RMFW Spotlight: Bree Ervin

The RMFW Spotlight feature will introduce a few of our RMFW officers and volunteers. We started out with the board of directors, sat them in the hot seat, shined the bright light on them, and channeling our best inner Oprah, plugged them with a few questions. Here’s what we learned from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Membership Chair, Bree Ervin.

Bree Ervin1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I’m the Membership Chair for RMFW. Mostly it means I help people login to the website and renew/join (Sorry – it’ll get better, I swear!). I’m hoping that as we get the website working better – yes, really, I’ll be able to spend more time reaching out to members new and old and talking about what you all want from a modern RMFW.

I got involved because I have had so many great experiences with RMFW and I am a big fat geek who LOVES to share the things I love. The best way for me to do that was to become membership chair so that I could reach out to others and share the awesome organization that is RMFW.

2. What is your current WIP or most recent publication, and where can we buy a book, if available?

I have a couple of works in progress. I tend to bounce around a lot. My kids have told me it’s time to start shopping my picture books again and I have a YA that is in its last round of revisions before I start shopping it. I’m also working on a middle grade fantasy and some non-fiction.

3. We've all heard of bucket lists-- you know, those life-wish lists of experiences, dreams or goals we want to accomplish-- what's one of yours?

The most immediate item on the list is a trip to Paris with my girlgoyels. I’ve promised them a trip and now I have to make good on it.

I also want to sail around the world, but I have to wait until my husband dies because he freaks out when he can’t see land. The upside of that is I’ll probably get to claim the record for the oldest person to sail around the world. So good things come to those who wait, I guess.

Writer at Work4. Most writers have an Achilles heel with their writing. Confess, what's yours?

Revising. I actually love revising. I’m an editor in my day job, so that kind of work excites me. BUT… I have a hard time motivating to revise my own work. There’s a huge part of me that’s like, “Okay, I finished that story, I know how it ends, moving on…” I have to really struggle to get my butt back in the chair to make it better and make it publishable once the joy of discovery is gone. I need to find a way to flip the switch on that and convince myself that there is still more to discover in the story and in the characters. (And it’s true, every revision reveals a new layer, a missed detail, another key that goes deeper into the heart of the story.)

5. What do you love most about the writing life?

I’ve always been a story teller. My first sentence was a carefully crafted “lie.” I love creating new people, new worlds and new spaces in this world. I love connecting the dots and showing people new ways of seeing old things.

One of my college professors said (speaking about scientists), “The task is not so much to see what no one has seen, but to think what no one has thought about that which everybody sees.” I think that holds doubly true for writers, and artists in general – and that is the real pleasure of writing for me, taking what everyone sees and knows to be true, and then showing the other side. (For the record, I have had that quote taped above my desk as a reminder ever since.)

6. Now that you have a little writing experience, what advice would you go back and give yourself as a beginning writer?

Take yourself seriously. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you that you’re a writer, or give you permission to call yourself a writer – that doesn’t come from anyone else, that’s inside you. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you how to be a writer – their process is theirs. Trust your own way. And always, always, always, write your heart.

Cat on desk7. What does your desk look like? What item must be on your desk? Do you have any personal, fun items you keep on it?

I’m a bit of a wanderer. My desk is a hot mess, so if the weather is nice I take my laptop out to my tipi. If it’s cold, I’ll work at the breakfast bar – close to the tea kettle! Really, where ever my laptop is, that’s my desk. Except when I write on my phone. Or in a notebook. Hmm… Can I take a picture of my brain – that’s where the stories live, that’s where the work gets done.

It helps when the kitten sits on my lap because she won’t let me get up, even to pee, until I get at least 1,000 words down. It’s like she has a magic way of keeping track of my word count. 1,000 and it’s time to stretch. Then the big cat takes a turn. She’s pretty demanding too.

8. What book are you currently reading (or what was the last one you read)?

For pleasure I’m reading Asphalt Warrior by Gary Reilly (published posthumously with help from RMFW president Mark Stevens.) It’s a fabulous, humorous, spot on commentary on humanity from the point of view of a Denver cab driver.

For research I’m reading Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape Ed. by Jaclyn Friedman & Jessica Valenti which is an amazing collection of essays, articles and calls to action. I fall asleep so empowered after reading it. (But hard to read in public, lots of alternating between crying and jumping up shouting “YES!” at inappropriate times.)

My kids and I are reading Double Vision: Code Name 711 by F.T. Bradley, which is a really fun middle grade spy novel, sort of Da Vinci Code for kids. The first book in the series was set in Paris, this one is set in DC. We just started it, but we love this author.

Here’s a picture of my “read next” shelves. Top shelf is research, bottom shelf is pleasure. (There are two more large shelves of unread books off screen, but these are the priority cases!)

To Be Read


Cat on high
This is Bree's tipi and a cat on a hot tipi roof. Or something like that.

Thanks for sharing with us, Bree. I'm happy to hear I'm not the only one whose writing life is scheduled by her cat.

You can cyber-stalk Bree on Twitter and Facebook. Anyone who wants to get ranty with her is invited to stop by her blog Think Banned Thoughts. And, Bree adds, if you're having trouble logging in to the website, drop her a note at membership@rmfw.org.

Post Conference Post

By Julie Kazimer

Well it’s done. Another fabulous Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Conference is the books. My head swells with information, not to mention a little too much time in the hospitality suite. I met new and old friends alike. This conference had over 100 new attendees. First timers are the lifeblood for us old hats, at least for me. I love the excitement and buzz in the air as people explore new writing and craft territory.

And let me just say, there was plenty to learn. Being a total, all knowing publishing pro, I opted for the business/career track of workshops. I was not disappointed. Okay I was, only in that, I found out I am NOT a total, all knowing publishing pro.

Bestselling author and indie pub guru, Jeff Shelby led us on a few wonderful forays into e-publishing. Carnia Press editor, Jeff Seymour (a personal hero since he saved my workshop by loaning me his laptop) taught a riveting class on how to write back cover copy for indie publishing. I took advantage of this right away, and I swear my cover copy has never sounded better.

The famous Susan Spann did her stuff by teaching us some legalness when it comes to author and publisher rights. Bree Evrin taught us social media illiterates how to hashtag like the best of them. Lynda Hilburn shared secrets on how to fix that one thing…the thing writers dare not mention…rhymes with Biters Lock. Rockstar Angie Hodapp shared her expertise on vivid description. Mario Acevedo, Warren Hammond and Betsy Dorbusch crushed it with a panel on two of my favorite things, crime and noir. The agent and editor panels were, as always, fascinating. And how could I forget Karen Lin’s Book to Script workshop. I’m ready for my close up, Mr. Deville. And all the billions in royalties once I become the darling of Hollywood. (No, I am not still drunk from my extended time in the hospitality suite). There were plenty of other amazing workshops and presentations. Forgive me if I didn’t mention yours. The editors, Pat and Julie like me to keep my posts under a million words.

What else to share? The Friday night booksigning was a blast. Nina and Ron Else from Who Else Books (The Broadway Book Mall) are two fo my favorite people to see at the conference. Not only do they sell my books, and make me look good while doing it, but they are wonderful people. As I arrived at my booksigning station this year, a small package sat in front of me. Nina had given me a tiny princess who grows 600% in water. Now I should’ve read the directions more carefully, because it did say in water, not whiskey. But I love my tiny princess at the same, and Nina for giving it to me.

That same night, Writer of the Year, Linda Hull, gave an inspiring speech about persistence, pain, and the joys to be found in both publishing and in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers organization itself. This is a woman who spent years waiting for her big break, suffering the ups and downs of the industry, and now is quickly rising to the top. I wish her and the other Writer of the Year nominees the best, as well as all those who finaled and won the Colorado Gold contest. You are great writers who are moments away from achieving your dreams.

Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who made this conference possible, especially Vicki Law and her cohorts, who raised over $4000 for CO Flood relief. And a huge shout out to Susie Brooks, the conference chair. Great job by all.

Here’s to hoping all of you who pitched to an agent or editor fulfill your publication dreams. And thank you to all my new writerly friends and my old ones as well for a fantastic weekend. Now quit reading this (in a few more sentences) and go write!

There was so much more to share, but I’m exhausted.

What was your favorite conference moment? And does anyone know where I left my left shoe? I can’t seem to find it. I know I had it at dinner…

J.A. (Julie) Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. Novels include The Body Dwellers, CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story and FROGGY STYLE as well as the forthcoming romance, The Assassin’s Heart, and the upcoming mystery series, Deadly Ever After from Kensington Books. J.A. spent years spilling drinks as a bartender and then stalked people while working as a private investigator.

Learn more at www.jakazimer.com or on her writerly talk blog More Than a Little F***ed Up. She can also be found (way too much of the time) on Twitter as @jakazimer and on Facebook as Julie Kazimer.


Colorado Gold Conference Master Class: Author’s Guide to Social Media

The five master classes scheduled for Friday during the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference (September 20-22 in Denver) are featured on this blog August 7, August 8, August 12, August 20, and August 29.

Author's Guide to Social Media
Instructor: Bree Ervin
Friday, September 20, 8:00-11:50 Telluride

The social media master class is a hands on course that will give participants the confidence they need to get going on social media. We will go over the basics of the most popular social media sites, become familiar with the lingo and jargon as well as the tools that can be used to make it all more painless. The rest of the time will be spent learning best practices, ways to use social media effectively and how not to alienate all your friends! You’ll learn how not to feed the trolls, and, more importantly, how not to be a troll.

This course will NOT teach you how to become a best selling author using only social media, because that's impossible. It WILL give you the raw unvarnished truth about what social media can and cannot do for you.

It is recommended that all participants set up Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail accounts and a blog (even if they have never actually used any of the above) prior to coming to class.

Bree ErvinBree Ervin has worked as an independent editor and marketer for 5 years. She was head of social marketing at a corporate firm before striking out on her own. She has since helped authors develop and deploy their own social media plans.

The registration link for the Colorado Gold Conference scheduled for September 20-22, 2013, is http://www.rmfw.org/conference/. The deadline to register for Master Classes is September 15th. The cost of each workshop is $50 add-on to the regular conference fee. More information on the conference schedule, hotel accommodations, and presenters is available in the brochure at: http://www.rmfw.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2013-Colorado-Gold-Brochure-07.17.13.pdf. If you have additional questions, please contact Susan Brooks, Conference Chair, conference@rmfw.org