Conference At a Glance

If you have any questions about the
2014 Colorado Gold Conference,
email Susan Brooks at

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Conference Cost

The base cost of registration for the 2014 Colorado Gold Conference:

  • Early Bird (May 1st through July 31st) Members $315, Non-Members $345
  • Standard (August 1st through August 31st) Members $325, Non-Members $355
  • Walk-in (September 5th through September 6th) Members $350, Non-Members $395

Registration fee includes:

  • A free pitch appointment with one of your top-choice agents, editors or publishers.
  • A free author reading of your work in progress to an audience of supportive peers (sign-up space is limited to 24 readers)
  • Entry to the Friday-night book sale and author-signing extravaganza.
  • Access to all open programming.
  • Access to hotel amenities, including business center, wireless Internet in hotel lobby and bar, restaurant, lounge, coffee shop, and gift shop.
  • Tote bag containing conference literature and small gifts.
  • Friday-night Italian buffet.
  • Saturday and Sunday continental breakfast.
  • Saturday-night awards and recognition banquet.
  • Sunday-afternoon luncheon.

Optional special sessions and add-ons include:

  • $50 for a 4-hour Friday-Morning Master Class. Choose 1 of 5 offered this year. Space is limited.
  • $35 for a 15-minute one-on-one pitch-coaching session with Susan Spann. Space is limited.
  • $35 for a 15-minute one-on-one critique with guest author William Kent Krueger. Space is limited.
  • $35 to participate in a 4-hour Friday-morning or Friday-afternoon critique workshop with a small group moderated by an attending agent, editor or publisher. Space is limited.
  • $15 to audit a 4-hour Friday-morning or Friday-afternoon critique workshop with a small group moderated by an attending agent, editor or publisher. Auditors attend but do not submit pages for critique. Space is limited.
  • $40 to add a guest to the Friday-night dinner. (Limit: 3 guests)
  • $60 to add a guest to the Saturday-night banquet. (Limit: 3 guests)
  • $40 to add a guest to the Sunday luncheon. (Limit: 3 guests)

Travel Arrangements

  • Click here to make hotel reservations. Discount expires August 16th.
  • Click here for discounted travel between DIA and the Westin via SuperShuttle at (800) 258-3826. Use the discount coupon GOLD4.

2014 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
Colorado Gold Conference

September 5-7, 2014
The Westin, Westminster, Colorado

To purchase recordings of conference sessions contact Joyco at:

Conference Photos

We are still adding photos. Come back later to see more of the 2014 conference attendees. If you have photos to share, send them to

Welcome to the 2014 Colorado Gold Conference
Volunteer, Jan Guina; RMFW Vice President, Vicki Law; and volunteer, Marne Kirkstatter welcome conference guests.
It's all in the family! Education Chair and Western Slope Liaison, Vicki Law helps her husband Mike prepare for pitch appointments.
Educating Writers
Jason Bougger asks instructor, Sharon Mignerey a question during the Beginnings Master Class. Sharon is known for writing tense and tightly plotted romance and romantic suspense novels.
Presenter Susan Spann is a California attorney and the author of the Shinobi Mysteries featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori. She presented Sherlock Whose? Create a Compelling Series Protagonist and Contract Law: Where You Can Make a Difference.
RMFW President, Pam Nowak shows that authors are always learning.
Between Workshops
James Townsend and Mike Befeler take a moment to pose for the camera.
Writer of the Year
Shannon Baker, 2014 RMFW Writer of the Year inspires fellow writers.
2014 Writer of the Year, Shannon Baker and last year's award recipient, Linda Joffe Hull at the Writer of the Year Panel.
Conference Chair Susan Brooks (right) receives RMFW's 2014 Jasmine Award for excellence in above-and-beyond volunteer service from Jasmine Cresswell herself!
Conference Chair, Susan Brooks accepts her Jasmine Award
Book Signing
Lisa Ann O'Kane, YA author and former vagabondat with a background in zookeeping and environmental education at the book signing.
Colorado Gold Contest
Conference Chair, Chris Devlin presents the 2014 Colorado Gold Conference contest winners.
2014 Colorado Gold Contest: Action/Thriller Category. Kevin Wolf (left) was named the winner by editor Matt Martz (center).
2014 Colorado Gold Contest: Mystery Category. Mary Birk (left) was named the winner by editor Terri Bischoff (far right).
2014 Colorado Gold Contest: Romance Category. Janet Baltz (left) was named the winner by publisher Raelene Gorlinsky (third from left).
2014 Colorado Gold Contest: Speculative Fiction Category. Michael Carson (forth from left) was named the winner by editor Jess Renheim (far left).
2014 Colorado Gold Contest: Young Adult/Middle Grade Category. Kara Seal (left) was named the winner by agent Shannon Hassan (second from left).
2014 Keynote Speaker
Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords shares his thoughts on publishing during the Saturday night banquet.

Every year, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is pleased to present the Colorado Gold Conference, where hundreds of writers from all over the US and beyond gather for a full weekend of writerly camaraderie, exciting programming, and opportunities to pitch projects to the industry’s top agents and editors. Programming focuses on the following key areas:

  • Craft improvement
  • Genre knowledge
  • Career management
  • Industry savvy
  • Continuing education and professional development for published authors

Whether you’re new to the idea of becoming a writer or you’re a veteran published author, whether you hope to pursue a traditional publishing contract with a big New York publishing house or launch a self-publishing venture, you’re sure to find the skills, knowledge, inspiration, motivation, and support you need at Colorado Gold.

2014 Keynote Speakers

markcokerCEO of Smashwords
Mark Coker

Mark Coker is the founder of Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of self-published ebooks. Smashwords makes it fast, free and easy for any author or publisher to publish and distribute an ebook to major online retailers. Over 70,000 authors from around the world publish and distribute more than 250,000 books at Smashwords. In June 2010, The Wall Street Journal named Mark one of the “Eight Stars of Self-Publishing.” In March 2012, MediaBistro named Mark one of the “Five Ebook Experts to Watch.” And in June 2012, Forbes profiled Mark in a feature story titled “Apple’s Biggest (Unknown) Supplier of E-Books”.

williamkentkruegerMystery and Suspense Author
William Kent Krueger
Read Interview

Raised in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon, William Kent Krueger briefly attended Stanford University—before being kicked out for radical activities. After that, he logged timber, worked construction, tried his hand at free-lance journalism, and eventually ended up researching child development at the University of Minnesota. He currently makes his living as a full-time author. He’s been married for over 35 years to a marvelous woman who is an attorney. He makes his home in St. Paul, a city he dearly loves.

Krueger writes a mystery series set in the north woods of Minnesota. His protagonist is Cork O’Connor, the former sheriff of Tamarack County and a man of mixed heritage—part Irish and part Ojibwe. His work has received a number of awards, including the Minnesota Book Award, the Loft-McKnight Fiction Award, the Anthony Award, the Barry Award, and the Friends of American Writers Prize. Northwest Angle (2011) and Trickster’s Point (2012) were New York Times bestsellers.

Krueger’s Edgar Award winning stand-alone novel, Ordinary Grace, was released in March 2013 and also became a New York Times bestseller. The thirteenth book in the Cork O’Connor series, Tamarack County, is scheduled for release in August 2013.

2014 Special Guests

Please check back regularly. We’ll add more agents, editors and publishers as they confirm their attendance.

margaretbail150Margaret Bail, Agent
Inklings Literary
Read Interview

Margaret Bail, literary agent, has a BA in English and an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing. With years of experience editing everything from medical documents to manuscripts, as well as teaching university-level English and writing, she looks forward to working closely with new and established authors to help develop their voice and craft.

Her lifelong love of stories and storytelling has her looking for books that transport her into the heart of the story, so much so that she’ll forget where she is and lose track of time while she reads.

Specific genres Margaret represents include: romance, science fiction, mystery, thriller/action adventure, historical fiction, westerns, fantasy, memoir, cookbooks.

She does not represent YA, MG, children’s books, steampunk, Christian/religious literature, chick lit, women’s fiction, literary fiction, poetry, or screenplays.

terribischoffTerri Bischoff, Editor
Midnight Ink
Read Interview

Terri Bischoff joined Midnight Ink as an Acquiring Editor in October 2009. She leads all editorial directions and creates the seasonal lists. She has dramatically increased the number of titles per season, publishing 30-36 titles per year, as well as expanded the type of crime fiction MI has published. Terri has a wealth of experience and knowledge in both mysteries and in bookselling, having been involved for 17 years in all areas of bookstore operations, particularly as book buyer and reviewer. She has worked at Kramer Books in Washington, DC, and more recently, Terri owned and operated Booked For Murder Mystery Bookstore in Madison, Wisconsin.

Terri is looking for all types of crime fiction, from cozy to suspense/thriller.

Follow her on Twitter @TerriBischoff.

suebrowerSue Brower, Agent
Natasha Kern Literary Agency
Read Interview

Sue Brower loves finding and developing authors and connecting them with the reader. Book publishing has changed dramatically over the past several years and it’s no secret that the novels that create buzz through their unique writing or concepts are the ones that become bestsellers. Over the past 25 years in publishing, Sue has done marketing, editing, story development and acquisitions for Zondervan, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Most recently, she was Executive Editor and had the privilege of working with New York Times bestselling authors Karen Kingsbury, Tim LaHaye, Stephen Carter, and Terri Blackstock and was named ACFW’s Editor of the Year in 2010. And now she is fortunate to partner with Natasha Kern at the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.

Sue’s been an avid fiction fan since childhood and loves the way stories are able to change lives, heal hearts, and bring joy to readers. Today, she wants to read and acquire women’s contemporary fiction, any kind of romance, suspense, mystery and historical novels. She would love to discover the next breakaway author in any of these genres.

Nina Bruhns, Author
Bestselling Romantic Thrillers

Nina Bruhns is the author of over thirty novels to date, of which nearly two million copies have been sold, and been translated into a half dozen languages. Best known for her vivid settings, unique characters, and page-turning plot twists, Ms. Bruhns writes for Berkley Publishing (Penguin/Putnam) and Cajun Hot Press. She also pens erotic romance for Berkley Heat and Cajun Hot Pressunder the pseudonym Nikita Black.

By profession an archaeologist with a specialty in Egyptology, Ms. Bruhns has lived all over the USA and spent six years in Sweden, as well as doing archeological field work in The Sudan, Egypt, Spain, Sweden, and the United States. She now makes her home in Charleston, SC.

Ms. Bruhns is the recipient of numerous awards for her books, including three prestigious Daphne du Maurier Awards of Excellence for Overall Best Mystery/Suspense Novel of the Year, five Dorothy Parker Awards, and a National Readers Choice Award, along with two Rita nominations, just to name a few.

kerribuckleyKerri Buckley, Editor
Carina Press
Read Interview

Editor Kerri Buckley got her first taste of the great editorial adventure during a semester-long internship at CUNY’s Feminist Press in 2001. Thoroughly hooked, she joined Bantam Dell—a division of Random House—after graduating from Kenyon College in 2003, going on to acquire and edit both fiction and nonfiction for various imprints within the company.

Thrilled to have been invited to the digital-first party at Harlequin’s Carina Press in May of 2013, Kerri is actively acquiring across all genres but most interested in building her list in the following areas: contemporary romance, New Adult, erotic romance, historical romance (Regencies in particular, please!), romantic suspense, and cozy or hardboiled mysteries.

Find her on Twitter @BuckleyKerri.

elizabethcoppsElizabeth Copps, Agent
Maria Carvainis Agency
Read Interview

Elizabeth Copps began her publishing career in 2010 as an intern for Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc. after graduating from Florida State University with a BA in English Literature. She was thrilled to join the agency full-time in 2011 as the new literary assistant. Two years later, she was offered the position of literary associate and is incredibly excited to build her own list of authors.

Elizabeth considers herself an eclectic reader, but she is particularly interested in literary, multicultural and contemporary fiction, women’s fiction, young adult and young adult crossover, gritty thrillers and mysteries, memoir and romantic suspense. She appreciates rich and believable characters who immediately suck readers into their world, and she is captivated by a startling plot twist. Her favorite authors include, John Boyne, Chris Cleave, Gillian Flynn, John Greene, Joanne Harris, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Daphne du Maurier, David Sedaris, Jeanette Walls and Carlos RuizZafón.

MCA’s clients include Mary Balogh, Sandra Brown, Candace Camp, Cindy Gerard, Kristan Higgins, Will Thomas, and Laura Wright among others.

luciennediverLucienne Diver, Agent
The Knight Agency
Read Interview

Lucienne Diver joined The Knight Agency in 2008, after spending fifteen years with Spectrum Literary Agency in New York. Over the course of her dynamic career she has sold over seven hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of more than forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, and young adult fiction. Her authors have been honored with the RITA, National Readers’ Choice, Golden Heart, Romantic Timesand Colorado Book Awards, and have appeared on the New York Timesand USA Today bestseller lists. Clients include such bestsellers as Rachel Caine, Chloe Neill, Faith Hunter, Susan Krinard, Rob Thurman and many others.

She’s also an author in her own right with her Vamped young adult series for Flux Books and the Latter-Day Olympians urban fantasy series for Samhain (Bad Blood, Crazy in the Blood, Rise of the Blood, and Battle for the Blood, which is forthcoming. Her short stories and essays that have appeared in the Strip-Mauled and Fangs for the Mammaries anthologies (Baen Books), in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperTeen) and the anthology Kicking It (Roc Books). Further information is available on The Knight Agency and her author site:

raelenegorlinskyRaelene Gorlinsky, Publisher
Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc.
Read Interview

I spent twenty-five years in the computer information communication profession, as technical writer, editor and manager. I started freelance editing for Ellora’s Cave in 2003, and in January 2004 I moved to Ohio to take on the job of Managing Editor, and became Publisher a year later. I deal with over 600 authors, plan and manage our digital releases and promotional efforts, and handle contract negotiations with authors and agents, vendors, etailers, and foreign publishers. But I still love editing and continue to work with my group of authors. Ellora’s Cave is open to all subgenres of erotic romance, erotica fiction, and mainstream romance. We also do three or four submission calls a year for special themed projects (info on our website).

I wish I had a lot more time to read for pleasure! My TBR shelves and ereader contain over 800 books—I guess I’m a bit behind. When not working or reading, I collect Tarot cards (for the art), antique dictionaries and illustrated children’s books. A pack of bossy Welsh Corgis rule my home and heart. (Okay, there’s room for my son in both, too.) And someday I’m going to realize my dream of becoming a published author of children’s books!

Learn more on Twitter @ellorascave.

shannonhassanShannon Hassan, Agent
Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Read Interview

Shannon Hassan, an agent at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role, having worked in publishing and law for more than a decade. She represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and select nonfiction. She is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and she enjoys both contemporary and historical settings. Based in Boulder, Colorado, she is also eager to hear from authors with a unique perspective on the New West. She does not generally represent sci-fi, high fantasy, or horror. Before becoming an agent, Shannon was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, and prior to that a corporate attorney at Arnold and Porter in New York. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University.

Follow her on Twitter @ShannonHassan.

MattMartzMatt Martz, Editor
The Quick Brown Fox & Company
Read Interview

Matt Martz began his publishing career in 2004 and joined The Quick Brown Fox & Company in 2014 after 8 years on the editorial staff at Minotaur Books. He publishes crime fiction ranging from traditional mysteries to high concept thrillers. The authors with whom he has worked include Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist Kelli Stanley, Barry Award nominee Tim O’Mara, and Karin Salvalaggio.

In addition to crime fiction, he also acquires nonfiction in the categories of history/current affairs and business for St. Martin’s Press.

courtneymilanCourtney Milan, Author
Romance & Historical Fiction

Courtney Milan’s traditionally published books received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. In 2011, she decided to self-publish. Since then, she’s been a New York Times and a USA Today Bestseller, the winner of RT’s Best Self-Published Historical Romance in 2012, and one of five romance novels chosen for the Genre Reading Lists by the American Library Association. Courtney is a RITA finalist in the historical category for her self-published The Countess Conspiracy.

jessicarenheimJessica Renheim, Associate Editor
Dutton / Penguin Group
Read Interview

Jessica Renheim (née Horvath) joined Dutton in August 2007 and became an Associate Editor in 2011. She edits both fiction and nonfiction at Dutton, including speculative and paranormal fiction, mystery/crime, thrillers, narrative nonfiction and memoir. Among the bestselling and critically acclaimed writers she has worked with are Mark Adams, Dan Savage, Stephen White, Meg Gardiner, Brian D’Amato, Linda Fairstein, Brad Taylor, and #1 New York Times bestselling authors Richelle Mead and Kelley Armstrong. Additional areas of interest include quality commercial fiction, upmarket women’s fiction, popular history, humor, and popular culture.

petersenftlebenPeter Senftleben Associate Editor
Kensington Books
Read Interview

Peter Senftleben is building his own varied and distinguished list. He joined Kensington in 2006 after sharpening his editorial skills and red pencil while working at literary agencies. A graduate of Tulane University with a degree in chemical engineering and math (yes, math), Peter occasionally indulges the numbers side of his brain with a challenging Sudoku puzzle or by baking, but he can more often be seen watching trashy television shows. Peter is currently acquiring many types of fiction; his interests include: mainstream and women’s fiction, all subgenres of romance, mysteries, thrillers, horror, gay fiction, and “new adult.” Peter is often drawn to quirky, offbeat projects with distinctive voices, stunning writing, realistic characters, and stories that will make him LOL (literally), cry in public, scare the bejeezus out of him, or engage him so deeply that he skips meals. He does not want to see anything with terrorists of any kind. You can follow him on Twitter at @gr8thepeter.

During pitch appointments Peter is also open to accepting your traditional pitch but also you may use that time for a query critique, or you may use that time for any other issue you would like to discuss.

jellensmithJ. Ellen Smith, Publisher
Champagne Book Group
Read Interview

J. Ellen Smith is the executive editor and publisher for the Champagne Book Group, a company that now encompasses three imprints. When she isn’t busy with business and deadlines, she’s either meddling with the acquisitions department or out meeting authors and readers.

CBG books are available in electronic and trade paperback forms. Established in December 2004, CBG threw open their cyber doors in April 2005 with four titles. Since that time, and with the belief that ebooks are the future, we have continued to grow (last year’s growth was 166% over the previous year) and now boast authors in all corners of the globe.

What we’re looking for: Historical highland & regency romances, contemporary romance, steampunk, shifters, vampires, science fiction, urban fantasy and erotic romance in all its subgenres.

davidwilkDavid Wilk, Publisher
Frederator Books

During an almost 40 year career, David Wilk has worked in almost every aspect of publishing and book distribution in both print and digital environments, working with everything from letterpress and fine arts books and poetry to best selling nonfiction and innovative ebooks.

He is currently Publisher for digital children’s book startup Frederator Books, and provides strategic and practical publishing services to authors, publishers, media companies and nonprofits including A+E Television, Katalitix Media, the Audubon Society, and Perseus Books.

He is also a published poet with four chapbooks, and appearances in a number of literary magazines, journals and websites. His podcast,, has featured interviews with over 200 writers and publishing professionals s since its inception in 2010.

Wilk was the Literature Program Director at the National Endowment for the Arts during the Carter administration, was an active participant in the Poetry in the Schools program, was the editor of the influential literary journal TRUCK, and has been editor and publisher of innovative creative writing under a variety of publishing imprints since 1975. He has taught classes and workshops and given talks at NYU, SUNY, Yale, Sisters in Crime, ASJA, Book Expo, Digital Book World, Self Publishing Expo, Tools of Change, Novelists Inc., Newtown Healing Arts, and other venues.

Websites include (blog), (author and book videos), (podcasts), (digital publishing), (general publishing) and

Refund Policy

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers will gladly refund your conference registration fees, less a $50.00 processing fee. You must notify the conference chair to cancel your conference registration 31 or more days before the conference date. Please contact, to cancel.

RMFW is unable to refund any conference registration fees 30 days or fewer before the conference date.