Author Archive

Catherine Dilts Celebrates Sweet Success

Blood and GasolinePikes Peak Writers is pleased to announce Catherine Dilts’ short story, “Do-Over”, is included in Blood and Gasoline. The anthology of 17 stories by different authors has been described as Mad Max meets Sons of Anarchy. Catherine typically writes cozy mysteries, but took a walk on the dark side with her story “Do-Over”. This is a tale of vengeance, and a survivor’s hope that enacting justice can erase a painful past.

Catherine DiltsCatherine Dilts is the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine’s stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. She takes a turn in the multi-author sweet cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library with Ink or Swim. You can learn more about Catherine’s fiction on her website.

Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Managing Editor.
To share your Sweet Success please fill out this form.

We Want Your Workshops!

by: M.B. Partlow

Pikes Peak Writers just unveiled their brand new workshop proposal portal, and we are open for business, looking for your proposals!

What are we looking for? One-hour workshops for our annual Conference, two-hour proposals for our monthly Write Brains, and half-day workshop proposals for the occasional longer events we do.

PPWC Portal

On what topics?

Anything that will help writers improve their craft, from writing better dialogue to thickening the plot. The business of writing, including (shiver) marketing, the bane of our existance, and info from proven successes in the world of independent publishing. We also welcome genre-specific proposals, and love workshops that take the tenets of one genre to make another genre really pop. We like Reality Track/How To topics, which are real life experiences of interest to writers. (In the past, we’ve had a SWAT team, a food writer, a firefighter, a coroner, numerous law enforcement from local to national, and more.) Then there’s the Writer’s Life, which could include time management, motivation, and inspiration to keep on writing when life throws the inevitable roadblock in your way.

Here’s a tip:

It’s better to propose a few workshops for us to choose from than just one lonely proposal. It gives us a better idea of the range of your mad skills, and makes you a more attractive candidate. Want more insider tips? We’ve got a great FAQ on our website. And if you don’t want to present a workshop, but would like to request that a particular topic be covered? We’ve got you covered! Just click here.

Our new portal is based in Submittable, so you will have to make a Submittable account when you begin, It’s quick, painless and free!

We accept Write Brain proposals all year long. But if you want to be considered for the 2019 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, you must submit your workshop proposals by September 30, 2018.

Propose early and propose often!


MB Partlow is a long-time volunteer with Pikes Peak Writers, who has worked extensively on the annual conference and on the board. She writes in the spec fic world, reads voraciously across genres, and is only fully happy when she’s made someone laugh or is laughing herself.

Letter from the Editor

Kathie KJ ScrimHello Pikes Peak Writers! My name is Kathie Scrimgeour (writing under the name K.J. Scrim) and I have taken the reins of Managing Editor From the Editorfor PPW’s blog. I have been the Sweet Success coordinator since 2013 and last year started the column, Meet the Members. When Gabrielle asked if I would be interested in taking over for her, it only seemed to be a natural transition.

PPW is an organization that is here to help all of us learn the craft of writing, editing, and publishing whether it is an epic five book high fantasy or a twenty-word flash fiction. Our blog is a wonderful resource to learn not only tips and tricks to be a better writer, but also a place for moral support and sometimes a few laughs.

As Managing Editor, I will strive for professional, fun, and informative content, and, in the same breath, ask for your help to reach these goals. We are accepting submissions from all members on all aspects of writing. Did you have an “ah-ha” moment at a Write Brain? We would love to hear about it. Have you struggled through writer’s block? How did you get through it? Have you ever had a book optioned for film? Been through a publishing nightmare? Experienced the difference between traditional and self-publishing? Do you know Scrivener, WordPress, or Blogger? What about PPW’s conference? What experiences have you had? These are just a few questions that you could share your experiences through. I am also open to all suggestions. Please contact me at

We are going to have a great time together here on Writing from the Peak. This month look for Barb Nickless’ post Devil in the Details, along with Jennifer Lovette’s piece on Facebook algorithms and Jasons Evans’ next installment about villains in historical fiction, plus more!
Bookmark this page so you can visit often.


By: F.P. Dorchak

How do you “get” it?
Do you need to attain it?
Why keep writing?

I don’t know that it’s something to so much as shoot for…as it’s more something you just…fall into. I’m not quite sixty, and have been writing for some fifty-one years. I’ve written ten full manuscripts (at about two-to-three years per manuscript), but have only released five novels and one anthology. I’ve lost track of how many short stories I’ve written. The better of them are in my anthology, Do the Dead Dream? An Anthology of the Weird and the Peculiar, which won the 2017 Best Book Award for Fiction: Short Stories. The anthology came out October 1, 2017, but only sixteen of those have been individually published. And though I’ve been writing fifty-one years, you’ve never heard of me. Or my work. Or my newest abovementioned effort.

Yet still I write.

I think we can get too caught up in the accolades and tropes of society. Like “longevity.” What should be the ameliorated focus is appreciating the voyage…not being praised for, nor identified as having attained, some loftily defined or heralded conclusion. Though it is nice.

Let’s talk more about the voyage.
Enjoy each moment.
Enjoy the beauty of writing and the imagination.
Enjoy creating mental images from your generated words. From stringing together characters into words into phrases into sentences into paragraphs, pages, and books.

How you’ve created a notional construct…translated it through your physical form…your arms, your hands, your fingers…through use of a material instrument—a pencil, pen, a keyboard—into physical reality for others to read. Interpret. Create their own notional constructs. How you are also influencing the emotions and thoughts and perceptions of other people.

Fear. Anger. Love. Enthusiasm. Astonishment!
Marvel at the volume and diversity of what you’re conceiving!
All of the different stories that are being created from some weird place that you simply cannot touch. Yet directs your focus. Your beliefs. Your…living.
That is both there and not there.
The origin and generation of which scientists and philosophers cannot even begin to agree upon.
And from that medium…you’ve created tales.
They just keep coming and you keep writing.
You start submitting to publications. Some get in…most do not. You’re disappointed.

But you keep writing.

You feel like a sweating, barely containable firehose in full-on operation! You can’t get your stories out fast enough! As Time marches on you find that you’re getting better…more efficient at linking words into organized arrangements…and doing it quicker. In fact…you’re using fewer words to get the job done. You’re discovering less vulgar…more refined…ways at hammering home your concepts…and they’re hitting harder than ever. Where it used to take you a paragraph…you’re now employing sentences…sometimes only two or three…and at times…as many words.

You find—much to your utter amusement—that as you submit your romances, your mysteries, your horrors, you have created…a body of work.

You’ve become more confident about your words and your ability to wield them. You’re less bothered by rejection, or what others think…and move on to the next one…the next publication. You write just to write. It’s what you do. Who you are. You know that rejections are not about you—they’re about them. That your work isn’t right for them…philosophically or practically. You know you’ll eventually find your audience…large or small. It is your audience.

Besides…you’ve got work to do.

You keep writing.
That dulls…erases…the disease of rejection.
You feel good again!
Just keep issuing forth.
You translate them!

String words together in ways that astound you, and you wonder how that happens. From where do your ideas and methods originate?
Some will get what you’ve done…some will not. It doesn’t matter. You have stories for everyone.

And you keep writing.

Then…somewhere down the line…before you know it…you’re looking down upon your body.
Freed…like never before.
Your corporeal existence laid out before you like a crystal-clear and multi-dimensional Venn diagram.
A life well-lived!
Or not.
But it was your life.
And you have even more ideas.
So you…reach out…in ways…unimaginable…until now—
And, yes, you’re just itchin’ to tell these tales….

@ F.P. Dorchak

F.P. DorchakF. P. (Frank) Dorchak writes gritty, realistic speculative fiction. Frank is published in the U.S., Canada, and the Czech Republic with short stories, non-fiction articles, and his five novels, Sleepwalkers, The Uninvited, ERO, Psychic, and Voice. His first anthology, Do The Dead Dream? won the 2017 Best Book Award for Fiction: Short Stories.

Check out F.P.’s website or click here to read a few of his short stories.

F.P. Dorchak Releases Psychic as an E-book

PPW is happy to announce that F.P Dorchak’s action/adventure conspiracy thriller, Psychic, has come out in E-book!

Life…we are told…progresses chronologically. Between birth and death we take certain roads…bypass others. There is only one life, one reality.

But what if we have it all wrong?

Enter the world of psychic espionage…where people disappear…lives are destroyed…and facts are manipulated. Where one man stops at nothing to get what he wants, yet doesn’t know what he really has…and one woman’s belief in herself is severely tested….

Where all is never as it seems.

F. P. Dorchak writes gritty speculative fiction. Frank is published in the U.S., Canada, and the Czech Republic. His novels are Voice, Psychic, ERO, The Uninvited, and Sleepwalkers, and his first anthology, Do The Dead Dream? won the 2017 Best Books Award for Fiction: Short Stories. His short stories have appeared in the off-the-grid The Black Sheep; You Belong 2016, Words and Images from Longmont Area Residents regional anthology for 2016; The You Belong Collection, Writings and Illustrations by Longmont Area Residents regional anthology for 2012; Apollo’s Lyre.

Frank can occasionally be reached in séances, and his website. Email works great too: fpdorchak@fpdorchak

Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.


Terry Odell’s Newest Edition, Falcon’s Prey

Falcon’s Prey, is Terry Odell’s newest book in the Buckthorne, Inc series. Congratulations!!

Her Life is in danger … but so is her heart.
Police officer Lexi Becker is being targeted. Afraid her local police department has been infiltrated, she turns to the only man she can trust for help: Marv “Fish” Frisch, her former patrol partner. Danger is everywhere. Someone’s bugged her house. An illegal opioid network is thriving. People are dying. And an even more sinister plan is being put into action. Torn between hiding or coming to the aid of an orphaned child, Lexi leaves Fish’s protection. Will she survive long enough to tell Fish how she feels?


From childhood, Terry Odell wanted to “fix” stories so the characters would behave properly. She found this wasn’t always possible, as evidenced when the mystery she intended to write turned into a romance, despite the fact that she’d never read one. Odell thinks of her books as “Mysteries With Relationships.” Her series include Blackthorne, Inc., Pine Hills Police, Triple-D Ranch, and Mapleton Mysteries. Her short story collection, “Seeing Red” is a Silver Falchion winner. You can find her high (that’s altitude—she lives at 9100 feet!) in the Colorado Rockies—or at her website. Also visit her Amazon author page for more books.


Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success.


Chris Mandevelle Releases Quake

Another Sweet Success for Chris Mandeville! The first novel in her, In Real Time series, Quake was released May 29, 2018.

QuakeTime traveling thieves. A stolen kiss. A wormhole to the heist of the century.
Fifteen-year-old Allie Bennett’s a con artist, a pickpocket, and on her last chance at an end-of-the-line foster home. She learns her mom—who disappeared when she was ten—isn’t a crazy but is actually a time traveler, and Allie’s one, too. She joins a crew of time traveling thieves and goes back to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to pull the heist of the century and find her mom. But time travelers are hunted, her crew might be killers, everyone has a secret agenda, and she must pull off the con of her life to make it out alive.


Chris MandevilleCHRIS MANDEVILLE writes science fiction/fantasy and nonfiction for writers. She served as president of Pikes Peak Writers for five years, and is now the Conference Director for Superstars Writing Seminars. Her books include Seeds: a post-apocalyptic adventure and 52 Ways to Get Unstuck: Exercises to Break Through Writer’s Block.

Find her young adult time travel novel, Quake, on Amazon and her website.

Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.

Sweet Success Comes in Triplicate!

Congratulations to Todd Fahnestock on the recent publication of Wildmane, Book 1 of the Threadweavers series which came out on May 15, 2018. The triple success is the entire trilogy will follow soon. The GodSpill will release on Tuesday, June 19 (today!), and Book 3, Threads of Amarion, will be released on Tuesday, July 17. Todd is on a roll with one book a month.

A brooding demigod. A young magician. A race to restore magic to the lands.

Long bereft of magic, the human lands are dying, and humans are devolving. Their legendary protector, the demigod Wildmane, has given up on them.

When a monster sent for young Mirolah slays her adopted sister instead, Mirolah is pulled into a quest to bring Wildmane out of his self-imposed exile and restore magic to the lands. Undead threadweavers rise to stop her and cage Wildmane. To beat them, she must learn more about herself and threadweaving than she thought possible. And she must do it quickly…


TODD FAHNESTOCK is a writer of fantasy for all ages. His bestselling The Wishing World series began as bedtime stories for his children. His latest epic fantasy series, Threadweavers, which includes Wildmane, The GodSpill and Threads of Amarion. Stories are his passion, but Todd’s greatest accomplishment is his quirky, fun-loving family. When he’s not writing, he goes on morning runs with his daughter and practices Tae Kwon Do with his son. With the rest of his free time, he drives the love of his life crazy with the emotional rollercoaster that is being a full-time author.

These epic fantasies are available on Amazon and at the Tattered Cover. Published by Parker Haden Media, they are suitable for ages 13+ (ISBN: 978-1-941528-62-4, 506 pages, softcover).
You can contact Todd at: or visit his website

Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.

Sweet Success for Avery Daniels

Congratulations to Avery Daniels. Her Resort to Murder mystery series continues with the second book, Nailed, an adult cozy mystery.

Julienne LaMere is snow bound in the middle of the Rocky Mountains with a killer striking at will. Julienne gets to attend a Resort Management conference at a prestigious ski resort in the Colorado Mountains. What should be an enjoyable getaway attending workshops by day and shopping and enjoying the resort by night comes to a screeching halt when a loud-mouthed guest is murdered plus the roads and town shut down for an epic blizzard. “Essence of a page turner.” King’s River Life Magazine.


AVERY DANIELS was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. Avery volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. Her love for reading was inherited from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

You can reach Avery by email: or visit her website.
Buy print and ebook: Amazon, B&N, IndieBound.
Ebook: Kobo, iBook, and more.
Audio book will be out soon.

Sweet Success by: KJ Scrim, Contributing Editor.
Share your Sweet Success! Fill out this form to share your success with the world.


Meet the Members – Stacy S. Jensen

Writing from the Peak is pleased to introduce you to PPW member Stacy S. Jensen. Many of you have met her at PPW Conferences coordinating the silent auction, fundraising, and now at the query desk. She loves to volunteer because it’s such a great way to meet people.


KJ Scrim – How long have you been writing and what genre do you prefer to write?
Stacy Jensen – I wrote my first book, All About Me, (a memoir) in the second grade. I write children’s picture books. It’s more difficult than it looks. I’ve also written a more recent memoir. I love both picture book and personal essay format.

KJ – Do you have anything in particular you are working on right now?
Stacy – I’m working on several picture books simultaneously. Right now, I’m working on back matter for a picture book. The manuscript text is around 230 words. The back matter is double this. It’s a concept book on our land and how it changed over millions of years.

KJ – You have a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog’s Life. What other publications do you have under your writer’s belt?
Stacy – I continue to submit my manuscripts to agents. I created and published a series of journals which are available on Amazon.

KJ – With every published work there are rejections. How do you get past the “No’s”? 
Stacy – I’ve been told NO plenty of times. I know you can’t hear YES, if you don’t try. In both 2017 and 2018, my main writing goal is to submit more of my work.

KJ – Writing conferences, workshops, and critique groups are an important part of the new writer’s experiences (and more experienced writers too!). How have they helped you?
Stacy – Conferences are a great way to refresh both your skills and your spirit. It’s helpful and fun to be immersed with other writers. I’m blessed to have a large support network of writers, but it’s still great to be surrounded by your writer tribe — discussing your work and your craft.

KJ – Do you have any “self-help for writers” books that you use regularly? How do they help?
Stacy – I’ve found a support network with online and in-person writer friends. I’m working my way through Story Genius by Lisa Cron. I’ve enjoyed several online classes on writing and revision. Reading is a great way to study craft and trends. For my picture book study, I read 20 plus new titles a week.

KJ – What expertise in your background do you draw on in your writing?
Stacy – I was a journalist. I love learning about how people live and what they think and why. I sometimes search public posts on Facebook to “watch” how people interact with one another. It’s fascinating and frightening to watch this. It’s good way to research the way people talk and specific topics for a story.

Stacy S. JensenIf you would like to learn more about Stacy, and her books, please visit her website.
She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter




Meet the Member by: KJ Scrim

Contact her at:

KJ Scrim is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder . She has several non-fiction stories published along with a short story that received an Honorable Mention in the NYC Short Story Contest. Her debut fantasy novel (not yet published) is titled The Manx. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her out walking or rock climbing at the local gym.