2018 Keynote Speakers

James Scott Bell, Kate Moretti, and Christopher Paolini

Got Questions? Contact Pam Nowak, Conference Chair at conference@rmfw.org.

2018 Colorado Gold Conference
September 6-9, 2018
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

James Scott Bell 

James Scott Bell is the author of eleven thrillers, and is a winner of the International Thriller Writers Award for his novel, Romeo’s Wayand the #1 bestselling author of books on the craft of writing. Jim served as fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine, to which he frequently contributes, and has written five craft books for Writer’s Digest Books: Plot & StructureRevision & Self-EditingThe Art of War for Writers, Conflict & Suspense and Just WriteHis Write Your Novel From The Middle was an instant #1 Amazon bestselling writing book.

Kate Moretti

Kate Moretti is the New York Times Bestselling author of four novels and a novella, including Thought I Knew YouWhile You Were GoneBinds That TieThe Vanishing Year, and Blackbird SeasonHer first novel Thought I Knew You, was a New York Times bestseller. The Vanishing Year was a nominee in the Goodreads Choice Awards Mystery/Thriller category for 2016 and was called "chillingly satisfying." (Publisher's Weekly) with "superb" closing twists (New York Times Book Review). 

​Kate has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for twenty years as a scientist and enjoys traveling and cooking. She lives in Pennsylvania in an old farmhouse with her husband, two children and no known ghosts. Her lifelong dream is to find a secret passageway.

Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini is the author of the international bestsellers Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance, along with Eragon’s Guide to Alagaësia. He resides in Paradise Valley, Montana, USA. In 2011, the Guinness World Records recognized him as the “youngest author of a bestselling book series.”

 Acquiring Agents & Editors

Elayne Becker | Editor | Forge Books | Acquiring: historical fiction, fantasy, romance, contemporary fiction, young adult,  middle grade and speculative fiction

Elayne Becker is an Associate Editor for Forge Books, Tor Teen, and Starscape. She works closely with books across multiple genres of fiction, but her heart lies with tales of history, myth, and magic. When she’s not dreaming of traveling the world, she can usually be found in a bookstore. The stories she like best are ones that take her to another world, whether that’s a fantasy realm, Ancient Rome, or London during the Great Exhibition of 1851. To that end, she's particularly interested in finding good historical fiction and fantasy. A unique twist on a classic fairy tale or a clever retelling of a myth are also up her alley. Gorgeous prose, body diversity, protagonists with disabilities, sibling stories, and good, swoonworthy romances are always pluses, as are animals and stories set in any stretch of wilderness such as the Appalachian Trail or the Rocky Mountains. For anything speculative, she's acquiring middle grade and young adult only. For contemporary fiction or historicals, I’m open to middle grade, young adult, and adult.

Faith Black Ross | Editor | Crooked Lane Books | Acquiring traditional mysteries and cozies of all shapes and sizes, historical and international mysteries, amateur and female sleuths, as well as thrillers, particularly those of a psychological, suspenseful, and/or historical variety.

Faith Black Ross began her publishing career at Cambridge University Press, after receiving her BA from Williams College, her MA from Rutgers University and studying at Oxford University. From Cambridge she moved to Avalon Books where she became head of the editorial department overseeing a mix of mysteries, romances, and historical fiction. Faith then joined the editorial department of the Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Random House publishing mysteries and historical fiction and working with bestselling and award winning authors including Agatha Award winners and Edgar nominees. Faith then worked as an acquiring editor for Severn House in the UK before joining Crooked Lane in 2016.

Bess Cozby | Tor/Forge Books | Acquiring: historical fiction, women's fiction, YA thrillers, YA contemporary

Bess Cozby is an Editor at Tor/Forge books, where she is actively building her list with a focus on historical fiction for adult and young adult audiences. On the adult side, Bess is also seeking suspense and women’s fiction. For YA, she also would love to find fun, fast, or nail-biting thrillers and contemporary novels with a high-concept hook. A few things she is particularly interested in: fame and its effects on people, sibling dynamics, American history, and philosophy. An element of romance is always a plus. The intersection of commercial, heart-warming, and surprising is where she is building her list.

Melissa Edwards | Agent | Stonesong Literary |Acquiring: middle-grade and YA fiction, commercial women's fiction, mysteries, and thrillers

Melissa Edwards joined Stonesong as a literary agent in August 2016. Previously, she was a literary agent at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency, where she managed the foreign rights for a 40-year backlist. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School, Melissa began her career as a litigation attorney before transitioning into publishing. She is a tireless advocate for her clients and a constant partner during the publication process and beyond. Melissa represents authors of children’s fiction, adult commercial fiction, and select pop-culture nonfiction. She is looking for warm and timeless middle grade fiction and accessible young adult fiction. For adults, she is looking for fast-paced thrillers and smart women’s fiction. She can be found on Twitter @MelissaLaurenE, where she often tweets her active Manuscript Wishlist requests under #MSWL.

Hannah Fergesen | Agent | KT Literary | Acquiring: YA and MG fiction, or dark and lyrical speculative adult fiction

Hannah joined KT Literary as a New York-based agent after stints as a bookseller at the famous Books of Wonder in Manhattan, a literary assistant at Trident Media Group, and a freelance editor working with well-known authors. Thanks to her degree in Writing for Film and Television, she is attracted to stories with strong visuals and sharp dialogue, whether presented in edgy speculative or contemporary YA and MG fiction, or dark and lyrical speculative adult fiction.

Moe Ferrara | Agent | BookEnds Literary | Acquiring: middle grade, young adult, and adult readers in most genres--especially science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, and light horror. The right contemporary or paranormal romance (sans-vampires of course) will spark her interest. She's LGBTQ friendly, so send her that male/male erotic romance in your back pocket! At this time she's not looking for nonfiction, women's fiction, or cozy mysteries.

Becoming a literary agent was fitting for the girl who, as a small child, begged her dad to buy her a book simply because "it has a hard cover." Growing up, she had a hard time finding YA books outside of Christopher Pike and R. L. Stine, and instead tackled Tom Clancy or her mom's romance novels. Though her career path zigzagged a bit—she attended college as a music major, earned a JD from Pace Law School, then worked various jobs throughout the publishing industry—Moe was thrilled to join the BookEnds team in May of 2015 as a literary agent and the subsidiary rights director.

A Pennsylvania native, she is mum of a rambunctious corgi who is a master at stealing treats. When not reading, she is an avid gamer and always awaiting the next Assassin's Creed release.

Mark Gottleib | Agent | Trident | Acquiring: all genres

Mark Gottlieb has ranked #1 among Agents on publishersmarketplace.com in Overall Deals and other individual categories. Using that same initiative and insight for identifying talented writers, he is actively building his own client list of authors. Mark is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available book publishing’s leading literary agency, Trident Media Group. He is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres.

Previously, Mark began his career with the Vice President of Berkley Books (Penguin), working with leading editors. His first position at Trident was in foreign rights, selling the books of clients around the world. Mark later worked as Executive Assistant to Robert Gottlieb, Chairman of Trident, with responsibility for organizing/managing diverse authors and their complex business transactions. He next assumed the position of audio rights agent. Under Mark’s leadership of the audio rights business, the annual sales volume more than doubled.

Melissa Jeglinksi | Agent | Knight Agency | Acquiring: Romance (contemporary, category, inspirational), Women’s Fiction, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction and Mystery

 A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in English with a writing concentration, Melissa began her career as an editor with Harlequin Enterprises. Looking to work with a variety of authors and genres, she joined The Knight Agency in 2008. With over two decades experience in the publishing industry, Melissa has fostered her clients to National prominence including a recent Newbery Honor. She is a member of RWA and AAR.

Brittany Lavery | Editor | HQN | Acquiring: general fiction and romance

Brittany Lavery started her publishing career in 2009 with an internship at a literary agency and never looked back, moving on to positions at the University of Toronto Press and Penguin Canada, joining Harlequin/HarperCollins in 2015. In her career, Brittany has worked in foreign rights and editorial; she’s worked with children’s and adult fiction, prize winners and New York Times bestsellers. She’s always on the hunt for a book that makes her ignore her life so she can read just one more page. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, you can find her playing soccer, discussing baseball, or watching X-Files reruns.

Patricia Nelson | Agent | Marsal Lyons | Acquiring: all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction; women's fiction both upmarket and commercial; historical and contemporary romance; plot-driven, accessible literary fiction

Patricia Nelson has been a literary agent with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency since 2014, representing young adult, middle grade, and select adult fiction. Patricia's clients include bestselling and award-winning authors; recent sales include books placed with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Candlewick, and St. Martin's Press, among others. Patricia holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Marsal Lyon, she spent several years teaching writing at the college level, and she currently serves as faculty for the certificate program in Children's Book Writing & Illustration at UC-San Diego.

Amanda Roberts | City Owl Press and Red Empress Publishing | Acquiring: historical fiction by women writers. She is especially interested in works by #OwnVoices authors and manuscripts set in East Asia.

Amanda Roberts is an editor for City Owl Press and Red Empress Publishing. She is also the author of historical novel Threads of Silk, The Qing Dynasty Mysteries, the Touching Time series, and the Crazy Dumplings cookbooks. She graduated with an MA in English from the University of Central Missouri in 2009 and teaches writing for several universities. She currently lives in rural China with her husband and daughter.

Amanda is actively seeking historical fiction by women writers. She is especially interested in works by #OwnVoices authors and manuscripts set in East Asia.

Lauren Spieler | Agent | TridaUS | Acquiring: Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as select Adult fiction and non-fiction

Associate Literary Agent Lauren Spieller comes to TriadaUS with a background in literary scouting and editorial consulting. She has a sharp editorial eye, and is passionate about author advocacy. Lauren is seeking Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as select Adult fiction and non-fiction. In MG, she’s drawn to heartfelt contemporaries, contemporary fantasy and magical realism, and exciting adventures. In YA, she’d love to find authentic teen voices in any and all genres. She is especially fond of fantasy, magical realism, and space operas; contemporary stories with a hook; and anything with a feminist bent. In Adult, Lauren is seeking upmarket fiction, particularly female-driven psychological thrillers (a la Lauren Beukes and Gillian Flynn), and immersive literary fantasies. She is also interested in unique non-fiction with an existing platform. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about finding diverse and underrepresented voices. Lauren is also the author of the Young Adult Contemporary,Your Destination Is on the Left (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018).

Special Guests

Sami Lein | Publicity and Management at Roger Charlie

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 13 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 Bachelor's 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 Arena2012 Olympics CommitteeWimbledon, and Sound City, Liverpool's annual music festival.  Any event that supports her lifelong case of wanderlust will always be entertained.

Tiffany Yates Martin  | Freelance Editor

Tiffany has worked in the publishing industry for more than twenty-five years. As a developmental editor she works directly with authors as well as through major publishing houses--on books by New York TimesUSA Today, and Wall Street Journal best-selling authors as well as manuscripts for unpublished writers, single titles as well as entire series. As a freelance copyeditor and proofreader, she has worked with “Big Six” (or Five, now …) New York publishers, among them Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Hachette. She’s presented editing and writing workshops for many writers’ groups, organizations, and conferences, including RWA National, Pikes Peak Writers, and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and has written for numerous writers’ sites and publications. Martin holds a BA in English literature from Georgia State University and is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association.

Special Add-On Options

Writing a Novel They Can’t Put Down | James Scott Bell | Thursday 9AM to 5PM | $80 ✮✮/✮✮✮ This is an intermediate /professional level class

What are agents, editors and readers looking for in a novel? It's simply this: a book they can't put down. Everyone wants a story that pulls them into a fictive dream and keeps them there to a satisfying ending. These days, that's the only kind of fiction that has a chance to sell and go wide.  Fortunately, what works to make this happen is part of a craft that can be learned.

In this six-hour intensive workshop, James Scott Bell, #1 bestselling writing teacher and thriller author, will teach you the essentials you need to sell in today's competitive marketplace. You'll learn the inner secrets of structure, the foundations for a plot that will never let you down, how to create characters that “jump off the page,” the tools and techniques of dazzling dialogue, and more!


Marketing One-On-One | Sami Jo Lein | By Appointment Only - space is limited to 3 | $40 ✮✮/✮✮✮ This is an intermediate /professional level appointment

Need to brainstorm your marketing tactics? Meet on-on-one with a publicity and marketing professional and kick start your marketing plan.

Conference Fees & Refund Policy

The base cost of registration for the 2018 Colorado Gold Conference:

  • Early Bird (May 1st through May 31st) Members $349, Non-Members $399
  • Regular (June 1st through June 30th) Members $399, Non-Members $449
  • Summer (July 1st through July 31st) Members $449, Non-Members $499
  • Late (August 1st through August 31st) Members $499, Non-Members $549
  • Last Minute (September 1st through September 2nd) Members $549, Non-Members $599
  • At the Door (September 7th only) Members $599, Non-Members $649

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 on or before AUG 12, 2018 (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 open-mic author reading of your work in progress to an audience of supportive peers. 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 kickoff banquet with Keynote Speaker: Christopher Paolini
  • Saturday continental breakfast
  • Saturday afternoon luncheon
  • Saturday night awards and recognition banquet with Keynote Speaker: Kate Moretti
  • Saturday continental breakfast
  • Sunday noon luncheon with Keynote Speaker: James Scott Bell

Optional special sessions and add-ons include:

  • $80 for a 6-hour Thursday Fiction Writing Intensive with James Scott Bell. Space is limited
  • $60 for a 4-hour Master Class. Space is limited
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one pitch coaching session. Space is limited
  • $50 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 by July 15. Pages due August 9. 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
  • $60 Professional Head shot photography appointment. Space is limited
  • $40 for a 30-minute appointment in our Mentor Room. Work one-on-one with subject matter experts on whatever you choose. Space is limited
  • $70 to add a guest to the Friday-night dinner. (Limit: 2 guests - Guest meals are offered at RMFW's cost) Space is limited
  • $50 to add a guest to the Saturday luncheon. (Limit: 2 guests - Guest meals are offered at RMFW's cost) Space is limited
  • $70 to add a guest to the Saturday-night banquet. (Limit: 2 guests - Guest meals are offered at RMFW's cost ) Space is limited
  • $50 to add a guest to the Sunday luncheon. (Limit: 2 guests - Guest meals are offered at RMFW's cost ) Space is limited
  • More special add-on items TBD

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.

Thank You to Our Scholarship Donors