The 2016 Pikes Peak Writers Conference faculty is starting to line up! Staying true to our conference, we are pleased to bring back a few local favorites, but we’re also proud to introduce many new presenters for 2016. The faculty and workshops this year are looking spectacular. Keep checking back for updated faculty information between now and April!
Please keep in mind that some things are out of our control. We do our best to provide you with the most up-to-date information as possible but ALL faculty is subject to change at any time without notice.
2016 PPWC Keynote Speakers
|KEVIN J. ANDERSON
Kevin has published 125 books, more than fifty of which have been national or international bestsellers. He has written numerous novels in the Star Wars, X-Files, and Dune universes, as well as a unique steampunk fantasy novel, Clockwork Angels, based on the concept album by the legendary rock group Rush. His original works include the Saga of Seven Suns series, the Terra Incognita fantasy trilogy, the Saga of Shadows trilogy, and his humorous horror series featuring Dan Shamble, Zombie PI. He has edited numerous anthologies, including the Five by Five and Blood Lite series. Anderson and his wife Rebecca Moesta are the publishers of WordFire Press.
Rachel Caine is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 45 novels to date, and many short stories, including fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, young adult fiction, mystery, thriller, and horror. Her notable series include The Morganville Vampires, Weather Warden, Revivalist, Red Letter Days, and Outcast Season novels. She graduated from Socorro High School in El Paso, Texas, and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Her first short story was published in 1990, and her first novel in 1991.
After a long career in business (including working as an office manager, payroll manager, insurance investigator, web designer, graphic designer, and corporate communications executive) she began writing full time in 2009.
She and her husband, artist R. Cat Conrad, live and work in Fort Worth, Texas.
|JOE R. LANSDALE
Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale is the author of over forty novels and numerous short stories. His work has appeared in national anthologies, magazines, and collections, and numerous foreign publications. He has written for comics, television, film, newspapers, and Internet sites. His work has been collected in more than two dozen short-story collections, and he has edited or co-edited over a dozen anthologies. He has received the Edgar Award, eight Bram Stoker Awards, the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the British Fantasy Award, the Grinzani Cavour Prize for Literature, the Herodotus Historical Fiction Award, the Inkpot Award for Contributions to Science Fiction and Fantasy, and many others. His novella Bubba Ho-Tep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road” was adapted to film for Showtime’s “Masters of Horror,” and he adapted his short story “Christmas with the Dead” to film his ownself. The film adaptation of his novel Cold in July was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.
He is currently co-producing several films, is Writer In Residence at Stephen F. Austin State University, and is the founder of the martial arts system Shen Chuan: Martial Science and its affiliate, Shen Chuan Family System. He is a member of both the United States and International Martial Arts Halls of Fame. He lives in Nacogdoches, Texas with his wife, dog, and two cats.
Jeff Lindsay is the award-winning author of the NY Times Best-selling ‘Dexter’ novels upon which the international hit TV show “Dexter” is based. His books appear in 42 languages around the world.
Although a full-time writer now, he has worked as an actor, comic, director, MC, bouncer, teacher, DJ, singer, songwriter, composer, musician, sportscaster, dishwasher, teacher, arts reporter, soccer coach, talk show host, steel worker, cook, detective, gardener, handyman, greeting card salesman and sailing instructor. He still does occasional work as a voice-over artist, including narrating his own audio books.
Jeff performed extensively as a solo singer/guitarist on the coffee house circuit and later with a series of bands in the L.A. club scene of the early 1980s. He also worked for comedian Steve Allen for four years. He worked for 6 years as a story analyst, script doctor and screenwriter, and even had breakfast with Steven Spielberg. He also wrote several TV sitcoms, and many feature films, with his co-writer and wife Hilary Hemingway, for Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Fries Entertainment, and Republic Pictures, and he has taught writing and screenwriting at the University level. Lindsay has written twenty-two plays – several of them musicals – which have been produced in New York, New Haven, Key West, Pittsburgh, London and California.
For 5 years Jeff wrote “Fatherhood,” a semi-syndicated weekly column on parenting from the male perspective. He hosted several local PBS-TV shows, and a documentary, Hemingway In Cuba, which was seen nationally on PBS.
An enthusiastic cook, he also fishes, cruises on his 36 foot trawler, and acts as a trampoline for his three daughters.
|WENDY CORSI STAUB
Wendy is the award-winning author of more than eighty novels, best known for the single title psychological suspense novels she writes under her own name. Those novels and the women’s fiction she writes under the pseudonym Wendy Markham also frequently appear on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookscan bestseller lists.
A two-time finalist for the prestigious Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award, she’s won the 2008 RT Award for Career Achievement in Suspense, the 2007 RWA-NYC Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement, an RWA Rita award, and five WLA Washington Irving Prizes for Fiction.
Wendy grew up in a small town near Buffalo and graduated from SUNY Fredonia. She moved to Manhattan and became an editor before selling her first novel in 1992.
She now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband and sons. A vocal and active supporter of Relay for Life, Support Connection, and the American Cancer Society, she was a 2012 Ovarian Cancer Awareness month national spokesperson for the Sandy Rollman Ovarian Cancer Foundation. As an animal rights advocate, she fosters for various rescue organizations.
Agents and Acquiring Editors
Annie Berger started out as an editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin imprint. There she worked with authors Brandon Mull, Rachel Renée Russell and Lauren Barnholdt. She was the editor for both the middle-grade and chapter book Nancy Drew series and the middle-grade Hardy Boys series. Annie also signed up debut authors Jen Malone’s At Your Service and Gail Nall’s Breaking the Ice. Now an associate editor at HarperCollins, Annie is delighted to be editing both middle-grade and teen, and works with authors such as Jen Malone (YA debut Wanderlost), Kristen Kittscher (The Tiara on the Terrace), Gail Nall (Exit Stage Left), Jo Whittemore (Confidentially Yours series) and Diane Zahler. Annie also assists with best-selling authors Gail Carson Levine, Lauren Oliver and Rita Williams-Garcia. @EditorALB
St. Martin’s Press
In New York by way of North Carolina, Caitlin Dareff attended UNC-Chapel Hill where she majored in Spanish and Anthropology and minored in Creative Writing. Most at home surrounded by books and people who love them, she worked at an independent bookstore before entering the wonderful world of publishing as an intern at Algonquin Books in Chapel Hill. Now an Assistant Editor at St. Martin’s Press, Caitlin is on the lookout for both fiction and nonfiction. She’s especially interested in literary/book club fiction, fiction with an edge of suspense, upmarket women’s fiction, and offbeat contemporary young adult. In terms of nonfiction, she has her eye out for quirky memoir with humor and heart as well as pop culture nonfiction about music and art. When it comes down to it, she loves writing that makes you believe that every story is worth telling—it’s just in how you tell it.
|MELISSA L. EDWARDS
The Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency
Literary Agent, Foreign Rights
Melissa L. Edwards is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School. She is a member in good standing of the New York State bar. While Melissa began her career as a commercial litigation attorney, she always maintained aspirations to work in publishing. At present, Melissa handles foreign rights for Aaron Priest and she is actively reading to develop her own list. Melissa’s taste ranges in genre from classic Victorian literature to hard-boiled crime dramas. She is interested in reading international thrillers with likeable and arresting protagonists, light-hearted women’s fiction and YA, female-driven (possibly small-town) suspense, and completely immersive fantasy. Ultimately, Melissa is looking for a book that will keep her glued to the couch all day and night, and continue to occupy her thoughts for weeks later.
The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
Linda Epstein has been an Associate Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City since 2011. Prior to that she interned at Folio Literary Management, The McVeigh Agency, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, and Meryl Zegarek Public Relations. She has a BA in English and Environmental Studies from Buffalo University and a BSN from New York University. Linda blogs at theblabbermouthblog.com and you can find her on Twitter @LindaEpstein.
Linda represents picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, as well as children’s non-fiction. She likes stories for kids that deal with issues of identity, history, sexual politics, feminism, and culture. Some of her other interests also include art, food, and the environment. She looks for the offbeat, quirky, left of center, and bonus points are given if you keep your sense of humor about it all. Linda is looking for literary and commercial fiction, mysteries, speculative fiction, and projects that use magical realism. She is actively seeking to represent projects that give voice to work by and about all kinds of marginalized people.
Nelson Literary Agency
Talent Scout, Contracts and Royalties Manager
Angie Hodapp graduated from the University of Denver Publishing Institute in 2002 and earned an M.A. in English from Colorado State University in 2010. She has worked as an editorial assistant at Colorado Review, as a project manager for a publisher of resources for educators, and as an editor in the magazine industry. She loves teaching classes of interest to writers—everything from writing craft and information design to query-letter boot camps and royalties-auditing workshops. She and her husband live in Denver with their two former shelter cats.
Angie is currently reviewing queries and accepting manuscripts on behalf of Kristin Nelson
Thomas Dunne Books
Jennifer Letwack is an assistant editor at Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s press. She is interested in creative and detailed world building, complex, diverse characters, and strong female heroines. On the non-fiction side, she is interested in histories focused on dynamic personalities in American history, as well as her two non-literary loves, feminism and video games.
Jennifer is looking to acquire: Fantasy (dark, high/epic, historical fantasy); Historical; Science Fiction (all types); YA and New Adult (fantasy, science fiction); Adult Nonfiction (biography–focus on women, cooking–baking specifically, historical narrative).
KT Literary Agency
Several years in the editorial department at Random House’s Colorado division provided Renee with the opportunity to work with bestselling and debut authors alike. She moved to KT Literary in early 2013 to cultivate her passion for YA literature. Drawing on her editorial experience, she loves digging into client manuscripts and helping authors shape the best story possible. She makes her home in Phoenix, AZ with her husband and two small children. You can follow her on twitter @Renee_Nyen.
Steve Saffel is a Senior Acquisitions Editor at Titan Books, the world’s premiere popular culture publisher, acquiring original science fiction, fantasy (epic, heroic, and dark), horror, crime fiction, art books, and media tie-ins such as Alien, Planet of the Apes (new and classic), Batman: Arkham Knight, Mass Effect, and more. Some of his recent and upcoming projects include the military science fiction series Virtues of War by Bennett Coles, the dark urban fantasy Conspiracy of Angels by Michelle Belanger, the heroic fantasy Robin Hood: Mark of the Black Arrow by Debbie Vigue and James Tuck, a Cthulhu vs. Sherlock Holmes trilogy by Lois Gresh, the Alien: Rage War SF epic that crosses between Predator, Alien, and Alien vs. Predator, the mystery novel Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse, new fiction for Dishonored by Adam Christopher and Batman: Arkham Knight by Alex Irvine and Marv Wolfman, and The Art of Robert E. McGinnis by Robert E. McGinnis and Art Scott.
Alec majored in English at Brown University, a degree he put to immediate use by moving to Los Angeles after graduation to become a professional stunt man. Realizing that he prefers books to breakaway glass, he moved to New York City in 2008 to pursue a career in publishing. Alec quickly found a home at Writers House Literary Agency, where he worked under Jodi Reamer and Amy Berkower on a large number of YA and Adult titles. Twitter handle: @alecdshane.
On the nonfiction side, Alec would love to see humor, biography, history (particularly military history), true crime, “guy” reads, and all things sports. “What I’m looking for in fiction: mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, historical fiction, literary fiction, and books geared toward young male readers (both YA and MG). What I’m not looking for: Romance (paranormal or otherwise), straight sci-fi, high fantasy, picture books, self-help, women’s fiction, food, travel memoir.”
The Knight Agency
Vice President of Operations/Literary Agent
Elaine Spencer entered the publishing industry after realizing she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life as an Economist. After studying Economics and Comparative Literature at The University of Georgia, she joined the TKA team in 2005 and assumed a variety of roles including submissions coordinator and sub rights manager before settling in her current position as VP of Operations and Associate Agent.
Elaine keeps a focused client list as it is most important to her to be able to work closely with her clients through each step of the publishing process, from a manuscript’s inception all the way through publication, promotion and beyond. She enjoys seeing her clients grow as authors, and one of her favorite parts of the job is working side by side with her clients to educate them not only about the process but also the business at large. Elaine is a member of RWA and AAR and is interested in a wide-variety of subgenres including but not limited to romance, women’s fiction, young adult and middle grade material. She loves stories that include dogs, cooking, fashion, secret societies or clubs, southern flair, wit and humor, heart-tugging conclusions that will bring her to tears and smart sassy characters that stay with you long after the final pages. In addition to channeling her inner Martha Stewart and flexing her Pinterest-inspired muscles, Elaine spends her spare time traveling, cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her husband and four-legged child, Claude.
New Leaf Literary
Director of Literary Services & Literary Agent
Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She is actively looking to build her list. In adult, she’s specifically looking for new adult, romance (all subgenres), fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy) and crime fiction (mysteries, thrillers). In Childrens’ she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects. Suzie loves strong characters and voice driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres.
For more info on her clients and projects, please go here.
Authors & Specialists
Jerry Ackerman is a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Denver, Colorado where he supervises a National Security squad and Evidence Response Team (FBI’s crime scene investigators). As Alistair Kimble, he co-wrote Iron Angels, a police procedural with science fiction underpinnings with Eric Flint, which will be published by Baen Books. His short fiction can be found in the Fantastic Detectives anthology edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and the Grantville Gazette.
Jodi Anderson is a published author with Harlequin and Bell Bridge Books. With a background that includes magazing/newspaper writing, novels, and novellas, Jodi is currently a teacher, writes fiction, presents workshops for writers and uses any opportunity to gain control of a microphone in front of a captive audience.
Former software engineer Carol Berg’s fourteen epic fantasy novels have won multiple Colorado Book Awards, the Prism Award, the Geffen Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews call her work things like captvating, intelligent, and superbly realized. Her newest fantasy/mystery duology began with Dust and Light in August 2014 and concludes with Ash and Silver in 2015. Carol writes, camps, hikes, and bikes in Colorado.
Evangeline writes stories with hints of whimsy, glimmers of fantasy, and strokes of the supernatural. Her young adult steampunk fantasy, CURIO (Blink, 2016), sets coming of age and first love against the backdrop of steam-propelled greed and societal repression. She lives in Colorado in a house stuffed full of animals and creative people that would surely go to ruin were it not for the watchful eye of a cattle dog named Willie. You can find her on all the usual social media spots by searching her weird name or at www.evangelinedenmark.com
Warren grew up in the Hudson River Valley of New York State. Upon obtaining his teaching degree from the University at Albany, he moved to Colorado, and settled in Denver where he can often be found typing away at one of the local coffee shops.Warren Hammond is the author of the gritty, futuristic KOP trilogy (KOP, EX-KOP, and KOP KILLER, published by Tor Books) and TIDES OF MARITINIA, published by HarperCollins. A 2013 Colorado Book Award winner, he is hard at work on a new series.Warren’s latest novel, Tides of Maritinia, released in December of 2014. His first book independent of the KOP series, Tides is a spy novel set in a science fictional world. Always eager to see new places, Warren has traveled extensively. Whether it’s wildlife viewing in exotic locales like Botswana and the Galapagos Islands, or trekking in the Himalayas, he’s always up for a new adventure.
LS Hawker is the author of the thriller THE DROWNING GAME, published by HarperCollins Witness Impulse, with two more titles to be released in 2016. She has won many awards, including first place in the mystery/thriller/suspense category in the inaugural Zebulon awards, and first place in the Paul Gillette Memorial Contest. She finaled in the Colorado Gold contest, Write Stuff Contest, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, and the Delacorte First Young Adult Novel contest. Visit LSHawker.com to view THE DROWNING GAME trailer and read about her adventures as a cocktail waitress, traveling Kmart portrait photographer, and witness to basement exorcisms.
Kevin ikenberry’s head has been in the clouds since he was old enough to read. Ask him and he’ll tell you that he still wants to be an astronaut. Kevin has a diverse background in space and space science education. Kevin’s science fiction and horror short fiction has appeared internationally through Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Mindflights, Twisted Dreams Magazine and several anthologies. His debut novel, Sleeper Protocol, is slated for a January 2016 release from Red Adept Publishing.
J.A. Kazimer is a writer living in Denver, CO. Novels include CURSES! A F***ed-Up Fairy Tale, Holy Socks & Dirtier Demons, Dope Sick: A Love Story, Froggy Style, The Assassin’s Heart, and The Fairyland Murders. Kazimer spent a few years spilling drinks on people as a bartender and then wasted another few years stalking people while working as a private investigator in the Denver area. You can find her, much too often, online at jakazimer.com.
DeAnna Knippling has two minor superpowers: speed-reading and babble. She types at over 10,000 words per minute and can make things up even faster than that. She has been officially constrained from drinking Ovaltine per her doctor’s orders since a tragic incident involving a monopoly game, a blender, a cemetery, and a school play at age eight. Her first job was hunting snipe for her father at twenty-five cents per head, with which she paid her way through college; her latest job involves a non-disclosure agreement, a dozen hitmen, a ballerina, a snowblower, three very small robots, and a disposable dictator in South America. If she told you which movie was based on her life, she’d have to kill you. Her cover job is that of freelance writer, editor, and designer living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, cat, more than one cupboard full of various condiments, and many shelves full of the very best books. She has her own indie small press, www.WonderlandPress.com, and her website is www.DeAnnaKnippling.com.
Michelle Major is grateful to have found her passion writing stories with happy endings. She writes contemporary romances that are both sweet and a little sexy. She lives in Colorado with one great husband, two beautiful kids, a few furry pets and several well-behaved reptiles.
Anita Mumm is a freelance novel editor based in Denver, Colorado. Before starting Mumm’s the Word Editing & Critique Services, she worked in submissions at Nelson Literary Agency, where a few of her slush pile finds were NYT bestseller The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough (Del Rey), international bestseller The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann (Greenwillow/HarperCollins), Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Walker Books), and Broken Like This by Monica Trasandes (Thomas Dunne). She also gained international perspective as NLA’s foreign rights specialist, coordinating translation deals for the agency’s authors in the Asian territories. In addition to her editing projects, Anita frequently teaches classes and workshops about the business and craft of writing, both online and in person. For more information about Anita and her work, visit www.anitamumm.com.
|AARON MICHAEL RITCHEY
Aaron Michael Ritchey is the author of The Never Prayer, Long Live the Suicide King, and Elizabeth’s Midnight. In shorter fiction, his G.I. Joe inspired novella was an Amazon bestseller in Kindle Worlds and his steampunk story, “The Dirges of Percival Lewand” was part of The Best of Penny Dread Tales anthology published through Kevin J. Anderson’s WordFire Press. His upcoming young adult sci-fi/western epic series will also be published through WordFire Press. In 2015, his second novel won the Building the Dream award for best YA novel, and he spent the summer as the Arist in Residence for the Anythink Library. He lives in Colorado with his wife and two ancient goddesses of chaos posing as his daughters. For more about him, his books, and how to overcome artistic angst, visit www.aaronmritchey.com. He’s on Facebook as Aaron Michael Ritchey and he tweets – @aaronmritchey.
|JUDITH ROBBINS ROSE
Award-winning playwright/ novelist/journalist Judith Robbins Rose’s debut novel LOOK BOTH WAYS IN THE BARRIO BLANCO was released by Candlewick Press, Fall 2015. The work was selected by the American Booksellers Association for its NEW VOICES program, and received the 2015 INK Award for best YA/Children’s novel. Judy was named the 2015 INK Writer of the Year. Her experiences include writing for TV, radio and print, acting, directing and standup comedy. She is an expert in the field of relationship-based marketing, and received the Governor’s STAR AWARD for diversity programming. She’s a volunteer fund-raiser, mentor and tutor for at-risk youth.
During her twelve years on a busy mountain Search and Rescue team in Southern California, M.L. Rowland participated in over 500 search and rescue missions and trainings, including technical ropes rescues and recoveries, helicopter insertions and evacuations, and searches for lost children, hikers, snowboarders, mountain bikers and criminal evidence, in alpine, desert and urban environments. Trained in land navigation, technical ropes rescue, desert and winter survival and travel, including avalanche awareness and self-arrest, she also holds a certification in tracking from the State of California. Many of the location descriptions and incidents and the technical SAR information contained in her Gracie Kinkaid Search and Rescue Adventure Mystery novels are drawn from her own experiences and training. The first three books in her Search and Rescue Mystery Series are ZERO-DEGREE MURDER, MURDER OFF THE BEATEN PATH, and MURDER ON THE HORIZON. For more information, please visit her website at www.mlrowland.com.
|AIMIE K. RUNYAN
Aimie K. Runyan is an author of Historical fiction whose purpose is to celebrate history’s unsung heroines. Her debut novel, PROMISED TO THE CROWN, the story of three women sent by Louis XIV to help colonize his Quebec colony, releases in April, 2016 from Kensington Books. She has also published a short work of science fiction in the BRAVE NEW GIRLS anthology (all proceeds go to the Women in Engineering Scholarship Fund). She lives outside Denver with her loving husband, adorable children, and cowardly sheepdog.
Angel Smits is the author of seven romance novels, the most recent five for Harlequin Super Romance. Her stories of Heart and Home have won such awards as the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart and PPWC’s Paul Gillette. Her non-fiction work has appeared in numerous publications such as WILD WEST and FRAGMENTS. Angel lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter in a big yellow house with a wrap around porch complete with its own lovely swing.
Andra Watkins is author of three books. Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace, her memoir chronicling her walk and dysfunctional family adventure, was nominated for the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction. She is one of the only living persons to walk the 10,000-year-old road. Her acclaimed debut novel To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis was published by Word Hermit Press in 2014 and planted her desire to walk the ancient Trace. Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time is a book of photography, shot during her 15-mile daily hikes on the Natchez Trace. In addition to her books, Andra’s writing has been published on recognized sites including Scary Mommy and Minerva Rising, and she has been featured on news outlets including The Huffington Post, The Tennessean, and ABC News. Follow her writing adventures at andrawatkins.com.
JOHNNY WORTHEN is an award-winning, best-selling author, voyager, and damn fine human being! He is the tie-dye wearing writer of the nationally acclaimed, #1 Kindle best-selling ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN. Among his other excellent and very read-worthy titles are the adult occult thriller BEATRYSEL, the award-winning mystery THE BRAND DEMAND, and the genre bending comedy-noire THE FINGER TRAP. And of course the continuation of THE UNSEEN Trilogy, with CELESTE and DAVID. Trained in stand-up comedy, modern literary criticism and cultural studies, Johnny is a frequent public speaker, teacher and blogger. “I write what I like to read,” he says. “That guarantees me at least one fan.”
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