Sharing Those Secrets!

When I wrote the entry saying that I was going to two conferences I also said that there was one thing that really pushed me into the “you can do it!” category. I also told you I’d talk more about it once I had a bit more information. Today is that day.


One of the biggest pushes into that yes! column was the announcement of the Key Note speakers and the fact that one of them is one of my favorite authors. So, we’re going to take a look at who is going to be coming to are their expertise with us all at Colorado Gold. If you want the official profiles and more details on them, you can check the RMFW page here.


The first is Sherry Thomas, someone that I was excited to hear about because I loved THE BURNING SKY. She also writes romance and historical mysteries. I went and looked up some of her other books and they look super interesting as well. So it will be awesome having her there.


The next person is Lori Rader-Day. I’ve not personally read any of her books but she is a mystery writer. It looks like she has some awesome books out there that I’m planning to try and pick one or two up and check out before September. I’ve just recently started looking into more mystery novels so I’m not terribly familiar with mystery authors right now.


The one that I am the most excited for is our third Key Note for the conference: Diana Gabaldon. She is the author of a ton of books, my most favorite series that she writes (and probably in general) is the OUTLANDER series. I started reading those books as a teen and have gone to signings for her newer books over the recent years. I can’t wait to see her in a conference environment and getting the chance to talk to her writer to writer.


I am very excited to see what else develops for that conference!

PPWC 2017 Thursday Prequel Preview

Hey everyone!


When I first started going to conferences several years ago, one of the things that helped me decide on Pikes Peak Writers Conference (besides the awesome people I started befriending prior to the conference starting) was the fact that PPWC offers a Prequel option.


It takes place on the Thursday prior to the conference’s normal Friday start day. It is, currently, divided into two parts: a morning session and an afternoon section. Both sessions are three hours long and are an awesome add-on to the conference. You can get more details on the workshops for the prequel here.


AM Session

During the morning session you have four choices:

  • The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Tell the Story Beneath the Surface (Part One) — Presented by Donald Maass.
  • Everything You Need To Know To Write A Novel — Presented by Chris Mandeville.
  • Make Your Own Middle Earth: Worldbuilding — Presented by Mike Braff & Kevin Hearne.
  • Squared Away: How To Accurately Write Military Characters — Presented by Kevin Ikenberry (and friends)


Don’t just the names of the workshops and the presenters make you go “ooooh“? Go read the descriptions, because I have seriously gone into my registration and changed my choices several times now. But since I had to settle on one, I think I’ve finally chosen the one that I am going to go with. Which one you ask? Well, I chose…


Make Your Own Middle Earth.

Why? Well, despite enjoying writing fantasy type books, I’ve learned that one of the harder parts of writing fantasy is taking what I see in my head and putting it to paper. Some of the feedback I get on my stories is that I need to add more description of the worlds. This workshop says we get to work on building a world together. It’ll be awesome!


Here’s the description from the website:

In this three-hour long workshop you will learn the fundamentals of worldbuilding from New York Times Bestselling author Kevin Hearne and Del Rey editor Mike Braff. We’ll discuss what kinds of elements are important when building an imagined world, and will put those discussions to use as we create an one such world together as a group. After, participants will write a short piece set in the shared world and we’ll read, critique, and discuss our work as a group. Be prepared for a fun and enlightening workshop!

PM Session

And what do we have going on in the afternoon? Well:

  • The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Tell the Story Beneath the Surface (Part Two) — Presented by Donald Maass
  • Be An Agent For A Day — Presented by Kristin Nelson
  • Scrivener Boot Camp — Presented by Patrick Hester
  • Misdemeanors to Murder: Nothing but the Truth from a Criminal Lawyer and Private Eye — Presented by Colleen Collins and Shaun Kaufman


Again all of the amazing names for workshops. Who could truly say no to any of them?


Unfortunately I had to say no to three of them since I can only be in one place at a time. Can someone figure out a way to clone oneself? Anyways, the one I chose for the PM session…

Misdemeanors to Murder!

The why behind this one is simple. I have found myself plotting a potential paranormal mystery and have never been in that genre before. I think I am going to be okay on the paranormal aspect of this story, but not the mystery. So here I will find myself getting the knowledge I need to help me get this new project moving in a positive direction.


Here is the description from the website:

“Misdemeanors to Murder: Nothing but the Truth from a Criminal Lawyer and Private Eye” covers the history of private eyes, popular misconceptions of PIs, types of investigators, tricks of the trade, crime scenes, the relationship between PIs and police, legalities, and breakdowns of real-life investigative/criminal cases. At the end of presentation will be a Q&A.

No audio recording, please. We will provide a link so you can later download the PowerPoint presentation.

At end of course there will be a drawing for copies of our nonfiction books How Do Private Eyes Do That? and A Lawyer’s Primer for Writers: From Crimes to Courtrooms.


  1. Introduction
  2. History of the Private Eye
  3. Types of Private Investigators: One Size Doesn’t Fit All
  4. Misconceptions About PIs: Don’t Let Your PI Character Become a Cliché
  5. Tricks of the Trade: Trash Hits, Spy Gear, Apps & More
  6. Breaking the Law: Don’t Make Your PI-Character Look Like a Legal Dummy
  7. PIs and Police: Debunking Myths
  8. PIs and Crime Scenes: Cold Crime Scenes vs. “Hot” Crime Scenes
  9. Examples of Real-Life Investigative Cases: Breakdown of PI’s Tasks (Misdemeanors to Attempted Homicide)
  10. Examples of Real-Life Criminal Litigation Cases: Breakdown of Defense Lawyer’s & PI’s Tasks (Misdemeanors to Murder 1)
  11. Research Sources for Writers: PI Blogs, Websites, Online Magazines
  12. Q&A


Now, did this help you get more interested in PPWC? Are you going to be there with me?


I hope to see you there!


FYI: There are only a couple more days at the discounted price to register. You can still register at the higher price as well, but if this helps convince you, take a few minutes and go register here.

Goodbye To A World and the People Inhabiting It

Once upon a time, when I was a young girl, I had a dream of a world unlike our own. It was inhabited by a collection of people that kept a secret.

I woke from that dream with this undeniable need to write. I was 12 or 13 and up until that point I had never had that much of a craving for it. I enjoyed it in school but, despite one idea that I had and worked on for a bit (but tragically lost when the Zip Drive it was on got corrupted). But even that came first from a homework assignment.

But after that dream I hid out in the little teepee I had in my bedroom and wrote.

And wrote.

Before the end of that day I had two notebooks full of scenes. It started with what I had seen in my dream and went far beyond that.

That day was the day I realized I wanted to be a writer.

Over the years, that initial spark never died. I wrote probably 75,000 words on that original idea. But then I realized the next part of being a writer: editing and rewriting.

That original idea is what brought me to Goddess Born. The original idea is sitting plotted, but unfinished in my house. It has moved with me in its original notebooks. And has been put into the cloud digitally.

I have several ideas for stories in that world but the only one I completed was Goddess Born.

But another lesson I’ve learned, one that is bittersweet and hard, is that even though that world is my baby I have to let it go.

There was a time that I thought that world was all I had in me. Those thoughts haunted me and really kept me from writing for longer than I’d care to admit. I clutched that world close with greedy fingers, I pushed it on others in an almost manic desperation for approval.

But my year off from writing, that year for me started opening up my eyes to the scary realization that it was time to say goodbye.

Those characters are my babies, that world a second home, how could I say goodbye so casually.

This blog has been a focus on that world, those characters, but now it will be a focus on the other worlds brewing in my mind. New characters are itching to be born. And here you will see that journey.

So here is my goodbye. Goodbye to Lynn and all her troubles. Goodbye to Selene and her sacrifices. Goodbye to Felidae and their secrets. Goodbye to Calypsa and her need for revenge. Goosbye to Tespion and the adventureyou took me on.

Goodbye to all the people too numerous to count.

As the tears flow freely, I’ll end this post.

On to some new adventures.

All the Pretty People

This year we have a full plate of keynote speakers and I’m excited to see how it all plays out in April. I’ve never been disappointed in any keynote speaker that PPWC has brought in to speak. They’re all inspirational and I’ve never left a lunch or dinner without renewed excitement that I am a part of this community.


So let’s talk keynotes! In no particular order (I’m mostly just going by the staff page here):

Donald MaassI’ve seen him as both a keynote and during some of his workshops he’s done. Several of his craft books stay on my writing desk constantly because they’ve help me so much during this journey I’m on. He is so immersed with the writing world that it is amazing hearing him speak on different areas of the industry.

Darynda JonesHer profile on PPWC made me excited to get to see her come April. I’m not, currently, in the know on her work but I am totally going to hunt it down because I was so drawn in on her profile. I would love to pick her brain on a couple things that stick out in the profile. Yay!

Kevin HearneHis books I know of. The Iron Druid Chronicles are fantastic and now that I’m writing this I really want to read through them again. Also, finding my copies to possibly get signed would be awesome. I also realized that he’ll be co-teaching one of the prequel classes I’ll be taking that Thursday. It focuses on world building so that excites me.

Tess GerritsenI don’t think I previously connected the dots on who she is before re-reading her profile on the website. But she’s the one behind “Rizzoli and Isles”. I love that show. I’ve been picking my brain to remember if I’ve read any of her book but I’m not sure. I love me some romantic suspense and that seems to be the area in which she writes.

Basically everyone on the list looks amazing and I am so, so, so very excited. I also plan on making sure I talk more on their actual speeches and I can leave all of you lovelies with some of the inspiration I hear.

I Sat Down With The Goddess and Here’s What We’ve Learned


Last week I talked about the Zebulon and why I love it. Today I am going to talk a little about plans I have for Goddess Born.


Earlier this year one of my bests friends made me promise to pursue publishing my finished novel because she wanted to see me reach that dream of being published. Yes, I know that getting published isn’t as simple as making the decision to get published. There is a lot that goes in to that process.


So, what are my plans?


Zebulon is my crossroads moment for Goddess Born and is going to really help me narrow down my plans for the next year. And for Goddess Born as well.


The results won’t be coming out until March/April and until then I am going to try querying some of the agents that I’ve been researching. When it comes to the results, based on how it comes across through the contest and how things are going with actual querying, it’ll be my deciding moment on whether or not Goddess Born is going to be tucked away for awhile or not.


Goddess Born is my baby. Something that took a long time to write and it was the story I really needed to get out. It was the story that changed me as a writer because my devotion to it pushed me to be the better writer and really get things finished.


Beccause of Goddess Born, I learned there are more stories inside of me. I had been so scared it was the only one until I really sat down and worked through the other thoughts in my mind. Each of those different voices are different stories.


One thing that NaNo did for me was to also show me that I can accomplish something I wasn’t able to accomplish with Goddess Born: write a story in a timely manner.


Though Time Healer is not finished, I do have it about wrapped up. Once done it’ll be a separate crossroads — which of those numerous stories bubbling around in my head needs to be written next?


I think I’ll do a poll here (and a few other places) and have you all help me figure out what I want to write next.


Goddess Born is my baby and it is time for her to leave the nest. Hopefully she’ll succeed in what I want her to do, but I need to make sure I am commiting myself to more than one project at a time.


So, though my friend encouraged me to get my work out there, and I will do that, I’ve learned something bigger with that encouragement: an author does not sit idly by. No one should, really, but there are many more stories inside of me that are begging to be written. And so they will be.


So thanks Jessica! I love you and all the others out there who have supported this crazy dream of mine. Including my husband, who has taken on the crazy task of keeping me around when I’m at my weirdest and get so caught up in some of this writing stuff.

Oops… I did it again…

3d Penguin with "Oops" sign

Is that song stuck in your head now?


So, anyways on to the blog, a few years I entered the Zebulon contest put on by PPW. I received some pretty good feedback on my entry and I took it all to heart and was excited that someone seemed genuinely interested in the story despite it looking like it needed work I knew it needed work when I entered it (doesn’t every story need work even when we decide it’s “finished”?”


Well, this year I decided to enter it again. Trying to get everything out of PPWC this coming year as I can. I thought I would talk a little about the contest. I really did mean to get this posted before the contest ended but I lost track of time with holidays and NaNo and ALL THE THINGS. But I hope this might spark some interest in you, my lovely readers, to try to enter something next year.


The contest usually runs from about mid-September to the beginning of November. They do usually limit the number of entries, so you may want to make sure you get in on it as soon as possible just in case. Visit the site above to check out the rules (especially closer to the dates to see if there are any new requirements). One I’ll mention here because I know that all of you aren’t necessarily novel writers. It is for full length, unpublished works.


A few fun things about it:

  • If you win first place in the category you enter you could find yourself getting to go to PPWC at no cost. If that doesn’t work for you there is a monetary reward for first, second and third.
  • You can opt-in for additional critiques so that you get multiple opinions on the pieces you submitted.
  • The process is very similar to your regular querying process and is divided into rounds (the first being the query round where the agent reads your query and gives you points, if you earn enough you move on to the next round of them reading your synopsis and first 2,500 words, if you beat out the rest you enter the final round where the judges decide on the top three).
  • They have actually set up a very detailed virtual agency with about six virtual agents (who are represented by actual agents, publishers, editors, authors, etc.) who have their own profiles and everything set up so you can flush out your query to be specific to their wants.
  • If you do get to be one of those winners (I know you can do it!) then you get first choice of query appointments, read and critiques, and seating at meals. This is a pretty awesome perk.
  • You get recognized at the banquet during conference.


Woo hoo for fun things! Definitely check out the website for more details about the specifics and hopefully you’ll take a chance on it.


This whole process leaves me all sorts of nervous-excited and I can’t wait to see what the results are when they’re all sent out in March/April.


Have you entered any contests? Do you have a personal favorite recurring contest?

Of Secrets and Plans…

So, some of you that follow me on other social medias know that one of the big things that I have been working on these last several months is trying to figure out budgeting in a way that works with me and my life.


Things have gotten pretty well set up in a way that I’ve been able to plan things out in a better way.


So what does that have to do with secrets or plans? Well, in the end, 2017 is going to be full of excitement and sort of experimental year. It is really going to put my budgeting to the test.


Or at least that’s the plan. Usually this time of year I debate between two o the conferences that are close by (or basically the two conferences I know that a bunch of my writerly friends go to). Usually PPWC has won out every single time because it was the first place I went and it’s like family.

The Colorado Gold Conference (put on by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) is still an amazing conference that offers similar things to PPWC and the only reason that really stopped me was he fact that I didn’t have the money to go to both so I let my heart lead me to PPWC each year.

So with my crazy begetting and as long as nothing else breaks (I’ve not had good luck when it comes to appliances this year) it should all work out for me to go to both! So, yay!

But why do two conferences rather than put that extra money to something else?

Well there are a couple of reasons that swayed me outside of the standard “I have money, weeeee!”

First — those friends that I’ve talked about before. My writing family, friends that I’ve mae through the years that go to Colorado Gold now or more often than PPWC so it’ll be nice to reconnect with some o those people who I haven’t seen in a couple of years.

Second — the keynotes this year made me really thing about planning to go to both as well! They’re always great, just like PPWC, but this year there is an author that I’ve read for so, so many years and they are going to be a keynote this year at Colorado Gold. I have seen this author at signings but I am excited to see her speak on the writing side of things.

Third — location played a key part in making this feel “okay” to do to conferences this year. Being a single car family right now, it was a little more complicated planning on travel arrangements to the Springs and back. Colorado Gold takes place in Denver so it was more feasible dealing with travel arrangements.

And finally the last reason for finally pushing me into the “YES!” category is all about timing. PPWC takes place at the end of April and Colorado Gold takes place at the beginning of September. This gives me plenty of time to make sure my budget is all set for both events.

This is a test to see if this is going to be something I can do more than once.

I’m excited for all of this to fall into place. So, just like with PPWC, look for updates about the keynotes, workshops and recaps as things get closer.

What are your conference plans for 2017?