5 Things You Need to Know About 2017 Colorado Gold

We're working hard at Conference HQ, processing workshop proposals and getting registration ready for opening day. Here is an update on what's happening now:

1) Workshop Proposal submissions are closing MARCH 31 at midnight. Be sure to visit the Conference Home Page for the link to the submission page as well as a worksheet to help you prepare your proposal before you log into the form. PROTIP: Have your workshop details ready to go in a separate document so you can copy and paste to speed up the process.

2) The Agents and Editors who have signed on for 2017 Conference have been added to the Conference Home Page! We're very excited about this year's line-up, and hope you'll find several agents that are a good fit for you and your manuscript. Check them out on the Conference Home Page.

3) DONATE to support Conference Scholarships! RMFW is pleased to offer a limited number of scholarships to help members attend conference who would otherwise be unable to join us. We also accept donations to help fellow members attend conference. Scholarships will be awarded to RMFW members in good standing on the basis of stated financial need. Scholarships will cover the regular conference fee, not including hotel room costs or add-ons. The Application period is open June 1 through June 30. You can donate online at any time through our donation page, or you can add a donation during your conference registration. (Registration Opens May 1)

4) Conference Facebook Group: Have questions about conference? Looking to connect with other attendees before September? Join us on our RMFW Colorado Gold Conference Facebook Group!

5) Registration opens May 1, with early-bird pricing available through MAY 31. Plan to register early!

We're very excited about conference and look forward to a fantastic schedule of workshops, panels, mentors, special guests, speakers, agents, and editors to help you learn, grow, and connect with others in 2017.

If you have any questions about conference, email Corinne O'Flynn at conference@rmfw.org.

Workshop Proposals: Submissions Open Jan 1

2017conferenceblog_workshopproposalsopenjan1It's that time of year again! Workshop proposals for the 2017 Colorado Gold Conference will be accepted January 1 through March 31st. (Midnight 4/1/17)

Before you submit your proposals, DOWNLOAD the Conference Proposal Worksheet for instructions and other information that will help you complete the form.

As always, look to the Conference Home Page for any information and updates about conference.


Thinking about presenting at Colorado Gold? 

You may be asking yourself if you're qualified to teach at a writers conference or if it’s worth your time and effort to develop a course. We’re here to tell you that everyone has something to offer. Below are just a few of the reasons why you should submit a proposal for this year’s conference.

It Inspires Others
Writers need endless inspiration. We probably want to quit more often than people in any other career including those who clean port-a-potties for a living. Experienced writers who publicly share their failures and successes captivate and inspire conference attendees. Be a part of an event that sends writers home with a renewed sense of creativity and drive to complete their works in progress.

It’s Challenging
Taking time to develop a workshop is challenging and well worth the effort. Many of us writers are introverts and teaching is an opportunity to interact in a public setting. Students will test your knowledge, and you may even learn something from them. In the end, you’ll leave the conference closer to perfecting your own skills.

It Renews Your Ingenuity
Taking time away from fiction writing to develop a course for writers redirects your creativity. Your efforts will leave a lasting impression on students, and you’ll return to your own work with a refreshed frame of mind.

It Shares Your Knowledge
Think about how much you’ve learned at the writers conferences you’ve attended. It’s time to give back and share your knowledge with fellow writers. Mold the minds of future fiction authors and set them on the right path. Help fellow writers perfect their skills and bring their stories closer to publication.

It’s Rewarding
With all the rejection writers face on a regular basis, we need to frequently rejuvenate our spirits. One way to do this is through the rewards that come along with teaching and inspiring others. You will gain a sense of accomplishment by coaching fellow writers on their journey to publication. Students will inspire you, and you’ll leave the conference with a positive outlook about your own work as well.

It’s a Responsibility
If you’ve been writing for years, whether you are published or not, you are a leader and shouldn’t be afraid to see yourself as such. New writers look up to your knowledge and experience. They want to know how you succeeded. Share your skills and wisdom with confidence.

It Earns Compensation
One of the best reasons to teach at the Colorado Gold Conference is to save a little cash. Presenters receive compensation that’s good toward discounts off the base conference registration fee. Panelists receive a $50 discount on the conference registration fee per discussion panel they sit on. Co-presenters of workshops receive half off the normal registration fee per workshop. Solo workshop presenters may attend the conference at no base charge.

Note that the maximum compensation for any presenter is one base conference registration fee. Paid add ons are not included in the base conference registration fee and are not part of the compensation. RMFW does not provide travel or other expenses. More information about compensation is found in the conference proposal form and Conference Proposal Worksheet.

Teaching or speaking at a conference can benefit you as well as the writing community. One of the best things about attending a writers conference is the opportunity to gather and grow with your tribe. Being able to share your knowledge and guide others down a path that’s familiar to you is a great way to be a part of that. You get to connect with other writers, give back, and get your name out there as an expert. If you have knowledge to share, consider teaching a workshop at RMFW’s Colorado Gold. We look forward to seeing your proposals!

Check out the Conference page or go directly to the conference proposal form for additional details.


Conference Calendar: 

  • JANUARY 1: Workshop Proposal Submissions OPEN
  • MARCH 31: Workshop Proposal Submissions CLOSE (April 1 at midnight)
  • APRIL 20: Workshops Notifications Sent to Presenters
  • MAY 1: Registration Opens for 2017 Colorado Gold!

I am very excited to be your chairperson for the 2017 Colorado Gold. We have a fantastic lineup of guests, agents, editors already and we're adding more! We're looking for your proposals to make it exceptional!

Looking forward to 2017!
Corinne O'Flynn
Colorado Gold Conference Chair

The RMFW Spotlight is on Corinne O’Flynn, Conference Chair

Our monthly feature, The RMFW Spotlight, is intended to provide members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers with more information about our board members as well as featured volunteers. This month we're pleased to finally corral the Colorado Gold Conference chairperson, Corinne O'Flynn. Her focus on Colorado Gold in Denver on September 9-11, 2016 kept her very busy, but she's finally recovering and ready to roll as one of our regular contributors.

2016_corinneoflynn1. Tell us what you do for RMFW and why you are involved.

I am currently the Conference Chair for Colorado Gold. 2016 was my first year as chair, and I am super excited to be planning 2017 already. Before this, I was Technology Co-Chair with Wendy Howard. Before that, I was an aimless writer. I got involved because I believe in being active in the communities where I belong. It's the best way to meet people and be a part of the momentum. 🙂

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

My most recent publication is TICK TOCK: Seven Tales of Time, an anthology I did with six other RMFW members through our publishing company, Wicked Ink Books. It recently took home two CIPA EVVY awards! We’re working on the next anthology now. I am also working on PROMISE OF THE SCHOLAR, Book Two of my fantasy series, The Expatriates. You can find my books on my Amazon author page.

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?

I am currently working on meditation and making time to mindfully slow down in my life. I operate at a pretty high speed, which is great when there are a lot of balls in the air, but I find moving at this pace is less sustainable as I get older. I would love to make meditation a daily habit, but I struggle with finding time for everything.

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

Ah... it’s like you saw that coming. My problem in writing and in life is time management. I am incredibly organized but not very disciplined. It’s something I struggle with daily.

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

I love the discovery that comes with writing. Its seems like everything is an opportunity to dig into and develop. And, of course, I love my writing tribe!

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

I’d tell myself not to stress so much about the timing of everything. When I was first starting out I felt this urgency about getting it all done. There was a rush to write, to finish, to query, to enter contests, to publish, and, and... I’d tell myself that the urgency is not real.

2016_oflynn_office7. 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 love my office! I am a memento keeper and I also hang on to most of the stuff my kids give me as presents. So, my office is like a gigantic scrap book. When I am sitting at my desk, I have a stack of books on my left that act as a lamp-table and a writing shrine full of things that inspire me and have meaning. One of my favorite things is my moss terrarium which was inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert's THE SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS. I loved that story.

One of the more inspirational things in my office are the sparrows. The morning I published my first book in 2014, I woke up to find a sparrow flying above me in my bed. We were in NY visiting family so it was doubly disorienting to wake in a strange room with this sparrow circling a few feet above me. It didn't seem real. One source of animal wisdom I found said that the sparrow signifies power, productivity, and self worth. It also is one bird that persists in many climates despite external factors. That felt extremely meaningful and resonates with me today.

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

I’m currently reading CLOSER HOME by our very own Kerry Anne King (Kerry Schafer)! It’s fantastic and I highly recommend. Before this I read BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty and HEART OF THE GOBLIN KING by our IWOTY, Lisa Manifold. On deck is a re-read of DIVINE EVIL by Nora Roberts because it’s mentioned in a writing class I am taking and I am intrigued to revisit it as a writer with my class notes in hand!

Thank you, Corinne. Your hard work for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and this year's Colorado Gold Writers Conference is much appreciated. We'll be looking for your regular posts on the blog (the second Monday of the month starting October 10th).

What Makes a Winning Conference Proposal?

Conference Prep Chalkboard

During preparations for Colorado Gold last year, I had the opportunity to sit on the committee that selected which workshop and discussion panel proposals would be chosen for conference.

This was my first time taking part in the selection process, and I came away with several tidbits that I thought would be useful for would-be presenters who are thinking about submitting a proposal for future conferences.

First off, a tiny bit of conference workshop trivia from 2015:

  • We had nearly 200 proposals submitted for workshops and panels.
  • 79 workshops and panels were ultimately scheduled, with a handful of these being reserved for Agent and Editor Workshops, Special Guest Classes, and Classes by our Keynote Speakers.

A lot of consideration and planning goes into the selection process on the part of the committee and then by the conference chair(s). Our goal is to ensure we are providing the widest range of classes to suit writers at every level of their career from beginning writers to published authors. As publishing continues to evolve, so will the types of workshops and panels at conference.

During the proposal selection process, the committee focused on the proposed topic as well as the proposal itself. Knowing that your proposal will be one among many, it's worth your time to make sure it showcases your workshop in the best possible way. When putting your proposal together for submission, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your topic specific, fresh, and unique? Conference will always seek proposals on writing craft basics, best practices, how to, and industry standards, but if your proposal comes off as run-of-the-mill during the proposal process, what does that say about your class? There are many ways to talk about outlining, character development, queries, marketing, and publishing as a whole, but if your topic feels stale, it simply won't stand out.
  • Is your topic relevant to the industry's current climate? Publishing is changing at a rapid pace, and authors are savvy to what's going on. If you've presented on this topic before, how have you updated your class to keep it fresh?
  • Is your topic positive in nature? One of the goals of Colorado Gold is to pump up our attendees and fill them with the knowledge and information they need to face their writing with a fresh attitude and renewed excitement. A workshop or class that is geared toward the negative or focuses solely on what not-to-do will have the opposite effect.
  • Have you taught before? It's perfectly fine if this is your first proposal and your first time teaching. We welcome fresh talent! But make sure you share your credentials so the committee can see that you're the perfect person to teach a class on your proposed topic. Also, be sure to include enough content in your description and outline so it's clear you know your subject and are prepared to teach the material. This goes for experienced presenters who are teaching a new course for the first time.
  • Are you submitting a proposal for a discussion panel? How do you plan to engage the audience? How do you plan to moderate the discussion? Have you listed all of the speakers? What topics will you discuss that will provide insights to attendees they can use? Is your topic so broad it lacks clarity? So narrow as to limit its appeal? Is your panel audience-focused? A panel heavy with self-promotion won't appeal to attendees who are looking for usable knowledge to apply to their own writing careers.
  • Does your proposal indicate concrete knowledge or skills?  What do you plan to share with your audience that they can take away and apply to their writing? Be detailed so that the committee can understand what attendees will learn in your workshop or panel.
  • Does your proposal clearly state your audience?  Is it for Beginner, Intermediate, Professional level writers? For everyone? Is it for published or pre-published writers? If it's geared toward already-published writers, does the content pertain to traditionally published, indie, or both? Does the content of your outline match the expected track level?
  • Is your outline detailed enough without being too detailed? If you submit an outline for your two-hour workshop that contains a handful of five bullet points and no supporting detail, it will seem as though you don't have enough content to fill your time slot. Conversely, if your outline for your one-hour workshop is fifteen pages single-spaced, it will seem as though you might not have a firm grasp on your subject matter or enough time to present all the material. Find a balance that allows you to show what you'll cover, how it will flow, how long it will take, and what attendees will take away.
  • Is your outline well organized?  A well-planned outline is easy to spot. It shows the main topic, the sub-topics in the order you plan to present them, and shares a bit of the direction your class will take. An organized outline indicates a solid grasp of subject knowledge and information flow, which results in a class attendees will be glad they attended.
  • Have you proofread your proposal and provided all the information requested? This might seem like a no-brainer, but think about it. Just like a resume, your proposal represents you during this process. Typos and errors reflect poorly on your proposal. You want to give the selection committee every reason to choose yours over another proposal. Do yourself a favor and submit your best possible proposal.

What are we looking for? If you have something that you think will be of interest to the attendees at RMFW Colorado Gold, we invite you to submit your proposals regardless of topic. Based on feedback from our conference attendee surveys, attendees have requested workshops and panels on the following subjects:

Writing Craft

  • Character Development, Character Arcs
  • How to Write a Beginning
  • Plotting Stories and Series
  • Genre-specific Tropes: Dos and Don'ts
  • Pacing
  • Writing Diversity: Other Cultures, Other Abilities, LGBTQ

Author Business & Professional Level

  • Marketing & PR
  • Networking: How-to, Strategies, New Avenues, What's Coming
  • Managing Financials, Taxes, Accounting, Best Practices
  • Contracts for Traditional and Indie Published Authors, Dos and Don'ts
  • Author Events, Public Speaking, Book Signings, Best Practices
  • Industry Insights for Traditional and Indie Publishing
  • Indie Publishing, What it Entails, How to Manage, DIY versus Hiring a Team
  • Social Media Management for Authors
  • Book Formatting
  • Book Reviews, How to Get Them
  • Audiobook Production, Options, How To
  • Cover Design
  • Discoverability
  • Author Platform, Building an Audience, How Tos, Options
  • Author Websites, DIY, How To, Options
  • Readers: Where to Find Them
  • Writing as a Career

This list is by no means complete, but hopefully it triggers ideas and provides some insights about the kinds of things we're hearing from our conference goers about what they want to see. Proposal Submissions will open January 1, 2016 and close at midnight on April 1Keep an eye on the conference page, your email, and the RMFW home page for details.

We look forward to receiving your proposals and building another fabulous conference for you!

Ann Hood – 2016 Colorado Gold Keynote Speaker

AnnHood-smRMFW is pleased to announce Ann Hood is our 2016 Colorado Gold Conference Sunday afternoon keynote speaker.

Ann Hood wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. Her favorite books when she was a kid were Little Women and Nancy Drew. Later, she loved Marjorie Morningstar, Les Miserables and Doctor Zhivago, obviously choosing books by size!

A Rhode Island native, she was born in West Warwick and spent high school working as a Marsha Jordan Girl, modeling for the Jordan Marsh department store at the Warwick Mall. 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.

When she was in seventh grade, she read a book called How To Become An Airline Stewardess that fueled her desire to see the world. And that's just what she did when she graduated from URI--she went to work for TWA as a flight attendant. Back then, she thought you needed adventures in order to be a writer. Of course, she now knows that all you need, as Eudora Welty said, is to sit on your own front porch.

AH-AnItalianWifeBut she did see a lot of the world with TWA, and she moved from Boston to St. Louis and finally to NYC, a place she'd dreamed of living ever since she watched Doris Day movies as a little girl. 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.

Over a dozen years ago, Ann began writing stories about the Rimaldi's, a fictional Italian-American family who, like her own Italian-American family, arrived in Rhode Island in the late 1800's. The Rimaldi's struggle with homesickness and alienation, and the desire to be American as they try to stay connected to their culture and traditions. When she finished a Rimaldi story last year, she realized that she had over 300 pages about the family. She printed them, placed them in chronological order--spanning one hundred years!--wrote two more, and with great delight created a family saga that centers on Josephine Rimaldi and her children and grandchildren. Josephine and her daughters and granddaughters seek love and acceptance, suffer loss and disappointment, live through wars and historical upheavals. But like all of us, they make their way--in family, in regret, in dreams, and desire. An Italian Wife is, really, everyone's story.

Visit Ann’s website and blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Are You Pantsing Through Your Writing Life? … by Corinne O’Flynn

Author OFlynn HEADSHOTWhat does your plan for your writing year look like? Are you a schedule plotter (step-by-step) or a calendar pantser (by the seat of your pants)? Do you find yourself struggling to maintain writing goals and deadlines? Are you overwhelmed by the idea of finishing your first novel, or making time to write your next book while juggling your author business and your life? Are you often stressed about how much writing you’ve got to get done in what feels like very little time?

By now I’m sure we’ve all been asked if we’re a plotter or a pantser when it comes to our writing. As far as that goes, I think you should do what works for you. But when it comes to managing your writing time and how it fits into your writing life, I’d like to make a case for plotting your time on paper.

Last year, I attended a goal-setting class that spoke about scheduling yourself a year ahead. My first reaction was, “A year ahead!? I barely know what’s going on next week!” But after giving it a go, and now living it for almost a year myself, I can tell you that it’s worth trying.

OFlynn calendarTo get started, you need a year-at-a-glance calendar. You can Google sites that have free printables. Calendarlabs.com has many to get you started. I use a spreadsheet set up so that each quarter fills a single printed page.

Getting Started

The first thing you need to do is load your calendar up with all the “off time” things like trips, events, conferences, vacations, kids’ school breaks, and other time-heavy things that will take place over the year that will interfere with your writing time. Then, fill in the deadlines you’ve got for your writing or writing business.

Work Backward to Break Up Your Work

Once you’ve got your “off time” noted and your writing deadlines in place, work backward to break the writing goals down into smaller chunks. Let’s say you’re drafting a novel, and you plan to send it to your editor on December 1st. You’ve got to build time in for your writing, deadlines to send to your critique partners, reading time for beta readers, and your own revision time between each of these stages. All of this so you’re ready by your main December 1st deadline.

The value of the year-at-a-glance calendar is that you’ll know well ahead of time that you’ve got family in town for one week and you’ll be traveling over a long weekend right in the middle of your working window. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by these events when they creep up on you, you can plan ahead and adjust your writing time accordingly so you can meet your deadlines and enjoy your off time.

OFlynn_Expatriates_CVR_LRGLIGHTThis Technique Works For Anything

The same holds true if you’re launching a book, scheduling release parties, promotional events, online blog tours, cover reveals, etc. It even works for non-writing goals. I’m using this process to schedule the re-org of my house! There’s no need to panic when you’ve plotted out your time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Granular

Once you have your year plotted, break it down by quarter, then by month, week, and day. Allow yourself to get as detailed as you need in order to really see what your daily and weekly goals must be in order to hit your big-picture deadlines. You might be surprised to see how manageable your writing goals become when you break them down like this. Alternatively, unrealistic goals stand out when you do this, allowing you to adjust your time so you can be successful.

Allow Yourself Adjustments

Granted, nothing is ever 100% perfect. But I can attest to the value of seeing the year ahead when it comes time to make the inevitable changes and shifts. Life happens and things get in the way. Being a life plotter, at whatever level of detail, can go a long way toward keeping you on the path toward achieving your goals in your writing and your life.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Corinne O'Flynn is a native New Yorker who now lives in Colorado and wouldn't trade life in the Rockies for anything. She loves writing flash and experimenting with short fiction. Her novel, THE EXPATRIATES (Oct. 2014) is the first in a fantasy adventure series with magic and creatures and lots of creepy stuff. She is a scone aficionado, has an entire section of her kitchen devoted to tea, and is always on the lookout for the elusive Peanut Chews candy. When she isn’t writing or spending time with her family, Corinne works as the executive director of a local nonprofit.

Learn more about Corinne and her writing at her website. She can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.