2019 Colorado Gold Conference

September 6-8, 2019
Denver Renaissance Stapleton Hotel
Denver, Colorado

Registration is OPEN

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Conference Brochure **Updated 7-15-19

Conference At-A-Glance Schedule **Updated 7-15-19

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For questions not on the FAQ contact Pam Nowak at Conference@rmfw.org

 Keynote Speakers

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.

All together, her books have sold 7 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list 29 times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.

Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on FacebookTwitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s manyreader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of Total Mayhem, Scorpion Strike, Final Target, Friendly Fire, Nick of Time, Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan’s Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom.  Four of his books have been purchased or optioned for the Big Screen.  In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris.  He will co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom, which should begin filming in 2018.

A frequent speaker at literary events, John also teaches seminars on suspense writing techniques at a wide variety of venues, from local libraries to The Smithsonian Institution.  Outside of his writing life, John is a renowned safety expert with extensive knowledge of explosives, weapons systems, hazardous materials, and fire behavior.  John lives in Fairfax, VA.

Anne Hillerman continues the mystery series her father, the best-selling author Tony Hillerman, created beginning in 1970.  After spending many years as a journalist and nonfiction author, Anne published her first novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, in 2013. The mystery followed the further adventures of the characters Tony Hillerman created including Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn and gave Bernadette Manuelito a leading role. The book received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America for Best First Novel.

Her second mystery, Rock with Wings, quickly became a New York Times best-seller and received the New Mexico Book Awards Founders’ Award. The third novel in the reinvigorated series, Song of the Lion, arrived in April 2017 and took the detectives to the Grand Canyon and Tuba City, Arizona. It also was a New York Times top-ten best seller.

The fourth in her re-envisioning of the mysteries, Cave of Bones, uses the rugged lava landscape of New Mexico’s Malpais as a setting where crime solver Bernadette Manuelito discovers that a missing person has a complicated past. The book debuted in April, 2018, as number eight on the New York Times best seller list for combined hard cover and e-book sales. In addition to  enthusiastic reviews from Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal,  the New York Journal of Books wrote, “…this fictional universe now belongs firmly in the hands of Anne Hillerman.”

The fifth book in the series, The Tale Teller, is set for release in April 2019.  Anne also has published several non-fiction books including Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn created with husband/photographer Don Strel.

Anne belongs to many writers’ organizations and served on the board of Western Writers of America. She has represented New Mexico at the National Book Festival hosted by the Library of Congress. She was deeply honored to present the annual Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya Lecture on the Literature of the Southwest in 2015 at the University of New Mexico. In 2018,  she accepted an invitation to give the Willard Lecture for the New Mexico Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections. In 2018, she was named favorite local author in the Albuquerque Journal’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

In 2019, she will receive the Frank Waters Award for literary excellence.

When she’s not writing, Anne enjoys reading, cooking, gardening, skiing and walking with her dog. She lives and works in Santa Fe with frequent trips to the Navajo Nation.

 Acquiring Agents & Editors

Sandra Bond | Agent | Bond Literary Agency | Acquiring: adult crime fiction, YA fiction in all categories.

Bond Literary Agency is a small, full-service literary agency with a select list of clients. Sandra works with the large houses in New York and mid-size and small book publishers all over the country. She was the program administrator at the University of Denver’s Publishing Institute for 4 years (2005-2009), and she now guest lectures there annually. She is a Denver native and has a degree in microbiology from the University of Colorado. Submission guidelines can be found on www.bondliteraryagency.com. She does not blog—who has time?!—but she does occasionally tweet @bondingnow.


Michael Carr | Agent | Veritas Literary Agency | Acquiring: science fiction, fantasy, women’s fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction

Michael Carr is a literary agent with a background in editing and writing, working from a home base in San Francisco. He represents writers in a variety of genres, with a special emphasis on historical fiction, mystery and suspense, and science fiction and fantasy. Michael works carefully with clients to produce the cleanest, most professional manuscripts and enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. He speaks Spanish and conversational French and before joining Veritas had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.

Sylvan Creekmore | Editor | St. Martin’s Press | Acquiring: YA, LGBT characters and characters of color, adult fantasy, alternate history, horror

Sylvan Creekmore has been an editor at St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for just over five years. There, she launched nerdy YA rom-com author Lily Anderson’s career, and is working on provocative sex educator Gigi Engle’s forthcoming book, as well as megastar DJ Steve Aoki’s memoir. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and the Columbia Publishing Course at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Jessica Felleman | Agent | Foundry Literary | Acquiring: Fantasy of a magical or mythological nature, commercial literary fiction, and fiction based on complicated family relationships

Jessica represents a range of fiction and non-fiction, from fun pop culture and psychology, to contemporary literary memoirs and graphic novels. She is always looking for work from compelling and underserved voices that focuses on strong characters and interesting worlds, including commercial and literary fiction, historical fiction, and fiction that balances on the edge of genre. She loves fresh stories about magic, family, everyday people doing extraordinary things, and unforgettable places.

Jessica grew up in Massachusetts, received her BAs in English and French from Syracuse University, and completed her MFA in Writing at The California Institute of the Arts. After working in Los Angeles for the literary magazine Black Clock and with Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises, Jessica moved to New York and began working at Foundry Literary + Media in 2015, where she is actively building her list.

Shannon Hassan | Agent | Marsal Lyon Literary | Acquiring: Book club fiction, historical fiction, upmarket/literary suspense, young adult, and middle grade

Shannon Hassan brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role as agent, having worked in publishing and law for more than a decade.  She represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, young adult and middle grade fiction, and select nonfiction.  With respect to fiction, she is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and enjoys both contemporary and historical settings.  For nonfiction, she is interested in exceptional narratives from authors with strong platforms. Based in Boulder, Colorado, she is also eager to hear from authors with a unique perspective on the West.

Before becoming an agent, she was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, and prior to that, a corporate attorney at Arnold & Porter in New York. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University, and she serves on the board of The Dairy Arts Center.

Follow Shannon on Twitter: @ShannonHassan.

Rhea Lyons | Agent | Hannigan, Salky, Getzler | Acquiring: science fiction, fantasy, romance, young adult

Rhea Lyons is thrilled to join Hannigan, Salky, Getzler as an agent. She began her publishing career while studying at the University of Rochester and interning at Open Letter, a press which exclusively publishes literature in translation. She then joined the Random House Publishing Group, working in Subrights, and in 2011, she became a scout at Franklin and Siegal Associates. Most recently, Rhea was the Subsidiary Rights Director at Rodale, where she also acquired books for their adult list as well as for their newly launched children’s imprint, Rodale Kids.  Rhea is looking to represent writers from a range of disciplines, from adult fiction, to popular nonfiction, to children’s and young adult — anything that encourages readers to look at the world around them with fresh eyes.

Jill Marr | Agent | Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency | Acquiring: mystery, thriller, horror, women’s fiction, historical fiction

Jill Marr is a senior agent at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She graduated from SDSU with a BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in history. In a former life Jill worked in the creative services department at a local television station. She began her publishing career as Sandra Dijkstra’s assistant the week after 9/11. Jill also wrote features and ads for Pages, the literary magazine for people who love books and continues to write book ads for publishing houses. Building her own list now for the past 10 years, Jill is interested in adult commercial fiction, with an emphasis on mysteries, thrillers, and horror, women’s commercial fiction and historical fiction. She is also looking for non-fiction projects in the areas of science, history, narrative non-fiction, sports, politics, current events, health & nutrition, pop culture, humor and music.

For Jill’s full bio: https://dijkstraagency.com/agent-page.php?agent_id=Marr

Tia Mele | Agent | Talcott Notch Literary | Acquiring: YA and MG, LGBT+, adult women’s fiction and romance.

Tia Mele is a Junior Agent at Talcott Notch Literary and is excited to build her list in Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. She lives in northern Connecticut with her pet rabbit and three dogs. Some of her earliest memories involve reading and writing books, so it was only natural that she pursue a career that allows her to read every day. When she isn’t exploring new worlds through books, she’s travelling, watching baseball, and spending time with her family. Tia is looking for middle grade and young adult fiction that makes her feel a wide array of emotions. She loves characters that are well rounded and diverse, and she loves a good romance, as long as it doesn’t detract from the overall story. She has a soft spot for sports, especially baseball, in both fiction and non-fiction. In adult fiction, she’s primarily looking for emotional women’s fiction with realistic characters and strong stories. She’s also looking for genre romance, and she loves new takes on old tropes.

April Osborn | Editor | MIRA Books | Acquiring: psychological suspense and thrillers, contemporary book club fiction, complex family stories

April joined MIRA in 2018, after a decade in the publishing industry during which she’s had the opportunity to work with bestselling and award-winning authors in many genres. She loves books that feature strong protagonists from underrepresented backgrounds, propulsive plots balanced with compelling characters, and books that have something interesting to say about the world we live in. She also appreciates any book that can make her spine tingle or have her laughing out loud. When she’s not editing or reading, she spends her time riding her bike along the Brooklyn waterfront or binge-watching television, depending on the weather.

Veronica Park | Agent | Fuse Literary | Acquiring: women’s fiction, romance

Veronica Park is an associate agent at Fuse Literary. She is also an author, journalist, and marketing consultant with more than 10 years of experience writing and editing for publication. Before joining Fuse, V worked as an acquisitions editor and PR director at REUTS Publications before joining a New York literary agency in 2014, where she represented nonfiction and fiction authors with projects from middle grade to adult.

Born in Alaska and raised in Oregon, V is naturally fond of unique stories about niche communities and experiences (e.g. roller derby, competitive robotics, study abroad programs, immigration, etc.) especially if those stories are told from personal experience (#ownvoices) and written in a powerful way. Currently, V specializes in commercial fiction, nonfiction (the more creatively structured your narrative, the better,) women’s fiction, and romance for all ages. MSWL: http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/veronica-park/

Liz Pelletier | Publisher | Entangled Publishing | Acquiring: (for Sideways imprint) mainstream thriller and women’s fiction

Coming out of the dot com era, serial entrepreneur Liz Pelletier has more than thirty years of experience in software engineering, systems analysis, and business management. In 2011, Liz channeled her love of romantic fiction and co-founded Entangled Publishing. Her mission statement was simple: offer authors the highest royalties in the industry, combined with an agile publishing program, intense focus on quality, and market-driven analysis, in an effort to bridge the gap between traditional and self-publishing opportunities. Over the past five years, Entangled has gone from a small start-up to a powerhouse romance publisher, with more than 1200 titles released to date. Liz lives in Colorado, is supporting her twins through college, and has an unwavering love of Game of Thrones.

David Pomerico | Editor | Harper Voyager | Acquiring: science fiction, fantasy, military SF, space opera, epic fantansy, contemporary (magic based) fantasy, and horror.

David Pomerico is just a steel-town boy on a Saturday night…no, that’s not quite right. He’s actually a fish-town boy from Long Island who grew up on science fiction, fantasy, and all the 80s and 90s pop culture he could get his hands on. As such, he’s fairly good at trivia, video games that only require two buttons, and loading up programs off of floppy disks. He desperately wanted to find out that his name was really Beldavid, is on Team Raistlin when it comes to the War of the Twins, wishes he could play laser tag in space, thinks he would have been a good stand-in for Xander, and actually likes the movies of LoTR more than the books (for other gasp-worthy moments, ask him about Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, and most DC characters). As Editorial Director of Harper Voyager, he’s looking for all sorts of science fiction and fantasy, but really enjoys military SF, space opera, epic fantasy, contemporary (magic-based) fantasy, and some horror. He loves stories with good pace, novels that stand-alone even in the midst of a series, and edges more towards heroes vs. villains, rather than anti-hero and shades of gray. As with all the Voyager authors, David is excited about finding new voices that are telling under-represented stories, and is actively guiding the list to be as inclusive as possible. If you’re bored, you can follow him on Twitter: @PomericoD.

Abby Saul | Agent | The Lark Group | Acquiring: Adult Fiction (except fantasy, horror, science fiction), mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction

Abby Saul founded The Lark Group after a decade in publishing at John Wiley & Sons, Sourcebooks, and Browne & Miller Literary Associates. She’s worked with and edited bestselling and award-winning authors as well as major brands. At each publishing group she’s been a part of, Abby also has helped to establish ebook standards, led company-wide forums to explore new digital possibilities for books, and created and managed numerous digital initiatives. A zealous reader who loves her iPad and the ebooks on it, she still can’t resist the lure of a print book. Abby’s personal library of beloved titles runs the gamut from literary newbies and classics, to cozy mysteries, to sappy women’s fiction, to dark and twisted thrillers. She’s looking for great and engrossing adult commercial and literary fiction. A magna cum laude graduate of Wellesley College, Abby spends her weekends—when she’s not reading—cooking and hiking with her husband and son. Find her @BookySaul on Twitter.

Special Guests

Sara Dahmen’s historical fiction series, Flats Junction (Promontory Press, Inc), is optioned for multiple feature films and is in production. She is also in development of an unscripted television series with Dawn’s Light Media highlighting her career as a woman coppersmith. Sara is a metalsmith of vintage and modern cookware and manufactures pure metal kitchenware in her garage in Port Washington, WI for her company, House Copper & Cookware. She has published over 100 articles as a contributing editor, has written for Edible and Root + Bone, among others, and spoke at TEDx Rapid City. Her non-fiction book on cookware, FLAME, is due out in Spring 2020 (William Morrow/Harper Collins). When not sewing authentic clothing for 1830’s reenactments, she can be found hitting tin and copper at her apprenticeship with a master smith, reading the Economist, and spending time with her husband and three children.


Debra Dixon is the President and Publisher of BelleBooks and its imprints—Bell Bridge Books and ImaJinn Books, which tackle a broad spectrum of genres. Their titles have been picked up in translation and by major publishers in subrights deals for mass market paperback, book club, audio and large print.

Early in her career, Debra Dixon published with major publishers, wrote ten books, contributed to twelve anthologies, and served as Vice President of RWA.  Her popular GMC:Goal, Motivation, and Conflict workshop spawned a book that has become a how-to bible for writers.

Diane Lasek | Senior Vice President | ListenUp Audiobooks

Diane promotes the audiobook production and distribution services that ListenUp offers to the indie arena-through ListenUpindie.pub.

She enjoys providing information and guidance to indie authors and small publishers and implementing strategies that help authors gain more listenership and success with their audiobooks.

Diane has had a long career in content creation, marketing and distribution and for the last four years she’s been busy building the author-audiobook platform for ListenUp. Visit the website at www.listenupindie.pub

Jeff Seymour | Author | Editor

Jeff Seymour has been writing and editing speculative fiction for over a decade. As an editor, he has helped New York Times, USA Today, and Kindle bestselling indie authors get ready for publication, and he once acquired titles for Carina Press’s science fiction and fantasy list. As an author, he has published short fiction in a variety of venues, and he self-published two epic fantasy novels before making his middle-grade (and traditional publishing) debut with Nadya Skylung and the Cloudship Rescue, a finalist for the 2019 Colorado Book Award. His latest book is Nadya Skylung and the Masked Kidnapper, its sequel.

Special Add-On Options


Thursday Intensive | A Book In A Day | Debra Dixon | Advanced registration required – space is limited | $70 **New Lower Price 

This intensive workshop covers the three most important elements of popular fiction–goal, motivation and conflict (GMC), and how those elements work with the mythic structure of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey to help writers conceive and create strong plots and compelling characters. The Book-In-A-Day workshop provides the tools a writers needs to shape a story and create a road map to writing it.

Various One-on-One Mentor Room 30-Minute Appointments | By Appointment Only – space for each is limited  | $30 **New Lower Price 

Meet one-on-one with various publishing professionals and ask them anything! Appointments available with Sara Dahmen, Rhea Lyons, Sylvan Creekmore, Abby Saul, Michael Carr, Veronica Park, Jessica Felleman, April Osborn, Liz Pelletier, Jeff Seymour, diane Lasek, Lisa Manifold, Corinne O’Flynn, Heather Webb, Jana Brown, and John Gilstrap.

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.

Conference Fees & Refund Policy

The base cost of registration for the 2019 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) 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 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7, 2019. 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  **See Conference Brochure and At-A-Glance for the latest schedule
  • 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)
  • **New This Year** We are going green!!! This means we will not offer swag bags and swag which ends up on landfills. 
  • Friday night kickoff banquet with Keynote Speaker: Marie Force
  • Saturday continental breakfast
  • Saturday afternoon luncheon
  • Saturday night awards and recognition banquet with Keynote Speaker: Anne Hillerman
  • Saturday continental breakfast
  • Sunday noon luncheon with Keynote Speaker: John Gilstrap

Optional special sessions and add-ons include:

  • $60 for a 4-hour Friday Morning Intensive Workshop. See brochure for details. 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
  • $30 for a 15-minute one-on-one pitch coaching session with Karen Lin, or Aimie Runyan **New Lower Price
  • $30 for a 30-minute appointment in our Mentor Room. Work one-on-one with subject matter experts on whatever you choose. Space is limited  **New Lower Price
  • $70 to add a guest to the Friday-night dinner. (Limit: 1 guest – Guest meals are offered at RMFW’s cost) Space is limited. Contact conference@rmfw.org for additional guests.
  • $50 to add a guest to the Saturday luncheon. (Limit: 1 guest – Guest meals are offered at RMFW’s cost) Space is limited. Contact conference@rmfw.org for additional guests.
  • $70 to add a guest to the Saturday-night banquet. (Limit: 1 guest – Guest meals are offered at RMFW’s cost ) Space is limited. Contact conference@rmfw.org for additional guests.
  • $50 to add a guest to the Sunday luncheon. (Limit: 1 guest – Guest meals are offered at RMFW’s cost ) Space is limited. Contact conference@rmfw.org for additional guests.
  • $70 Thursday Intensive all-day workshop **New Lower Price

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