Conference At a Glance

Email questions to Susan Brooks (2015) and Wendy Howard and Corinne O'Flynn (2016) at

2015 Colorado Gold Recap

If you missed the conference or didn't want it to end,
read the recap of all the amazing presentations,
contest results and honored attendees.

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2015 RMFW Colorado Gold Conference.

Conference Cost

The base cost of registration for the 2015 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 5th) 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 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.

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 30 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 (WiFi is not available in the classrooms)
  • Tote bag containing conference literature and small gifts
  • Friday-night South of the Border 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 5 offered this year. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one pitch coaching session with Susan Spann or Heather Webb. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one critique of 15 pages with guest author Jeffery Deaver. Space is limited.
  • $40 for a 15-minute one-on-one critique of 15 pages with guest author Desiree Holt. Space is limited.
  • $40 to participate in a 4-hour Friday-morning or Friday-afternoon critique workshop with a small group moderated by an attending agent or editor. 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 for critique. Space is limited.
  • $30 Professional Headshot photography appointment. Space is limited.
  • $50 to add a guest to the Friday-night dinner. (Limit: 3 guests)
  • $70 to add a guest to the Saturday-night banquet. (Limit: 3 guests)
  • $50 to add a guest to the Sunday luncheon. (Limit: 3 guests)


For airport transportation contact: Supershuttle (800) BLUE-VAN

2016 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
Colorado Gold Conference

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

To purchase recordings of 2015 conference sessions contact Joyco at:

There are always smiling faces at the registration, info table.
Chris Mandeville
Teaching a Friday Morning Master Class--"Everything You Need to Know to Write a Novel"
Carol Berg
Taught a Friday morning Master Class--"Vivid Writing" AND a Friday afternoon workshop--"The Joys, Pitfalls and Techniques of Revision."
Agent-Editor Critique Sessions
Trish Hermanson gives comments at the table led by Danielle Burby from Hannigan, Salky, Getzler Agency.
Angie Hodapp
Teaching a Friday morning Master class--"Thinking in Scenes: Projecting Your Fiction on Your Reader's Mental Movie Screen."
Enes Smith
Teaching "The One Minute Lie-Detector: Creating Believable Lies."
Keir Graff
Letting us know how to "Invite Yourself to the Social Media Party."
Tracy Thornton Brisendine
Talking on "Homicide for Writers Not Criminals"
Kara Seal
Demonstrates how to tell "Is Your Novel MG, YA or Divergent?"
Leah Parker
More demonstration for "Is Your Novel MG, YA, or Divergent?"
Susan Brooks
Our 2015 Conference Chair enjoys the Friday night banquet.
Shannon Baker
RMFW's 2014 Writer of the Year introduces our 2015 Writer of the Year, Susan Spann.
Pamela Nowak
RMFW's current president at the Friday evening banquet.
Sandra Bond and Susan Spann
RMFW's 2015 Writer of the Year, Susan Spann poses with her agent, Sandra Bond.
Book Sale
Because reading books (especially ones written by people you know) is almost as much fun as writing them.
Book Sale 2
Book Sale 3-Gary Reilly
Book Sale 4-Judith Robbins Rose
Book Sale 5--Cindy Myers and Yvonne Montgomery Ewegan
Liesa Malik
Teaching about author platforms.
Stuart Horwitz
Teaches the workshop "Book Architecture."
Z.J. Czupor
Teaching "All about Noir."
Kerry Schafer
With Robin Owens (not pictured), teaching a workshop on writing non-human characters
Bret Wright and Ian Thomas Healy
Having fun in the "Chivalry to Condoms" panel.
Aaron Michael Ritchey and Aimie K. Runyan
More "Chivalry to Condoms."
Aimie K. Runyan, Michelle Major and Todd Fahnstock
Yet more from the "Chivalry to Condoms" panel.
Desiree Holt
Finishing the 2015 Colorado Gold on a strong note.

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:

  • 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.

2015 Keynote Speakers

Jeffery Deaver, Author & Keynote Speaker
Mystery, Crime, Thriller

A former journalist, folksinger and attorney, Jeffery Deaver is an international number-one bestselling author. His novels have appeared on bestseller lists around the world, including the New York Times, the Times of London, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Los Angeles Times. His books are sold in 150 countries and have been translated into over twenty-five languages.

The author of thirty-two novels, three collections of short stories and a nonfiction law book, he’s received or been shortlisted for a number of awards around the world. His The Bodies Left Behind was named Novel of the Year by the International Thriller Writers Association, and his Lincoln Rhyme thriller The Broken Window and a stand-alone, Edge, were also nominated for that prize. He has been awarded the Steel Dagger and the Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers’ Association and the Nero Wolfe Award, and he is a three-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Readers Award for Best Short Story of the Year and a winner of the British Thumping Good Read Award. The Cold Moon was named the Book of the Year by the Mystery Writers Association of Japan, as well as by Kono Mystery Wa Sugoi magazine. In addition, the Japanese Adventure Fiction Association awarded the The Cold Moon and Carte Blanche their annual Grand Prix award.

Deaver has been nominated for seven Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America, an Anthony Award and a Gumshoe Award. He was recently shortlisted for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Best International Author.

His book A Maiden’s Grave was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel The Bone Collector was a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. His novel The Devil’s Teardrop was adapted for the screen and aired on Lifetime; it starred Tom Everett Scott and Natasha Henstridge. And, yes, the rumors are true; he did appear as a corrupt reporter on his favorite soap opera, As the World Turns. Here are the pictures to prove it!

He was born outside Chicago and has a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University. Learn more about Jeffery Deaver by reading the Q & A with the most frequently asked questions.

Website | Twitter | Facebook
*Photo by Niko Giovanni Coniglio

Desiree Holt, Author & Keynote Speaker
Erotic Romance

Referred to by USA Today as the Nora Roberts of erotic romance, Desiree Holt is the world’s oldest living published erotic romance author with over 170 published works. A graduate of the University of Michigan with double majors in English and History, her earlier careers include agent and manager in the music industry, public television, associate vice president of university advancement, public relations, and economic development.

She is three times a finalist for an EPIC E-Book Award (and a winner in 2014), a nominee for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, winner of the first 5 Heart Sweetheart of the Year Award at The Romance Studio as well as twice a CAPA Award winner for best BDSM book of the year, and winner of the Holt Medallion for Excellence in Romance Literature.

She has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning and in The Village Voice, The Daily Beast, USA Today, The (London) Daily Mail, The New Delhi Times, The Huffington Post and numerous other national and international publications. She is also the Authors After Dark 2014 Author of the Year.

“Desiree Holt is the most amazing erotica author of our time and each story is more fulfilling then the last.” (Romance Junkies)

Website | Desire Me Only | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn | Pinterest

Susan SpannSusan Spann, Author and Keynote Speaker

Susan Spann's mysteries have made a splash, published in hard  cover to unfailingly good reviews. Her third Shinobi mystery, Flask of the Drunken Master, was published earlier this month and now Susan has been named 2015 Writer of the Year. Her mysteries are set in sixteenth-century Japan and feature ninja detective Hiro Hattori and his Jesuit Sidekick, Father Mateo. The first book wasClaws of the Cat and the second was titled Blade of the Sumarai.

Claws of the Cat was named a Library Journal mystery debut of the month and was a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel. As a result, Susan was interviewed for an article in Writers Digest by Chuck Sambuchino.

Susan has been a voracious reader since preschool in Santa Monica, California. In high school, she wrote her first complete novel, a fantasy that started as a short story assignment, though she vows that book will never, ever see the light of day!

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan and earned an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies—a background she draws upon for her Shinobi mysteries. But before justice-seeking ninjas took over her imagination, Susan went to law school. She practices law in California, where her long-lasting love affair with books led her to specialize in intellectual property, business, and publishing contracts. She has also been a law professor.

Susan is the current president of the Northern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and also a member of the MWA National Board. She belongs to Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. Susan founded and is curator of the #PubLaw Twitter hashtag, through which she provides pro bono information for writers and answers questions about copyright and publishing issues. When not writing or practicing law, she raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.

Susan has been an RMFW member since 2010 and has presented workshops for conference. She lives in California but remains a regular monthly contributor to the RMFW Blog, Writers In the Storm, and Murder Is Everywhere. She met and pitched to her agent, Sandra Bond, at the 2011 Colorado Gold Conference. Please visit Susan’s website to find out more.

2015 Agents, Editors & Publishers

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

Danielle Burby, Agent
Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency
Contemporary YA / Medieval Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Cozy Mysteries / Women’s Fiction

Danielle Burby graduated from Hamilton College with honors and a double major in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies. Before finding her home at HSG, she interned at Writers House, Clarion Books, Faye Bender Literary Agency, Dunow Carlson and Lerner, John Wiley and Sons, and SquareOne Publishers (along with stints as a waitress and a farmers’ market vendor).

Her passion lies in YA, Women’s Fiction, and mysteries. She gravitates toward stories with a strong voice and particularly enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories. Genres that appeal to her include contemporary YA, medieval fantasy, historical fiction, cozy mysteries, and upmarket Women’s Fiction. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative, but don’t dominate it.

Danielle was involved in way too many singing groups in college and is always up for karaoke. She also enjoys both tea and coffee, managing to defy the naysayers who claim they’re an either-or thing. She is, however, distinctly a chocolate person.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Trish Daly, Associate Editor
William Morrow - HarperCollins Publishers
Mystery/Crime / Smart Fiction / Narrative Non-fiction

Associate Editor Trish Daly was introduced to the world of publishing through New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute after graduating from Boston College in 2010. She was then lucky enough to join the wonderful team at William Morrow/Avon—a division of HarperCollins—going on to acquire and edit both fiction and nonfiction for William Morrow, Morrow Paperbacks and the digital-first Witness Impulse mystery line.

Trish is actively acquiring across genres and most interested in building her list in the following areas: sharp, character-driven mystery/crime; smart fiction with distinctive voice, in both contemporary and historical settings; and narrative nonfiction, with areas of interest including cultural history, science, and travel/adventure.

Website | LinkedIn

Denise (Deni) Dietz, Senior Editor
Five Star Publishing
Crime Fiction: all genres and sub-genres, including history-mysteries, dystopian, and SF / Fantasy crossovers

Denise (Deni) Dietz has been in the publishing business for 25-plus years. When she was in grade school she tried to hide her mom's hardcover Gone With the Wind inside her Dick and Jane reader. She got caught, learned her lesson, and hid her dad’s Perry Mason paperbacks instead. Deni still feels the same sense of joy and discovery when she reads a non–clichéd, character–driven novel. She says she wants to BE THERE, in the scene. For example, she doesn't want to know that General Santa Anna was captured in 1836. She prefers to know that he was naked except for his underpants.

She is the author of the bestselling Diet Club Mysteries and the Anthony-nominated Annie and the Grateful Dead. Under the pen name Mary Ellen Dennis, Deni wrote Heaven’s Thunder – a Colorado Saga – with an emphasis on Colorado’s silent film industry. Also, The Landlord’s Black-Eyed Daughter, chosen as one of Booklist’s 10 Best Books of the Year and nominated for an RT Award. Deni is often asked what she likes best: writing or editing? The answer is both. But here in this brief bio, she confesses that she likes working with new authors best, and when she offers one a contract she does a Snoopy dance.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Chelsey Emmelhainz

Chelsey Emmelhainz, Associate Editor
Avon/William Morrow - HarperCollins Publishers
Romance / Literary / Commercial / Contemporary / Historical / Suspense

A Colorado native, Associate Editor Chelsey Emmelhainz always knew she wanted to work with words. She’s been editing the work of amazing authors for William Morrow and Avon at HarperCollins since 2010 and she couldn’t be happier. Currently, she’s building a list that focuses on smart, sexy, high-concept romances and fiction that straddles the line between literary and commercial. When not lost in a book, Chelsey enjoys roller derby, painting, cooking with her husband, and plotting out wholly unnecessary crafts found on Pinterest (including recycling old books into nifty shoes).

She edits a wide range of fiction projects but is most drawn to smart, sophisticated commercial narratives. With a special love for debut authors, she is looking for unique voices that are amusing, honest, and perhaps even a little controversial. Upcoming titles include Jessica Tom’s smart, commercial fiction debut Bad Taste, No Awkward Goodbyes, a “hipster mystery” by debut author Libby Cudmore; and an atmospheric coming-of-age novel by Tamara Valentine called The Yemaya Stone. Chelsey also actively acquires contemporary, historical, and romantic suspense for Avon Books and Avon’s digital-first romance line, Avon Impulse; and gritty psychological suspense for William Morrow’s digital-first thriller and mystery line, Witness.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Sarah Joy Freese, Agent
WordServe Literary
Contemporary Romance / Historical Romance / Historical / Contemporary Women’s Fiction / Suspense / Memoir / Narrative Non-fiction / Marriage/family/Parenting from Bloggers with a Large Platform

Sarah Joy Freese is a literary agent with WordServe Literary. She loves reading through queries, working with her authors on various proposals, and attending writing conferences to meet new excellent writers. Sarah especially enjoys working with authors to make their manuscripts even stronger. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in English and communications from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also has an MA (emphasis in creative writing) and an MLIS degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Sarah is married and is enjoying life with her husband, son, and two birds, Brewster and Beamer. She is also excited for baby number two (due in April). When she is not working, Sarah enjoys crocheting, watching NCIS and Grey’s Anatomy, and playing Euchre.

Website | Twitter | Facebook


Erin-George-bio150xErin George
Senior Associate Editor
Henery Press, LLC

All Types of Mystery/Suspense and Chick Lit

After graduating from Midwestern State University with honors and a B.A. in English, Erin George quickly found a home at Henery Press, first as an intern and now a senior editorial assistant. Her interest in publishing stemmed from a lifelong dream of reading fabulous books all day, every day, and editing was a perfect fit. Erin is looking for all types of mysteries (with a particular love for cozies) and chick lit. She’s a sucker for a sassy protagonist, quick wit, plot twists, and a happy ending.

Erin currently lives and works in Dallas, TX. She has a spoiled-rotten Maltese named Wesley, loves Friends reruns and traveling, and bakes a mean banana nut chocolate chip muffin.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Carrie Howland, Agent
Donadio and Olson, Inc.
Literary Fiction / Narrative Non-fiction / Young Adult / Middle Grade

Carrie Howland is a literary agent at Donadio and Olson, Inc., where she represents literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, young adult, and middle grade authors. In addition to her own clients, she handles foreign, first serial, and audio rights for the agency. Carrie is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and writes for its newsletter. She also enjoys speaking at various writing conferences throughout the year. Carrie holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Albion College, where she was the Poetry Editor of The Albion Review. Her poetry has appeared in various literary journals and magazines. In her spare time, Carrie volunteers as a foster for a local dog rescue. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Emily S. Keyes, Agent
Fuse Literary
YA / Fantasy / Science Fiction / Women's Fiction / New Adult / Pop Culture / Humor

Emily S. Keyes joined Fuse Literary in 2013 after working as an agent at the L. Perkins Agency for 2 years. Before entering the world of agenting, she worked in the contracts department of Simon & Schuster, Inc and graduated from New York University’s Center for Publishing. She uses her knowledge of contracts, copyright and the publishing business to benefit her clients and the Fuse team.

Emily is a particular lover of all types of young adult and middle grade books. She wants to represent the kind of stories that will resonate with kids for the rest of their lives. She loves strong voices and unique characters, not knock-offs or trend chasers. Some of her favorite authors include Deb Caletti, Laurie Halse Anderson, Gary D. Schmidt, and Megan Whalen Turner. She thinks books are best when they make you laugh and cry.

Emily is also looking for a select list of commercial fiction which includes fantasy & science fiction, women’s fiction, new adult fiction, along with pop culture and humor titles. She is not looking for poetry, short stories, picture books or anything that is “publishable” and not amazing.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Melissa Jeglinski, Agent
The Knight Agency
Romance / YA / Middle Grades / Women's Fiction / Mystery

Melissa Jeglinski is 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 Newbery Honor. She is a member of RWA and AAR. Melissa is currently seeking projects in the following areas: Romance (contemporary, category, historical, inspirational) Young Adult, Middle Grade, Women’s Fiction and Mystery.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Ben-LeRoy-FOR-BIOS150xBen LeRoy, Publisher
Tyrus Books

Ben LeRoy is the publisher of Tyrus Books, an imprint of F+W Media specializing in crime and literary fiction. He is interested in novels that concern the lives of everyday people being thrown into extraordinary circumstances (most often surrounding an unexpected death) and how they continue to get up every morning in the face of the challenge. In addition to words, he loves baseball, community involvement, and traveling across the country.


Tiffany Schofield, Editor
Five Star Publishing, A part of Gale/Cengage Learning
Western, Frontier Fiction (pre-1920s mystery, romance, literary stories taking place in America’s frontier).

Tiffany Schofield, a University of Maine graduate, joined Five Star Publishing in 1999. She currently manages the Five Star Publishing imprint, as well as the western fiction large print lists for Thorndike Press and Wheeler Publishing, imprints Gale/Cengage Learning.

Tiffany oversees the editorial process of acquiring eighty-four unpublished manuscript projects each year for the three Five Star Publishing genre lists which are: Western, Mystery, and Frontier Fiction. She acquires large print rights for eighty Western fiction novels each year. She enjoys working with writers and agents and is passionate about discovering exciting new voices in fiction publishing.

Several Five Star novels have been selected as award finalists and winners. In 2013, Five Star Publishing was awarded the Western Writers of America Lariat Award. This esteemed award is given to companies and/or individuals who have achieved distinction in their support of Western Writers of America and the literature of the West.

Website | Email | Facebook

Latoya C. Smith, Executive Editor
Samhain Publishing
Mainstream Romance / Erotica / African American Fiction

Latoya C. Smith started her editorial career as an administrative assistant to New York Times bestselling author, Teri Woods at Teri Woods Publishing. Latoya worked at TWP seasonally while pursuing her Bachelor’s Degree at Temple University. She graduated Cum Laude from Temple in August of 2005. She then attained a full-time position at Kensington Publishing in March of 2006. In October 2006, Latoya joined Grand Central Publishing, an imprint at Hachette Book Group. For the span of her eight years there, Latoya has acquired a variety of titles from Hardcover fiction and non-fiction, to digital romance and erotica titles. She was also featured in Publishers Weekly, USA Today as well as various author, book conference, and book blogger websites. She is the winner of the 2012 RWA Golden Apple for Editor of the Year. In early 2014, she appeared on CSpan2 where she contributed to a panel discussing the state of book publishing. Now an Executive Editor at Samhain Publishing, Latoya acquires short and long form mainstream romance and erotica as well as African American fiction and non-fiction.

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn

2015 Special Guest

Keir Graff, Editor
Booklist Online

Keir Graff is the editor of Booklist Online, a publication of the American Library Association, and the co-host of Publishing Cocktails, a popular literary gathering in Chicago. He is also the author of four novels for adults (including The Price of Liberty, a finalist for the Society of Midland Authors fiction award) and a middle-grade novel (The Other Felix, named “Best of the Best” by the Chicago Public Library).

Website | @Booklist_Keir | @KeirGraff | @PubNite

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.