2016 Keynote Speakers
Robert J. Sawyer & Ann Hood

Got Questions? Contact Corinne O'Flynn, Conference Chair at conference@rmfw.org.

2016 Colorado Gold Conference
September 9-11, 2016
Renaissance Hotel
Denver, Colorado

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About Colorado Gold Conference

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 such as craft improvement, genre knowledge, career management, industry savvy, and 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.

Keynote Speakers

RobertJSawyer-smRobert J. Sawyer—called “just about the best science-fiction writer out there” by the Rocky Mountain News—is known for exploring deep philosophical and moral questions in his work. He is one of only eight people ever to have won all three of the science-fiction field’s top awards for best novel of the year including the Hugo for Hominids, the Nebula for The Terminal Experiment, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Mindscan. The Canadian publishing trade journal, calls him “one of the thirty most influential, innovative, and just plain powerful people in Canadian publishing.”  Robert J. Sawyer has proven himself to be “a writer of boundless confidence and bold scientific extrapolation.”
AnnHood-smAnn Hood wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She majored in English at the University of Rhode Island, and that's where she fell in love with Shakespeare, Willa Cather, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. She wrote her first novel, Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine, on international flights and on the Train to the Plane, which was the subway out to JFK. It was published in 1987. Since then, she’s published in The New York Times, The Paris Review, O, Bon Appetit, Tin House, The Atlantic Monthly, Real Simple, and other wonderful places; and she’s won two Pushcart Prizes, two Best American Food Writing Awards, Best American Spiritual Writing and Travel Writing Awards, and a Boston Public Library Literary Light Award.

Agents & Editors

Beth Campbell
Assistant Literary Agent
BookEnds, LLC.

After an academic career filled with publishing internships, Beth joined BookEnds as a literary assistant in September 2012 and was promoted to Assistant Literary Agent in 2015. She's diligently building her client list and is always excited to meet an author with an excellent story. She's also spent years as the company's rights coordinator and now works alongside Moe Ferrara to continue selling foreign and audio rights. Beth's obsession with books began with a distinct fantasy/sci-fi flavor, and she's happily never kicked the addiction. She loves seeing diverse characters (sexuality, gender, race) and strong friendships across all genres. Her personal include drawing, cooking, gaming, and the Internet.

YA, romantic suspense, mystery


Rachelle Gardner
Agent, Books & Such
Literary Management

Rachelle’s been involved in publishing since 1995, joining Books & Such in 2012 after agenting with WordServe Literary Group since 2007. Before becoming an agent, she was senior editor at NavPress, where she developed and launched the NavPress fiction line that included three Christy Award finalists and an ECPA Award finalist. She acquired and edited numerous nonfiction books as well. Prior to entering the CBA, Rachelle worked in mainstream publishing at General Publishing Group. Having ghostwritten eight published books and edited more than 100, Rachelle is familiar with the life of a writer and loves being involved in the creation and shaping of a book.

adult fiction and nonfiction, with an occasional foray into books for teens


Shannon Hassan
Agent, Marsal Lyon
Literary Agency

Shannon Hassan brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role as agent, having worked in publishing and law for more than a decade. Based in Boulder, Colorado, she is also eager to hear from authors with a unique perspective on the New West. Before becoming an agent, she was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, and prior to that, a corporate attorney at Arnold & Porter in New York. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University. With respect to fiction, she is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and enjoys both contemporary and historical settings.

literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and select nonfiction


Stuart Horwitz
Freelance Editor
Book Architecture

As founder and principal of Book Architecture, Stuart has spent over fifteen years helping writers become authors, signing with top literary agencies, sealing deals with coveted publishing houses, or forging a successful path through indie publishing. Book Architecture’s clients have reached the best-seller list in both fiction and non-fiction, and have appeared on Oprah! Stuart is an award-winning essayist and poet, who has taught writing at Grub Street of Boston and Brown University. His book, Blueprint Your Bestseller: Organize and Revise any Manuscript with The Book Architecture Method, was named one of 2013’s best books about writing by The Writer magazine. He holds two masters degrees—one in Literary Aesthetics from NYU—and one in East Asian Studies from Harvard with a concentration in Medieval Japanese Buddhism.


Thao Le
Dijkstra Agency

THAO LE handles the financials and select contracts at the Dijkstra Agency. She is also an agent. She is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego with a double major in Econ-Management Science and Chinese Studies. While interning at the agency during college, she realized where her true love lies — books — and joined the agency full-time in the spring of 2011. She also loves magic realism and beautiful literary writing with a commercial hook. She is always on the lookout for more diversity and LGBTQ stories. For Adult and YA SF/F, she enjoys stories rooted in mythology, fairytales, and legends with atmospheric settings and strong world building.

adult sci-fi/Fantasy, young adult, middle grade, and is selectively open to romance, and picture books by authors who are also illustrators

Website – Twitter

Joanna MacKenzie
Agent, Browne & Miller
Literary Associates

Joanna MacKenzie loves a good story. She’s worked as a film critic, a film festival director, created a reading series and podcast, as well as many websites devoted to narrative. During her tenure at Browne & Miller Literary Associates, Joanna has prepared, submitted, and successfully placed all types of projects, but her true passion lies in commercial YA and adult fiction. She enjoys working with writers who embrace the full creative process and has helped to shape many client manuscripts into books that receive stellar reviews, award nominations, and which have gone on to become national and international bestsellers.

contemporary YA about the relationships that make us who we are, YA fantasy, thrillers and mysteries both for the YA and adult markets, and women’s fiction


Jessica Page Morrell
Freelance Editor

Jessica Page Morrell understands both sides of the editorial desk as a development editor and author and has a deeply practical approach to writing and teaching. She writes with depth, wit and clarity on topics related to writing and creativity along with other topics and is the author of Thanks, But This Isn’t For Us, A (Sort of) Compassionate Guide to Why Your Writing is Being Rejected; Bullies, Bastards & Bitches, How to Write the Bad Guys in Fiction; The Writer’s I Ching: Wisdom for the Creative Life; Voices from the Street; Between the Lines: Master The Subtle Elements Of Fiction Writing; and Writing Out the Storm. Morrell founded and coordinates writing conferences, has been creating columns about the writing life since 1998, and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences in North America and Ireland.

Website –  Goodreads

Gina Panettieri
Agent & Founder,
Talcott Notch Literary

Being an agent is really all Gina can imagine doing. Books, and the amazing people who write them, have been the focus of her life for more than two decades. And this specific role she plays, being given the chance to find and nurture new books, to work with some of the most creative and talented writers, scientists and psychologists, cooks and criminologists, experts from every field of study, makes what she does feel so different from work that her inbox feels like Santa's magical Christmas bag. It's always full, always overflowing, but brimming with the potential of something spectacular.

women's fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, science fiction, historical, mystery, thrillers and suspense


Diana Pho
Associate Editor,
Tor Books

Diana M. Pho is an associate editor at Tor Books and blogs for Tor.com. She is also an academic scholar, activist, performer, and general rabble-rouser. In the steampunk community, she is best-known for running Beyond Victoriana, an award-winning, US-based blog on multicultural steampunk. She has published numerous articles on science fiction and its community, and written introductions to The Anatomy of Steampunk, Steampunk World, and The Best of Spanish Steampunk. She has been interviewed for many media outlets about fandom.

historical fantasy, steampunk,
alternate history, near-future science fiction, high-concept science fiction, dark fantasy, and contemporary fantasy

Website –  TwitterTumblr

Lizzie Poteet
Assistant Editor,
St. Martin’s Press

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Elizabeth Poteet attended Colby College where she majored in English and Religious Studies. While studying at St. Andrews, she realized that though she enjoyed Shakespeare and the Dead Sea Scrolls, she preferred reading stories with a little more heat and heart. Lizzie is now an Assistant Editor at St. Martin's Press. She loves sassy heroines, witty banter, and good old fashion romance. She loves anything with a happy ending. A few of her recent acquisitions include the funny, DIY-filled romance novel Start Me Up by Nicole Michaels and the heartwarming Jewell Cove series by Donna Alward.

new adult, young adult, historical and contemporary romances


Jeff Seymour
Freelance Editor

Jeff Seymour has been writing and editing speculative fiction for over a decade. He acquired titles for Carina Press as it built its science fiction and fantasy program and has helped bestselling and award-nominated authors get ready for publication. He specializes in science fiction and fantasy and takes a collaborative approach to editing, not just telling clients how to improve their manuscripts but explaining the problems he sees and asking questions designed to make them engage with their work more deeply. Jeff is also an author himself. His first novel, the dark epic fantasy SOULWOVEN, has notched over a million reads on Wattpad and was self-published to strong reviews after a 2013 Kickstarter.


DongWon Song
Agent, Howard Morhaim
Literary Agency

DongWon Song was formerly an editor at Orbit, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. There, he launched multiple New York Times bestselling series including FEED by Mira Grant and LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey. He was the first hire at a publishing startup, Zola Books, and while there oversaw content and eventually became the head of product for the ecommerce and ebook apps. He is a graduate of Duke University with a BA in English and Economics.
He is also interested in non-fiction, especially food writing, science, and pop-culture.

science fiction and fantasy – especially epic fantasy or high fantasy


Amy Stapp
Editor, Tor/Forge
and Tor Teen

Amy Stapp is an editor at Tor/Forge and Tor Teen, where she acquires mystery, suspense, women’s fiction, and historical fiction. She is actively seeking gritty suspense, mature YA, psychological/literary horror, character-driven historical fiction, and smart romance. When not reading, she enjoys travelling, experimenting in the kitchen, long runs with her dog, and champagne with friends.

mystery, suspense, women’s fiction, historical fiction


Jaida Temperly
Agent, New Leaf
Literary & Media

Jaida Temperly, a Literary Agent at New Leaf Literary & Media, is very excited to be building her client list. Her clients include Kody Keplinger, Kirsten Hubbard, Eric Telchin, Amber McRee Turner, and Maggie Heinze. She also represents illustrators Betsy Bauer, James Lipnickas, and Genevieve Santos. After a brief stint in medical school at UW-Madison, Jaida moved from Wisconsin to NYC for an internship at Writer’s House. After five months, Jaida joined New Leaf Literary & Media, assisting Joanna Volpe for the past three years before starting to build her own list of clients.

middle grade, young adult, mystery, high fantasy, or religious undertones


Mentors & Special Guests

Angie Hodapp
Mentor Liaison

Angie Hodapp is the Liaison for the mentor room at conference. She has worked in language-arts education, publishing, and professional writing and editing for the better part of the last two decades. After completing her master’s thesis, a work of creative nonfiction, and leaving academia, she gave herself permission to write what she really wanted to write: speculative fiction and romance. Angie is currently the contracts and royalties manager at Nelson Literary Agency in Denver.


Samantha Jo Lien

Ever enamored by the experience of others, Sami Lien has always sought out opportunities to put herself in the way of a really great story. After 10 years in promotions, marketing and business management in a variety of industries, Sami stumbled into the world of publicity in 2011 and has found a tremendous joy in connecting individuals all over the map to their own passions and pursuits. She provides professional guidance, coordinates national tours and works closely with online and print media outlets to create a memorable and captivating experience for her partners in work. In addition to authoring a number of feature articles for entertainment publications, Sami holds a degree in Journalism and a Masters in Business and Entertainment Management. Graduate school took her through an internship with AEG Live and to London to study business operations directly from faculty at The O2 Arena, 2012 Olympics Committee, Wimbledon, and Sound City, Liverpool's annual music festival. Any event that supports her lifelong case of wanderlust will always be entertained.


Melody Jones

Melody Jones is the founder and owner of Social Media Management Services, where she manages day-to-day social media needs for solo entrepreneurs, small business owners, authors and speakers. Melody offers a personal service, excellent results, strong communications, a partnership mindset and comprehensive social media programs through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram. Melody also offers social media workshops and retreats, which are educational and fun, and help take the headache out of a weekend packed with information - after all, Melody is your "Social Media Aspirin"!


Conference Fees & Refund Policy

The base cost of registration for the 2016 Colorado Gold Conference:

  • Early Bird (May 1st through May 31st) Members $319, Non-Members $364
  • Regular (June 1st through June 30th) Members $339, Non-Members $384
  • Summer (July 1st through July 31st) Members $359, Non-Members $404
  • Late (August 1st through August 31st) Members $379, Non-Members $424
  • Last Minute (September 1st through September 3rd) Members $399, Non-Members $444
  • At the Door (September 11th only) Members $425, Non-Members $470

Refund Policy: Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers will gladly refund your conference registration fees, less a $50.00 processing fee. You must notify the conference co-chair to cancel your conference registration 31 or more days before the conference date. Please contact conference@rmfw.org, to cancel. RMFW is unable to refund any conference registration fees 30 days or fewer before the conference date.

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. Space is limited.
  • A free 30-minute “Hook Your Book” appointment to work on your cover copy or query letter with two partners. Space is limited.
  • 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 (WiFi is not available in the classrooms)
  • Tote bag containing conference literature and small gifts
  • Friday-night buffet
  • Saturday and Sunday continental breakfast
  • Saturday-night awards and recognition banquet
  • Sunday-afternoon luncheon

Optional special sessions and add-ons include:

  • $60 for a 4-hour Master Class. Choose 1 of 7 offered this year. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one pitch coaching session with Susan Spann, Heather Webb or Angie Hodapp. Space is limited.
  • New! Blue-Pencil Critique/Mentor session with guest author Robert J. Sawyer. Bring up to 4 pages or bring questions. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one critique of 10 pages with guest author Ann Hood. Register and submit pages by July 1. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one critique of 10 pages with guest editor Jessica Morrell. Register and submit pages by July 1. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one critique of 10 pages with guest editor Jeff Seymour. Register and submit pages by July 1. Space is limited.
  • $40 to participate in a 4-hour Friday-morning or Friday-afternoon critique round table with a small group moderated by an attending agent or editor. Register and submit pages by July 15. 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 or editor. Auditors attend but do not submit pages or participate in the critiques. Space is limited.
  • New! $25 for a 20-minute appointment in our “Mentor Room”. Take advantage of the introductory price for this new offering. Space is limited.
  • $40 Professional Headshot photography appointment. Space is limited.
  • $70 to add a guest to the Friday-night dinner. (Limit: 3 guests) Space is limited.
  • $70 to add a guest to the Saturday-night banquet. (Limit: 3 guests) Space is limited.
  • $50 to add a guest to the Sunday luncheon. (Limit: 3 guests) Space is limited.

Notice of photography, audio and video recording: 

When you attend the Colorado Gold Conference, you enter an area where photography, audio and video recording may and will occur. By entering the Conference premises, you consent to such photography and recording and to its release, publication, exhibition, reproduction, distribution, and use for news, sale, educational, promotional, advertising, and sale purposes and to its inclusion on and distribution through websites and in hard copy formats (collectively, “Uses”). By entering the Colorado Gold Conference, you also consent to use of your image and voice, to the extent they appear in audio and/or video recordings and photographs. You waive all rights you may have to any claims in connection with All Uses of recordings and photographs, regardless of the purpose or sponsoring of such uses. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak with the conference organizers.

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