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.

Getting to Know You…Or Not…

rmfw-logoHave you noticed the excellent newsletter series introducing IPAL members?

And the RMFW member guests we feature here each month?

I'd like to expand our "getting to know you" efforts to include a series of mini-introductions featuring RMFW members whether they're unpublished, indie published, or traditionally published. I'd especially like to include those folks who haven't already been featured on the RMFW Spotlight.

I threw this idea out to six members by email and included the invitation to participate, three questions to answer, and the request to include an author or candid photo suitable for thumbnail size (150x150 pixels).

No response.

So far I have one volunteer who said she'd love to be included. One.

The RMFW membership is huge. What good does it do to belong to the organization but remain anonymous. Don't you want to reach out and make new writerly friends? Get people to follow you on Twitter or friend you on Facebook? Encourage them to visit your website or blog?

I'll give this "getting to know you" project one more shot before tossing it in my huge barrel of Great Ideas That Went Nowhere.

If you're willing to answer three easy questions (nothing too personal) and provide a photo, please email me at blog@rmfw.org

The RMFW Spotlight is Shining on Volunteer Julie Kazimer

JAKazimer1. Welcome to the RMFW Spotlight series, Julie. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I don’t do nearly as much as others do, nor do I feel like I do enough, so thank you, Pat, for asking me to answer these very intrusive questions about myself. I do a couple of things, semi-regular. I co-edit this here blog with the awesomeness that is Pat Stoltey, as well as blog twice a month (the hardest part of my volunteering, for sure). I also was lucky enough to review workshop proposals for the upcoming conference. I have to say, damn, we have a brilliant group of faculty. Even those proposals not picked were above and beyond. I wish we had more time slots. Let’s see, I also have judged the CO Gold contest, and taught a handful of times, both at conference and for the Western Slope (a great group headed by the fabulous Terri Benson, also one of our bloggers). As to why I’m involved, that’s easy; I owe my current career to RMFW. No other way to say it. My first book deal came directly from a workshop at the conference in 2010. For better or worse, RMFW is to blame for my writing. Yep, full blame to RMFW!

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

My current WIP is a romance series about service dogs. Completely different from anything I’ve written before. As in it plays on emotions, where my other books are more suspense or humor focused. Yeah, I wake up in a cold sweat even thinking about it. As for my most recent publications, I have the 2nd book in my Assassin’s Series, The Assassin’s Kiss and a prequel novella, The Assassins’ First Date, coming out in August and July. You can buy any of my stuff or stalk me on amazon. You can also purchase most of my stuff at any other online retailer or sometimes a bookstore (for those youngins: a bookstore is a physical place you can by books. Yes, books actually come in paper. Weird, I know).

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?

Damn great question. I’d love to be a keynote for RMFW when I become rich and famous. Come back, and thank all the little people. And since I stand barely over 5 feet, little is hard to find.

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

I think I did above, but I say it again, I have a terrible time with ‘real’ emotion. I don’t do deep. In-depth gives me hives. I would rather kill a million characters than write an emotional scene. Ick.

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

The power and fame. People bow and scrape for me. Set down rose petals at my feet as I walk. Yeah, right. My favorite thing about writing is the magic that runs from fingers to keyboard. It’s not a conscious thing for me. I just type and it flows. I don’t think (which you probably guessed already).

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

Great question. I am actually teaching a workshop at the conference (No, I didn’t select my own. That would be cheating) about 25 things I learned going from pre-published to multi-published. Most of all, I’d tell myself, it’s going to be a roller coaster, one that I won’t want off of, but to keep in mind the greatest climb has a subsequent fall. Ride it for the sheer joy.

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?

I don’t have a desk. I mean, I do at work, but that’s a boring 9-5 desk. I write on my lap, often with a cat, and two dogs vying for the space. FYI, the cat almost always wins, much to the sausage-like pup’s dismay.

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

I am reading so many at once, and yet, not one currently as I don’t read while I’m writing so I don’t mimic voice. What I last read is, When Good Angels Go Bad by Audrey Brice, which is the pen name of our very own, Stephanie Connolly Reisner. She’s a hell of a writer.

Thanks for having me, Pat. It’s been fun!

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J.A. (Julie) Kazimer kills and kisses people for a living, be it a bad guy who deserved it or an arrogant frog prince who didn’t. Find her online at her website (jakazimer.com) or on Facebook, much, much too often. She can also be found on Twitter. If you go here, you can sign up for her Readers’ Group (Newsletter) and get a free book or two.

Julie's best friend shot this photo.2016_Spotlight_Julie Kazimer

 

Why, you ask? It’s a picture of the Denver Post, found as is, with her first ever review in the Post, for Froggy Style. A great review, BTW, by the incredible Tom Schantz.

The New(ish) Medium for Sharing Ideas … is Medium

“Welcome to Medium, a place where great ideas come from anywhere, and quality is what matters.”

If you haven't heard of Medium (that's http://medium.com) , you might want to check it out just because it's there. The site is more than just a collection of diverse blog posts and essays, but I won't go into a lot of detail here because it's very easy to cruise through the "About" section of this site and get all the information you need to build a reading list and to post  your own essays on almost any topic you can imagine...if you decide it's worth your time and effort.

First you sign up.

Then you identify your interests.

Pick a few familiar names to follow.

And wait while Medium builds your reading list.

This can take a long time if you click on as many interests as I did, so you might want to start with a tiny sampling. You can follow more authors as you  read recommended posts. You can also unfollow authors and topic tags as you become more familiar with the site. Most of the people whose posts I read were unknown to me, but that didn't make them any less interesting.

Once you figure out how it all works, including the responses, cross-linking with followers, and highlighting (to recommend), you might decide to write your own story. Click on the "Write a Story" link at the top of the Medium page you're on, and go. But remember, this is not a closed venue where you're just chatting with a few folks. When you post here, you're posting to the whole wide world.

“Medium is a free and open platform where anyone can come to express themselves. We’ve built a world-class editor up to the task: simple, clean and beautiful. Writing has never been this fun.

Medium is the easiest, fastest way to create a beautiful story with seamless integration of photos, audio, and video. You can share from anywhere.”

I will caution you to be selective in who you follow and the topics you choose. Like any other social network, there are participants who have more fun trolling for victims to insult and shame than engaging in intelligent discussions. But as with other venues, there are rules. I'll hang around Medium for a while just to read articles and responses. I'm not sure I'll ever use the venue for publishing essays or articles. We'll see how it goes.

Please note: This is not a recommendation for you to sign up and jump into the Medium pool. I haven't been exploring the site long enough to do that. Exploring the site, however, has been fun so far, and I did post my photo and a short bio. As I wandered through the recommended articles, I found  Ted Talks, the Washington Post, and PBS NewsHour. There were some good humor articles, including a tongue-in-cheek post on the snarky article one must write upon leaving Medium. I got the impression leaving Medium is relatively common. And I discovered a lot of folks had signed up on Medium but rarely or never posted articles. I even found a couple of folks who are RMFW members, so I hope they'll leave a comment with their own impression of the site and whether it serves any useful purpose to us writers.

We can't jump willy-nilly onto every new social or info-sharing site that pops up on the Web, but it's good for us to know what's there, what's working, and what has been a dismal failure for those who tried the site out. I don't know which of these applies to Medium yet, but if anyone else knows, please share in the comments below.

The RMFW Spotlight is on Wendy Terrien, Secretary

2016_Wendy Terrien1. Welcome to the blog, Wendy. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

First and foremost, I am the bag lady!  I don’t push a shopping cart around town, but I do coordinate the swag bags for Colorado Gold. I also serve on the workshop committee (which is a tough job—we get so many great workshop proposals!), and I recently became the new Secretary for RMFW.

Being involved with RMFW beyond membership is an excellent way to give back to an organization that has given me so much, not least of which is the strong network of writing mentors and friends. The support system is genuine and solid, and it’s made a huge difference in my writing journey. I’m happy to do what I can for the organization, and for fellow writing friends, old and new.

2016_Terrien_Rampart Guards2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

My debut novel, The Rampart Guards, launched on February 26, 2016. I’m thrilled with how it’s done so far. The novel received a starred review from Kirkus (AAAHHH!) and the editors at Kirkus Reviews chose it to be an Indie Book of the Month in April. It’s been an amazing ride.

The Rampart Guards is available at Amazon, as well as Tattered Cover and BookBar. And it can be ordered through any bookstore.

I’m also part of Wicked Ink Books, which consists of me and fellow RMFW members Becky Taylor, Corinne O’Flynn, Sue Duff aka Sue Loeffler, Aimee Henley, Shawn McGuire, and Kristi Helvig. We just published our first anthology, Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time. It’s available at Amazon, and we just signed a contract to have it published in Turkey—very exciting!

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?

Publishing The Rampart Guards was one of those and I’m proud of that achievement. Now I’d love to see it, and the rest of the series, build on the initial success and take it to the next level. I envision seeing it made into a movie—wouldn’t that be fun? And I’d of course invite all RMFW members to the premiere.

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

Procrastination. Am I the only writer in RMFW who suffers from that? I read about all these diligent writers we have, who do things like get up at 4AM every day and write for several hours without fail. That’s so not me. I find chunks of time when I can write (not a set schedule), but then I’ll pay bills or do laundry first, telling myself I won’t be able to focus if those other things aren’t finished. There may be some truth to that, but it drives me crazy sometimes because I do want to be writing. I guess that’s my tortured artist bit—LOL.

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

The magic. I love how the characters come to life and direct the story themselves, so much so that it feels like I’m merely the typist. And I love how a scene I’ve written can still get to me like I’m reading it for the first time. And it all makes my mind function and think in a different, exhilarating way. It’s fantastic.

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

Stay focused and know you’re on the right track. There is much to learn, and much work to be done, but keep going, keep learning, believe you can do this. We all suffer from that inner voice that tries to pull us down--don’t give into the negative thoughts. Embrace and leverage the excellent resources around you.

2016_Terrien_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 have a sit-stand desk that I love, and I always have at least one pup nearby (we have three dogs—all rescues), which I also love.

I have the word Dream on my desk, followed by a quote from Walt Disney: All dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them. I remember when I first put that on my desk, the idea of writing a novel was so far away I could barely imagine it. But here I am.

I also have a trophy I won in 8th grade for first place in an essay-writing contest. It makes me smile, and it reminds me that I can be successful if I work hard (and I did work hard on that essay, with much thanks to my English teacher at the time, Mr. Williams). It also reminds me how important it is to ask for and accept feedback on your writing.

And I always have a glass of water—I drink plenty-o-water, and I hope everyone else out there does as well.

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

I’m reading The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert and I’m really enjoying it, though I wish I had more time to spend with it. I need to put reading at the top of my list when the procrastination-bug strikes. That’d be way more fun that paying bills.

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You can learn more about Wendy and her work at her website. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.