Each year, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers honors one of its members as its Independently Published Writer of the Year. The winner of the award is a member in good standing selected by RMFW's membership from candidates who have been published during the previous calendar year. The Writer of the Year and the Independent Writer of the Year will be chosen by you, our members. Voting opens in May, so please watch your email for the invitation to cast your vote.

Independent Writer of the Year Nominees

Sue Duff

Sue Duff dreamed of dragons and spaceships before she could read and she combines both fantasy and science fiction in her acclaimed series, The Weir Chronicles. Sue has been writing since high school but never became serious about it until a skiing accident laid her up for an entire summer and she turned on the word processor to combat the boredom. A couple years later, her first urban fantasy novel, Fade to Black, was a finalist in the RMFW Colorado Gold Writing Contest. She is also an author at Wicked Ink Books, a partnership of Colorado authors who publish anthologies. When not saving the world one page at a time, Sue works as a speech therapist in an inner city school district. Her life as a writer is her true passion and the creative outlet keeps her sane.

When not writing, she can be found walking her Great Dane, cooking up something delicious in her kitchen, or waging battle with struggling plants and unappreciated pests in her garden. Sue is a member of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The Pikes Peak Writers. Her creativity extends into her garden and the culinary arts. She is the second oldest of six girls with an avid reader mom and her dad, the family’s single drop of testosterone in a sea of estrogen.

Sue's Website

Nathan Lowell

Nathan has been a writer for more than forty years, and first entered the literary world by podcasting his novels. He has been practicing what he preaches in social media for a couple of decades. He began writing science fiction in 2007 as an experiment in fiction podcasting. Eleven novels, a handful of short stories, uncounted numbers of voice acting roles later, he's a full time author making his living by telling the truth through fiction.

His sci-fi series, The Golden Age of the Solar Clipper grew from his long time fascination with space opera and his own experiences shipboard in the United States Coast Guard. Unlike most works which focus on a larger-than-life hero (prophesized savior, charismatic captain, or exiled prince), Nathan centers on the people behind the scenes–ordinary men and women trying to make a living in the depths of space.

In his novels, there are no bug-eyed monsters, or galactic space battles, instead he paints a richly vivid and realistic world where the “hero” uses hard work and his own innate talents to improve his station and the lives of those of his community.

Dr. Nathan Lowell holds a Ph.D. in Educational Technology with specializations in Distance Education and Instructional Design. He also holds an M.A. in Educational Technology and a BS in Business Administration. He grew up on the south coast of Maine and is strongly rooted in the maritime heritage of the sea-farer. He served in the USCG from 1970 to 1975, seeing duty aboard a cutter on hurricane patrol in the North Atlantic and at a communications station in Kodiak, Alaska. He currently lives in the plains east of the Rocky Mountains with his wife and two daughters.

Nathan's Website

Lisa Manifold - WINNER

Lisa published four books in 2015: Thea’s Tale, her debut novel, and Casimir’s Journey in the Sisters Of The Curse series. One Night At The Ball is a novella in the same series. Three Wishes, originally published in The Fantastical Collection: Five Tales of Fantasy, is the first book of the Heart Of The Djinn trilogy. The final two books of the trilogy, as well as the fourth book in the Sisters Of The Curse series will be released in 2016. Her plans for 2016, in addition to finishing the two series, are to release noels in two new series, both paranormal romance.

Lisa has been a voracious reader since she first picked up a book, often running late for everything because she wanted to get through ‘just one more chapter!’ In high school, she wrote morbid poetry and continued that habit until college. Thankfully, her poetry gave way to fantasy and romance short stories. In 2006, she began work on her first novel-length work of fiction, and in 2013, managed to finish it. After shopping it around for nearly a year, she began work on Thea’s Tale, and that first novel now resides under the figurative bed, where it shall stay forevermore.

While in the midst of querying, Lisa discovered that mysterious animal in the publishing world called selfpublishing. To her great surprise, she found the idea very attractive. Once Thea’s Tale was finished and edited, she decided to self-publish rather than looking for representation. That was all it took.

Lisa joined RMFW in 2013, one week prior to the Gold Conference. In 2015, she joined the RMFW Board, first as the Hospitality Chair, and then as the Newsletter Editor. She also serves as the IPAL Liaison. Given her commitment to independent publishing, this is a perfect match.

Lisa's Website