Rocky Mountain Writer #116

Alissa Johnson & Setting Achievable Goals 

Award winning writer and WritingStrides coach Alissa Johnson recently presented to the Western Slope branch in Grand Junction and she will give RMFW's free monthly talk in March, "Writing Reset: Setting Achievable Goals." (That workshop is Saturday, March 17 in Denver.)

On the podcast, Alissa talks with guest interviewer Natasha Watts about her WritingStrides community and how to balance creativity with your career.

Ever wish you could hit the reset button for your writing? Perhaps return to the energy and enthusiasm you felt at the start of the year or create a fresh start? You can.

Alissa Johnson is a nationally published and award winning writer whose work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Masters Review, Wilderness News, and Dirt Rag Magazine among other publications. She was associate editor at the Crested Butte News until 2017, and her writing has won awards from the Colorado Press Association and FundsforWriters.

Alissa holds an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University.

Alissa's website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #115

Mike Houtz & Dark Spiral Down

Mike Houtz just signed a deal with Wild Rose Press to publish his first novel, Dark Spiral Down.

The deal wouldn’t have happened had Mike not signed up for one of the key features at every Colorado Gold conference—to pitch to the many agents and editors who fly into Denver every September for the express purpose of meeting new talent.

One thing to led another and Mike signed the deal with Wild Rose Press just a couple of weeks ago.

After a career in medicine, Mike Houtz succumbed to the call to hang up his stethoscope and pursue his other passion as a writer of fast-paced thrillers.

A rabid fan of authors such as Tom Clancy, Brad Taylor, Vince Flynn and Brad Thor, Mike loves series writing with strong characters, fast pacing and international locations.

When not at the keyboard, he can be found on the firing range, coaching youth sports, or trying out the latest dry-fly pattern on a gold medal trout stream. Mike lives with his wife and two young sons at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just west of Denver.

Mike's website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #114

Pamela Nowak & Colorado Gold Workshop Proposals 

In the words of Pamela Nowak, there are “tough decisions” ahead.

That’s because she and her committee will receive three times as many proposals for workshops at Colorado Gold than she has room to book.

Yes, planning for the 2018 edition of September’s Colorado Gold conference is well underway and that includes determining the topics and presenters for the 70 or so hours of programming that is being selected and organized.

On the podcast, Pam takes us behind the scenes of the process and offers some tips and suggestions how you might put yourself in a good position to be given a slot. You may have a “cute idea,” as she puts it, but you’ll need to give that proposal some real meat.

Pam Nowak, who is co-chairing the 2018 conference with Suzie Brooks, is a former and longtime chair of the conference herself and she is also a past president of RMFW.

Pam is also a dedicated and award-winning writer and she is currently working in a new genre, as you will hear.

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #113

Jason Evans & Writing Memorable Villains

On Saturday February 17, Jason Evans is leading RMFW’s free monthly workshop and if you have trouble developing and writing your bad guy, this session might be just what you need.

The program is about writing memorable villains and on the podcast we’ve got Jason Evans here for a preview of what he’s going to cover—and exactly how he’ll inspire you to get it right. Your villain, Jason says, needs to be a “fun house mirror” version of your hero and “great villainy” grows from true pain.

Jason Evans always wanted to be a writer, he just didn’t know it. He grew up in Southern California and taught high school social studies after college until he got married and moved to Denver in 2004.

Jason continued in education until he realized his heart was in fiction. Since 2012 Jason has had several short stories published, ran an online magazine, and became a regular panelist at local conventions. He blogs regularly on his own website and Writers from the Peak, in addition to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

This Spring the WhimsyCon Anthology will be published, giving Jason his first credit as an editor. Jason earned a masters in history in 2012 and, as you’ll soon find out, also has a bit of major news about his publishing career that was announced just this week.

Jason Evans' website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #112

Susan Brooks: Conference Workshop Proposals & Literary Wanderlust Update

As soon as we turned the corner into 2018, the conference planning for Colorado Gold kicked into gear.

In fact, planning started much earlier but RMFW members and others were notified a couple of weeks ago that they now have the chance to apply to present during one of 70 or so workshop slots that will be offered during 2018 Colorado Gold in September.

That prompted a check-in with conference co-chair Susie Brooks for a quick overview of the workshop proposal process.

It also gave us a chance to catch up with her publishing enterprise, Literary Wanderlust, which has 8 new titles planned on its 2018 publication schedule.

Wanderlust is the right word – she’s got a wide variety of titles on the way, from a flash fiction compilation to a fracking romance set in South Africa.

Since 2009, Suzie has served on the board of directors for RMFW and has served for many years as solo conference chair.

She holds a master’s degree in publishing from George Washington University and has many years of editorial experience.

Literary Wanderlust's website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #111

Wendy Terrien: 2017 Independent Writer of the Year

Last summer, Wendy Terrien was named Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Independent Writer of the Year.

In August, she published two novels on the same day. Both were sequels to her first novel, The Rampart Guards, which just happened to be named one of Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016.

In December, she was elected president of RMFW.

Today, she’s busy working on a new novel and she's got an agent who is preparing to help her land a traditional publishing deal.

In short, Wendy Terrien has a lot going on.

In addition to her novels, Wendy published a short story, “The Fate Stone,” in the award-winning anthology Tick Tock: Seven Tales of Time (March 2016), and “Light” in the award-winning Off Beat: Nine Spins on Song (April 2017), both from Wicked Ink Books.

Wendy graduated from the University of Utah and transplanted to Colorado where she completed her MBA at the University of Denver. She focused her marketing expertise on the financial and technology industries until a career coach stepped in and reminded Wendy of her passion for writing. Wendy began attending writers’ conferences, workshops, and retreats, and she hasn’t stopped yet.

Wendy Terrien's website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #110

Jennifer Rose & The Book of Keys (Twins of Orion Series)

Jennifer Rose might have just what you need as you begin to ponder your writing goals and plans for 2018.

On Saturday, Jan. 6 Jennifer is presenting RMFW’s free monthly workshop at the Sam Gary Branch library in Denver.  The workshop will run from 1 to 3 p.m.

It’s called Level Up Your Mindset and Productivity.

On the podcast, Jennifer offers a preview of some of the tools and tips she believes lead to success.

But, wait, there's more.

There's also Jennifer's fairly unusual combination of interests, martial arts and opera, and the publication earlier this year of her first novel, The Book Of Keys.

The book is the first in the Twins of Orion series and it's already drawn rave reviews from Kirkus and Booklist.

Jennifer's website.

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #109

Denitta Ward & Somewhere Still

Denitta Ward will tell you that she did it all backwards.

But she got on the path to publication earlier this year when took RMFW’s online course about self-publishing, taught by Lisa Price Manifold.

The result? The publication of her first novel, Somewhere Still, in November.

Denitta is a member of the Women's Fiction Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and (of course) Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is delighted to be the 100th member of IPAL.

After decades of writing legal briefs and contracts, Denitta picked up her pen and decided she'd write the stories she really wanted to tell, about young women discovering their own resilience in times of societal transition.

In fact Somewhere Still is set in the Roaring Twenties era in Kansas City and the follow-up jumps ahead three decades to Cuba.

In both cases, however, Denitta is exploring a topic that remains relevant today about the “power dynamic” between men and women. Even writing in a clean style, Denitta explores an age-old question: who is writing that paycheck and what are women willing to do for that money?

Denitta Ward's website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #108

Pat Stoltey & Wishing Caswell Dead

Pat Stoltey’s fourth novel comes out in just a few short weeks (Dec. 20) and it’s been quite a ride.

Revised and revised some more, Pat says that one point she realized she had written the life out of her characters.

So she backed up and started over again until she got it right.

Wishing Caswell Dead is set in the early 1800's in a village on the Illinois frontier. It’s a historical mystery about the evil that hides within a village, one girl who is determined to save herself and her child, and a violent murder no one wants to solve.

Pat Stoltey grew up in east central Illinois so it's not unexpected she would use that part of the country as a setting. The Village of Sangamon is not a real place, but Pat says it has become so real to her she's now writing a follow-on story using the same setting.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, a Scottish Terrier named Sassy, and a bossy brown Tabby known as Katie Cat.

Pat's website

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

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

Rocky Mountain Writer #107

Kevin Wolf & Brokeheart

This time, a story of going with the flow.

After writing for more than a decade, Kevin Wolf won a major award in a writing contest and the prize included a contract with none other than St. Martin’s Press. That led to the publication, last year, of Kevin's first novel, The Homeplace. 

Last month, Kevin Wolf published his second novel, Brokeheart, and he’s with a whole new publisher.

Both books are set in Colorado and both were inspired by locations in the state that stem from Kevin’s own family history, but one story is set in the present and the new one takes us back to the late 19th century with some paranormal elements, but whether with a big house or not-so-big house Kevin is here to tell us what he’s learned along the way.

Brokeheart features frontier newspaper man Kepler arriving in the Colorado mining town in hopes of making a fresh start. As he begins to report the goings on of Brokeheart and the conditions at the mine, he attracts attention from all quarters, from the mysterious European aristocrat who hires him to oversee the construction of a hunting lodge to the unsavory foreman of the Brokeheart mine.

Kevin Wolf's website

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

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