Author Archive

Sweet Success for J.D.R. Hawkins

By: Darby Karchut

Congratulations to J.D.R. Hawkins! She recently participated in the anthology, SUCCESS MINDSETS, from Leaders Press and edited by Alinka Rutlowska. The book has reached the bestseller list on USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.


What’s the number one driver of a success mindset? Find out now in the latest mind-boggling anthology from Leaders Press! You will come to understand this by reading the brilliant contributors of SUCCESS MINDSETS. This anthology gathers advice from several dozen exceptional leaders, ranging from CEOs to champions to game-changers. SUCCESS MINDSETS reveals that many roads lead to success and you must choose the one that suits your concept best.

Each chapter in SUCCESS MINDSETS will reveal methods for developing the right approach for navigating your journey to success. Dive in now to:

  • Understand the mindset of being adaptable in your pursuit of success.
  • Adopt a growth mindset, to value long-term growth over short-term revenue.
  • Utilize your driven mindset to keep advancing your career even as the world turns completely upside down.

Copies are available through Amazon (ebook), Amazon (print), and Barnes & Noble.


J.D.R. Hawkins is an Amazon, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling, award-winning author. She is one of only a few female Civil War authors, uniquely describing the front lines from a Confederate perspective. Her Renegade Series has received several awards and five-star reviews. Her other books include the non-fiction HORSES IN GRAY: FAMOUS CONFEDERATE WARHORSES. Ms. Hawkins is a member of the UDC, the International Women’s Writing Guild, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and Pikes Peak Writers. Visit her at and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her author page on Amazon.      

Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. Click here to submit your Sweet Success Story.

Hello Fellow Writers!

Hello Fellow Writers!

I’m Jenny Kate, this year’s PPW Conference Director, and have I got a conference update for you! 

Our planning team is busy, busy, busy. 

We are in person, April 29 – May 1, and we are providing a virtual option.


With more than 90 workshops planned and ready to go, we have something for everyone no matter where you are in your writing career.  You can check those out here. 

We have three wonderful keynote speakers:

  • Romance Author Naima Simone 
  • Thriller/Noir Mystery Author and PPWC Alum Robert Crais
  • Publishing Expert Jane Friedman

And two amazing Featured Authors:

  • Author of the ‘Dear Writer’ Series Becca Syme
  • TV Writer turned Romance Novelist, Dr. Ines Johnson 

New Venue

We are super excited to be in a brand-new venue for this year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference. 

The staff at Colorado Springs Doubletree Hilton Hotel has been a great partner.

We spent an entire morning food tasting with Chef Steve so you’ll have the best meals ever. We can’t wait for you to try the beer-cheese soup and the braised short ribs!

The rooms are larger. The area for BarCon is amazing. 

We think you’re going to love this new conference center.

Registration is open

We have a lot of options available this year.  

1.  If you’re just up for one day: our one-day PreGame programming on Thursday has master’s classes for all levels. 

2.  If you’re up for the whole conference, our 2.5 days of programming is a wealth of information on craft, business, marketing, the writing life and more. 

    • These 2.5 days also offers the opportunity to pitch your work to an agent or editor. 
    • Or you can have your work read aloud in one of our Read and Critique Sessions.

3.  Write Drunk, Edit Sober is back for another year with our President Deb Courtney!

4.  Call all Students! This year, we are also offering a student discount for high school and college students. $40 off regular Friday-Sunday registration, or $51 off Thursday’s PreGame programming. As always, if the student is under 18, they’ll need a permission slip from a parent. And all students using the discount will be required to upload proof of student status. 

5.  Finally, our virtual option. 

    • We have 24 workshops and our keynotes available for live streaming
    • That option also allows access for up to 45 days after conference
    • In-person attendees have the option of adding on the virtual option as well

We know COVID is on your mind, so here’s what we’re doing:

  • To pick up your registration materials, you’ll need to provide a vaccine card OR a negative test within 48 hours. 
  • We’re spacing seating in all workshops and at all meals
  • In your grab bag, you’ll find a mask and hand sanitizer
  • We are encouraging attendees to wear masks

We are very aware that some people will be happy with these measures and some people won’t. All COVID mitigation could change as we get closer and things develop over time. 

The bottom line for us is we haven’t been in person in two years, and we would like to be. 

We are doing everything we can to make sure this is a safe event. So please give a little grace as we are not health care professionals. We are writers. We will follow what the CDC and the Health Department for the State of Colorado advises us to do. 

Because we miss our writer buddies and want to see as many of you as possible at conference. 


If you haven’t registered yet, you can click here and register.

If you’d like to volunteer, you can email our volunteer coordinator Jessica Starkey at

If you have any questions about conference, check out our website here or feel free to email me anytime at 


We can’t wait to see you in April!

2022 Conference Update

Hi PPWC Enthusiasts!

Hold on to your hats, I’ve got a lot of exclamation points coming your way!

We are well into planning for 2022 and super excited to be back in person!

We can’t wait to introduce you to our new venue – the Colorado Springs Doubletree Hilton Hotel!

We’re thrilled to offer some incredible keynote speakers for you!

  • Robert Crais writes thrillers and noir mystery and is a PPWC alum.
  • Naima Simone writes sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark.
  • Jane Friedman is a stalwart in the publishing industry and we were her first in-person invitation for the 2021-2022 conference season!

Registration will open November 1, so SAVE-THE-DATE!

Are you attending? Save the date!

Do you want to buy a registration for your best writer’s Christmas present? Save the date!

Early bird registration is always cheaper, so save that date.

We are accepting workshop proposals until October 1, 2021.

Do you teach?

We’re looking for all manner of workshops: plotting, publishing, marketing, editing, advertising, character development, world building, you name it.

So if you’ve got one, we want to hear about it!

Click here and tell us everything.

If you want to volunteer, we need you!

Conference never happens without a slew of volunteers and there are many positions to fill.
Click here to see some of the volunteer positions.

Email the Volunteer Coordinator here.


It’s possible COVID will still be a factor in April.

Don’t worry, we’re planning to be safe than sorry.

We are committed to your safety during conference.

So, in your grab bag will be hand sanitizer and a mask.

We’ll also have distanced seating during workshops and meals.

And, here’s something we’re really proud of.

We’re planning to offer virtual options!

Keep an eye on this page for more information as we develop this concept.

All in all, we are really, really excited about conference in April!

Our theme is “Get in the Game! Let’s get your writing career over the finish line!”

Mark your calendars: April 29-May 1, 2022.

More updates coming when we have them!

Feel free to email me with any questions, Jenny Kate, PPWC Director

2022 Conference FAQ

1- Will there be a virtual option for PPWC? 

We are offering 24 workshops plus keynote speeches as our virtual option. This option can be purchased as a stand alone option or as an in-person attendee add-on. Both options will have access to the content for 45 days following the end of conference. We reserve the right to cancel this option if interest doesn’t warrant.

2- When will registration begin? 

Registration for in-person and virtual conference begins November 1.

3- Will the virtual conference be the same as the in-person conference? 

We are working hard to provide a stellar virtual option and the details for our virtual offerings will be available soon.

4- What is the refund policy if COVID cancels the in-person conference? 

In the unfortunate and unexpected event COVID cancels our in-person conference due to federal, state, or local pandemic/health regulations, we will offer refunds and/or rollover to the next year. PPWC retains the right to offer an all-virtual conference. If we do decide we can transition to an all-virtual conference, we will make appropriate refunds of the difference in cost between virtual and in-person.

5- What COVID mitigation factors will you have? 

We are committed to a safe environment for all our attendees. We require our attendees to either be fully vaccinated and present a vaccine card, OR provide a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours of picking up registration materials. Our other mitigation factors include distanced seating in workshops and meals, and masks and hand sanitizer in swag bags.

Ghosts of Downtown Story Submission!!!

  1. Stories must be no more than one page (11-point font) in length.
  2. When possible, stories should be linked to a specific historical figure or landmark in the Downtown district (roughly, the area between Acacia Park and the Pioneers Museum, bounded by Shooks Run to the east and Monument Valley Park to the west).
  3. Stories must be told in the voice of a tour guide relaying a historical tale to a crowd of would-be ghost hunters, but can cover any period of Colorado Springs history.
  4. Stories can be gruesome and scary or ironic and funny, but please avoid references to sexual violence, animal abuse and violence against children.
  5. Deadline for story submissions is Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Submit to
  6. All writers submitting stories for this project will be thanked with two (2) complimentary ghost tour tickets (a $20 value).
  7. Stories selected for inclusion in the tour will be compensated an additional $30 by way of honorarium – we know this is small, but we’d like to share a portion of our tour revenue with the writers.


If you’ve got a workshop on craft, publishing, marketing –   Submit it now! The proposal portal is open now to October 1, 2021.  Workshops will be selected in October 2021.

Go to to enter your workshop ideas.  We prefer a minimum of three workshops per person.

If you have questions, contact Karen Fox at

2022 Conference

Dates: April 29-May 1, 2022 with an add-on date of April 28
Keynotes: Jane Friedman, Robert Crais, Barbara O’Neal (Samuel)
Location: Colorado Springs DoubleTree
Registration: Begins in the fall!
Sign up for the Pikes Peak Writers newsletter for updates.

2021 Conference!

Esteemed past, present, and potential 2021 PPW Conference Attendees –

As you know, we regretfully had to cancel our 2020 in-person conference due to COVID concerns. Unfortunately, as we approach the end of 2020 there are still safety concerns over large public gatherings. While our 2021 conference is ~5 months away–scheduled for late April 2021–it takes our PPWC volunteers ~12 months to put a conference together. With that thought in mind, and with the uncertainty of what spring 2021 holds for all of us, Pikes Peak Writers has decided to host a virtual conference in 2021 with the hope and plan to come back as a hybrid conference in 2022.

More to come about registration, which will open 15 January 2021. Click here for more information.

All 2020 conference registrants who rolled over their conference registration should have been contacted about available options and refunds. If you missed this email, please contact and Karen will take care of you.

We appreciate your patience as we figure out how we can best serve our community while keeping our health and safety in mind, and hope you will join us on this exciting new virtual adventure.

Click here for conference updates as they become available.

Kameron Claire
2021 PPWC Director

Query Letter Boot Camp

Presenter: Angie Hodapp 

This is highlights-only version of the four-week query boot camp I teach at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. We’ll typically move from the general (what is a query letter, how does it fit into the publishing process, how do you know when you’re ready to query, and what can you expect after you do?), to the more specific (the four parts of a query letter, how to execute each part well and avoid common pitfalls that make agents cringe), to the very specific (how to approach crafting a solid query pitch—the most important part of any query letter).

Colorado Writers Collaborative Offers a Free Conference-lite

In a year when so many writers conferences had to be cancelled, Pikes Peak Writers joined forces with Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Northern Colorado Writers to present the Colorado Writers Collaborative. This is a free YouTube channel going live September 1st and offering over thirty videos for writers covering topics ranging from writing vivid settings to negotiating media deals. Learn from NYT bestselling authors like Rachel Howzell Hall, John Gilstrap, and Bob Mayer; local favorites like Carol Berg, Stant Latore, and Johnny Worthen; editors Tiffany Yates Martin and Anita Mumm, and many, many others. Now, you can have a conference-esque experience for free without leaving the comfort of your favorite chair. Enjoy!