingly extraneous to writing, these skills are important to authors today.

2016_AngelaLa Voie_Writing Room7. 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 handcrafted from natural cherry in a simple Shaker style. The color of the wood reminds me of the tropics. My desktop is a rotating gallery of objects that inspire me. Right now, I have some hydrangeas from my garden, a tiny watercolor calendar, a glass bird a friend gave me, and a photo of my husband and me. My mousepad has a collage of family photos. The extension table is stacked with research and drafts of my novel. I’m in the process of piecing together the sections. As long as I have coffee in the morning and a refilled water glass throughout the day, I can work.

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

I just started reading What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan.

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Learn more about Angela and her work at her website. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Q&A Project #3

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

 

Cassandra Cridland

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassandra-cridland-73671b4
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rapidlight

2016_Cassie Cridland1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write both long and short romantic fiction. The stories usually come to me in the voice of a character that has lost the only person they’ll ever love, and who is now determined (come hell or high water) to get that person back. I have a dedicated office, which is dominated by a huge L-shaped wooden desk, and I write whenever I can pull time around the day job and weekend chore list.

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

I’m a combination western history buff and a Superman geek. My office décor eclectically blends Superman artwork with 1800’s era railroad maps, old whiskey tin signage, and working replica revolvers. I haven’t mastered my quick-draw yet, but one day soon…

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

I’d have to flip a coin between reading and hiking. In the last two years, I’ve logged over 1100 miles on a variety of trails. If I know the terrain particularly well, I’ll do both activities at the same time.

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Teresa Funke

Bursts of Brilliance Blog: http://www.teresafunke.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teresafunkeandcompany?ref=hl
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/teresafunke
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP3qGOs8-GMt32xxX2Ubbtw
Twitter: https://twitter.com/search?q=Teresa%20Funke&src=typd
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/535023.Teresa_R_Funke

2016_TeresaFunke1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I knew I wanted to be a writer in the fifth grade, but it seemed like a somewhat impossible dream. After two boring jobs post-college, I quit to become a freelance writer, not knowing entirely what that was. Almost 25 years later, I’m still writing, focusing on books about World War II for young readers. I write in my basement office. Sometimes I miss having a window, but I actually think it helps me concentrate better. I don’t have a set schedule for my writing right now, though I have at other times. I should do that again.

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

I’m a classics film buff. On a good day, I can tell you what movie won best picture in any year between 1928 and 1995 (when small children came along and sucked my good memory away). For fun, my husband will turn on one of the “old movies” stations and test me. I have to guess the year of the movie within two years. I can do it almost every time. I’m also a theater buff. I’ve seen close to 500 productions and have a goal to see a show in every theater on Broadway. There are 40, and I’ve done ten. Guess I have to move to New York for a while.

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

Traveling. I have a goal to visit a new state or country every year. I only have 10 states left to go, and I’ve been to 25 countries! If I had unlimited resources, I’d travel all summer, every summer. I’d pick a country to live in for that summer and do little trips from there.

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Jean Jacobsen

Colorado Romance Writers page: http://crw-rwa.ning.com/profile/JeanJacobsen
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14754432.Jean_Jacobsen

2016_Jean Jacobsen1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write historical non-fiction, The Chronicles of Douglas County, Colorado- The History Press and American historical romance, The Reluctant Debutante-Indi Pub.

My mom read bunches of romance novels. I must have inherited my love of reading them from her. The first one was Splendor in the Grass. Does that date me?

I’m an early bird so morning is’ my best time to write, usually in my office which overlooks a greenbelt.

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

In my early-20s I worked for a small telephone company in southern California. That was before customers could dial long distance themselves. Imagine Lilly Tomlin in her “operator may I help you”, comedy sketch, except I didn’t snort!

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

Hearing my grandchildren laugh gives me great joy. I am a lover of coffee, chocolate, fragrant flowers and yummy food.

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Lesley L. Smith

Website: http://www.lesleylsmith.com/fiction.html

(Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)
(Photo by Patrick Campbell/University of Colorado)

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

I write science fiction, but it's SF with a twist, sort of the new generation of SF. My SF often has humor and romance and female scientists and quantum physics. I love the combination of science and imagination.

I try to write every day and I'm lucky enough to have a spare room that serves as my writing headquarters. My RMFW critique group, The Inklings, is a great motivator to finish those chapters!

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

I'm on a secret mission to make physics more fun and less intimidating to everyone. Oops! I guess it's not so secret any more. I often sneak physics into conversation, and of course, it's in my writing. I'm happy to give other RMFW writers physics tips or answer questions.

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

Since I'm a writer, it may be a cliche, but I do love to read. I also love nature, so reading outside is a real treat.

Thanks for this opportunity to be 'gotten known'! I'm looking forward to getting to know other RMFW members.

 

Many thanks to Cassie, Teresa, Jean, and Lesley for volunteering for the Getting to Know You blog project. If you would like to participate in future months, email me at blog@rmfw.org

Congratulations to Mark Stevens WOTY and Lisa Manifold IWOTY

Selected from a list of accomplished finalists, Mark Stevens is the new Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year and Lisa Manifold is the first ever RMFW Independent Writer of the Year.

Writer of the Year Finalists
Carol Berg
Christine Goff
Mark Stevens

Independent Writer of the Year Finalists
Sue Duff
Nathan Lowell
Lisa Manifold

Join the full panel of finalists and winners at the WOTY & IWOTY Discussion Panel Hosted by Susan Spann
Thursday, August 18, 2016 7-9 pm
Tattered Cover, 2526 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO 80206

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Member Q&A Project #2

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

Terri Benson

Website: http://www.terribensonwriter.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terri.benson.104?fref=ts

Terri Benson11. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I’ve been published in historic romance and have several manuscripts “looking for a home”, and am currently working on a “amateur sleuth” mystery series that I’m really excited about. I love history, so it’s likely that no matter what I write, there will be an historic bent to it. I work full time and have a large yard and serve on a couple boards (including RMFW), so I have to work hard to find time to write. Usually I write in the living room with the laptop and a TV show in the background. I don’t listen to music when I write, but I don’t like it to be too quiet. I’m a binge writer. I can write for 8 hours straight and never even notice I missed a meal or two (but my husband does!).

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

I have a fetish for garden gnomes and other yard art, after owning an “outdoor” store for several years. I love to find little faces peeking out at me from under shrubs or bright blooms, and can’t pass up a weird statue or other item that I think might find a home in my yard.

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

Camping and hiking with my husband, Rick, and dog, Tank, and any friends or family we can talk into heading out for a weekend. There are so many great places to visit in our neck of the woods. I usually find some time to write if it’s just my husband and I, so that’s a bonus.

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Margaret Mizushima

Website and blog: http://margaretmizushima.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/margaret.mizushima
Twitter: https://twitter.com/margmizu
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8446201.Margaret_Mizushima

Margaret Mizushima1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series which has KILLING TRAIL out now, and STALKING GROUND releases this September. Each morning I tread upstairs to my home office with a cup of herbal tea, and I write for three to four hours. I work at my day job in the same office in the afternoons when I'm brain dead.

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

I'm a cattlewoman. (Is that a fun fact?) I was raised on a cattle ranch and my husband, a veterinarian, and I started our own ranchette with 3 registered Angus cows about twenty years ago. We now have over a hundred head and produce breeding stock for other cattle growers.

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

I love to hike and try to go into the Colorado high country whenever I can. Since writing has become my main priority, I don't get away as often as I used to, but it's my goal to figure out how to work that habit back into my schedule. It nourishes my soul.

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Steven Moores

Website: http://stevenmoores.net/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/steven-moores-ab371118
Steven has a low profile on the web. He collects manual typewriters, somewhere around 25, at last count. He's poised to become a publishing tycoon when civilization collapses and there's no more FaceBook or MyFace or other internet.

2016_Steven Moores1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I’ve finished four romance novels, one middle-grade fantasy, and two mysteries. Basically, I write stories that interest me, regardless of the genre. I have a day job, so I write in the mornings and on weekends. Because I have ADD, I find it hard to write in a quiet space. Give me a bus station or a busy coffee shop where I can let the never-ending circus in my mind run free. Needless to say I don’t do a lot of plotting up front. I just watch the scenes unfold in my mind, then I describe them as well as I can in words before I lose them.

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

While I don’t claim to have any such talent what-so-ever, I’m on YouTube a couple of times singing St. James Infirmary with the Mile High Community Band. Actually, I can't say it's me. I’d never have the courage to sing in public. I just channel Louis Armstrong.

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

I’m learning to play the saxophone and pondering the mysteries of jazz improvisation. I also plink around on the trumpet, ukulele, and guitar. After a long day at the office, playing music changes the brainwaves almost as nicely as a cold beer.

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Terry Odell

Website and blog: http://terryodell.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terry.odell?fref=ts
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorterryo
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/897369.Terry_Odell

2016_Terry Odell1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write mystery and romantic suspense, but I call them all "Mysteries With Relationships." When I started writing my first book, I thought I was writing a mystery, but my daughters told me it was a romance, which surprised me because I'd never read a romance. I'm a "pantser". I set a minimum word count goal of 1000 words a day. I'm usually able to get there, although I'm often distracted by watching the sunrises and sunsets, birds at the feeder, or the wildlife in the yard.

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

I doubt anyone knows we have a skull collection in our home. I'm not divulging what kind.

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

If I'm not writing, I'm either reading (I normally have 3 books going at once), or enjoying the outdoors with our shelter dog, Feebie. I also love testing recipes for the What's Cooking Wednesday segments on my blog.

 

Many thanks to Terri, Margaret, Steven, and Terry 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

Getting to Know You: The RMFW Member Q&A Project

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

F.P. (Frank) Dorchak

Website/blog: Runnin Off at the Mouth: https://fpdorchak.wordpress.com/ Reality Check: https://fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frank.dorchakiii
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fpdorchak
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/805034.F_P_Dorchak

GTKY2016_Frank Dorchak1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write gritty paranormal fiction. My novels are not monster-based fiction, but fiction that attempts to give a different spin on life...about everyday people who have “the weird” enter their lives. I portray a different perspective to what may actually be going on in the background of our lives. My older short stories have some monster-based stories (werewolves, cephalopods, shelves, clowns...), but in my newer work those are more like my novels: ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances that forever change their lives.

I write organically at oh-dark-thirty in my home office...no outlines. I do “reverse-outline”...I break out the beats of the story and create an outline from that. Manipulate as needed. Write a couple more drafts, read it out loud...give it to my up-and-coming proof reader/editor, Mandy Pratt. Input course corrections...read it again—go Indie. Try to convince wife I still exist. Begin the crazy again.

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

I’ve jumped out of an airplane a couple times. From altitude. Oh, yeah...with a parachute.

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

For a daily activity, weightlifting and cardio. It’s quite cathartic to “release the beast” in the weight room. But I love getting out and away...expanding my horizons and experiencing new places and things and concepts! Exempli gratia, I’d recently experienced floating and cryotherapy.

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Carolyn Fritz

Website: Bewitching Hips http://bewitchinghips.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carolyn.fritz.3
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bewitchinghips

GTKY2016_Carolyn Fritz1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I write mostly fantasy and steampunk fantasy. I also do some sci-fi. I like bringing inanimate objects to life and seeing what they do. I've always loved fantasy books, so writing it comes naturally. I write when I can, in short bursts after work, and longer on the weekends if I'm lucky, in a shared office with my fiance and the "help" of my cat, Sif.

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

I am a professional belly dancer, and have been dancing and performing for fifteen years. I started lessons on a dare and fell in love during my first class. I've performed mostly at fan conventions, including StarFest and MileHi Con, as well as at night clubs and weddings. I have an entire spare bedroom devoted to nothing but costumes and accessories for dance and cosplay.

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

I absolutely love gardening. The feel of dirt in my hands, caring for the plants, and reaping the harvest in the fall is amazing. If I'm not careful, I can get lost in the garden, only coming back to reality when the sunburn sets in!

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Rainey Hall

2016_Rainey Hall1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I love to write thrillers—mixed with mystery, personified prose, similes, metaphors... You name it, I’ll toss it in; sort of how I make quick breads. I put words on paper anytime and anywhere I can. I believe writing, besides an outlet for my imagination, helps me process things I’ve learned, experienced, and witnessed.

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

Only one?
I park cars better backing than driving forward.
I love to play with my grandnephew and grandniece. Just the other day, Colt was flipping pretend food at me. And I caught everything in my mouth—except once. Boy howdy, that was a mess.
I’ll help, but I don’t like branding cattle.
My pen name is L. Treloar.

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

Only one?
Reading, cooking, photography, teaching, gardening, target practicing, training my cat to retrieve, HORSES, and animals in general. Cross-country skiing and deep sea fishing are pretty cool too.

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Nathan Lowell

Website/blog: http://nathanlowell.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nathan.o.lowell
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nlowell
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1048167.Nathan_Lowell

GTKY2016_NathanLowell1. We know the who (that's you), so will you give us the what, why, when, where, and how you write?

I mostly write science fiction. I started reading it as soon as I was old enough to pick out the little rocket stickers on the spines in the elementary school library. Later, my Aunt Pat used to bring shopping bags full of paperbacks to the house and a lot of them were Ace Doubles. I'm a full-time writer, and a binge pantser. I spend almost all my time in a dark corner of my basement. I can write a novel in a month, but it can take half a year for it to percolate to the surface.

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

I used to be a fashion reporter for a style magazine in Second Life. I mostly wrote reviews of clubs and interviews with designers.

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

Cooking. I love food and preparing it.

Thanks to Frank, Carolyn, Rainey, and Nathan for vounteering. If you'd like to participate, for future months, contact me (Pat Stoltey) at blog@rmfw.org

Shining the RMFW Spotlight on Kevin Paul Tracy

KevinPaulTracy HeadShot1. Kevin, tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I am a regular contributor to the RMFW Blog and I host a critique group called Dynamic Critique which isn't exactly RMFW sanctioned, but we are all RMFW members. At one time or another I have been Critique Chair, Webmaster, Anthology Chair ("Tales From Mistwillow",) Gold Contest judge, and critique group moderator. It's entirely likely I've forgotten one. Sometimes I held these positions simultaneously.

I've been actively involved in RMFW for a couple of reasons. First, I am a steadfast advocate of the truism, "You get out of it what you put in." That applies to everything, especially life in general, but for our discussion here, particularly to RMFW. I have learned more by being an active volunteer for the organization than I would ever have learned merely attending workshops and conferences. I've met more people and made more friends, and I've gotten more personal and professional exposure, too.

The other reason is that, as a near-charter member of RMFW, I love the organization like family. I have a vested interest in seeing it continue to thrive and provide its unique services to the local writing community.

Oh, and the Golden Nugget awards are neat, too.

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

I have three current works in progress. By the time this article posts my latest thriller, Presence of Malice, will have dropped and will have made quite a splash. It's about a hired killer, an ex-Navy SEAL who may or may not have been driven mad by eight years of torture in a Chinese prison; two plastic surgeons who used to be friends and partners now at each other's throats; and an unlikely romance between an earnest young woman and a paraplegic hacker, both caught in the cross fire of a conflict turned bloody

I'm also currently working on a sequel to my most popular Thriller, Rogue Agenda, and a third in my Kathryn Desmarais vampire decology (10 books.) All of these books are/will be available anywhere books are sold, or you can email me for a signed copy.

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'd love to see one of my books made into a movie. I just think that'd be so cool!

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

That's a hard one. I would say it's that I love happy endings, except not all my books have one, not to mention that I know many who don't view that as a flaw. I might also say that I love over-the-top action which many people think stretches credulity, but I'm told by readers that's one of the things they like most about my books.

I supposed my great vulnerability as a writer is my self-confidence. I've already written about how I grew up being told I could never make it as a writer. My self-confidence is way too fragile. An editor's rejection, a bad review on Amazon or GoodReads, these things can send me into a tailspin of self-doubt that can actually make it hard to keep writing. But I've powered through and I must say the success I've experienced has gone a long way toward shoring up my confidence against future pokes and jabs.

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

In writing, I can make reality work the way I think it should. In a thriller, you can't change the laws of physics, and if you introduce a little fringe science it better be rooted in enough actual science to not totally insult your readers. But what I mean is, in the world I write in, bad guys lose and good guys win. Maybe not right away, certainly not without plenty of obstacles and setbacks along the way. And victory may even cost the good guy something by the end, sometimes something dear enough to leave the reader wondering if that sacrifice was worth it. Still, I get to leave readers with a fulfilling and satisfying end to a story, the kind of closure we almost never get in real life.

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

Easy: Never give up. Write and write and write, and completely shut out the doubts and the setbacks. In my opinion the only difference between success and failure is where you give up. If you give up after a setback, then you failed at being a writer. But if you never give up, then you never fail, you only continue to grow and learn. And when has personal growth and acquired knowledge not led to success, eventually?

Kevin Paul Tracy workspace7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

Right now my work area is constrained by space - I am taking my familial turn caring for a disabled relative. My computer occupies a folding TV tray in a bedroom not much larger than most storage sheds. I have all my reference materials close at hand, but none of my usual inspirations or comfort items. Usually (and again very soon) my desk is designed to fit facing into a corner, to shut out distractions. I have paintings and posters on the wall I find inspiring, some of which might seem rather non-sequitur to an outsider. For example the picture of a beautiful woman, bare leg exposed through a hip-length tear in her long skirt, hand out as a majestic white unicorn eats from it. Why does a thriller writer find inspiration from a page torn from a fantasy calendar? It's hard to describe, but I love how real the painter makes a scene of pure fantasy look and feel. It reminds me that a writer's job is to make a story about something that never happened feel real to readers.

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

Most recently, out of some sudden nostalgic impulse, I've gone back to reread some of the books and novels that inspired me as a young writer: Lord of The Rings, Dracula, anything by Stephen King. Right now I'm rereading Ian Fleming's James Bond series. They are flawed and dated, but fun to revisit.