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From the President

Pikes Peak Writers
Photo © Mike Anderson

 

By: Kim Olgren, PPW President

Is it a sunset, or a sunrise? For some, it’s both as they move out of one chapter and into another. One thing is for sure. It’s sure a beautiful image for the header of our soon-to-be-unveiled shiny new website. One of the many things your new board of directors and a host of other volunteers are diligently working to bring fresh and useful content to our members. As your new board president, I’m thrilled to be a part of the exciting changes happening with Pikes Peak Writers that will help us better serve our membership in so many ways.

Who am I?

Kim Olgren, PPW President

I’m Kim Olgren. Some of you may have seen me around hosting non-conference events. These are the events we put on nearly every week and special events we put on once a quarter and the occasional pop-up event. We may have met at one of our previous conferences. If not, I’ll be at the 2023 conference. Be sure to say “hi.”

What qualifies me to be president of your PPW board? My background includes having worked several non-profits, including The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Goodwill, and The Retired Enlisted Association, Chapter 1. Where I worked closely with their boards and/or leadership. I’ve worked in HR for a few companies in the Pikes Peak area as well. Giving me the necessary soft/people skills to thoughtfully match people to the positions best suited for and in which they can flourish. I’m a maker, creator, author, and likely your best cheerleader. For me, creativity is life. Math and data entry are necessary evils to be executed as cleanly and quickly as possible (I said what I said). I’ve run non-conference events for PPW for the last couple of years, including budgetary responsibilities. I’ve been the editor of our newsletter, I’m a contributing writer for the PPW blog, handled PPW’s social media, and done some administrative work as well. But mostly, I’m passionate about PPW’s mission:

Pikes Peak Writers (a 501(c)(3) organization) is committed to helping writers grow and thrive through education, outreach, and community.”

Pikes Peak Writers

We are an all-volunteer organization run by an all-volunteer board of directors. We run 100% on coffee and tea laden, wild-eyed (possibly somewhat feral) volunteers who are determined to fulfill our mission. Each one is precious to us, as are each of our members. Those in leadership positions with PPW have a special obsession for helping others. You’ll be meeting the rest of the board in future social media posts. Please be patient with us as we transition into new leadership positions and take on new tasks. We encourage every board member to take on some kind of responsibility within the organization besides their duties as a board member. I still wear several other hats for PPW. Our vice president is also the newsletter editor, one of our members at large is transitioning into the role of non-conference events director, another is taking over social media, and the board helps with conference in many hands-on, behind-the-scenes ways, just to name a few.

What are our future goals? Great question! Our biggest priority is to give you, our members, what we promise in our mission statement. The pandemic has been tough on all of us in some way. Many of us who rarely had too many issues writing found ourselves with too much time on our hands and too isolated to write. Others found they couldn’t find the time to write as spouses were suddenly home 24/7 and kids were attending school online from home. Some of us flourished during the pandemic and are having trouble adjusting to post-pandemic routines. If your train has jumped the track, we want to help you get back online. Attending some of our events and connecting with fellow writers again could be just what you need to find that spark again or you may find the desire to continue. My door is always open. You can shoot me an email at president@pikespeakwriters.com anytime. I will do my best to answer emails within 48 hours.

Who are We?

My job, along with the rest of the board, is to be responsible leaders, decision-makers, and stewards of Pikes Peak Writers assets in order to best fulfill our mission; whether that’s during our annual conference, non-conference events we hold throughout the year, our info-packed website and blog, or our anthology. We’re always working hard to inspire and help Pikes Peak area writers grow and thrive. Look for exciting new events and workshops happening every month culminating in one of the best writers’ conferences in the land, Pikes Peak Writers Conference, happening April 28-30, 2023. Volunteers are always welcome to help us serve our writing community. Email volunteer@pikespeakwriters.com to find out more.

The all volunteer board of directors are:

Kim Olgren President
Deb Courtney, Immediate Past President
AJ Metzgar, Vice President
Charise Simpson, Returning Treasurer
Kathie Scrimgeour, Secretary
Laura Hayden, Returning Member at Large
Dustin Hodge, Member at Large
Sharon Manislovich, Member at Large
Leilah Wright, Member at Large

PPWC2023 Submission Portal

The 2023 conference workshop submission portal is open until October first, and there’s never been a better time to share your knowledge. Conference registration will open in November. Be sure to register early and reserve your room. They go fast! Our lineup of workshops is shaping up to be stellar and with keynote speakers like Robert Crais, author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels, Barbara O’Neal (who’s won more awards than you can shake a stick at), and Dave Chesson, creator of Kindlepreneur.com this conference promises to be one of our best. You do not want to miss this. Some attendees say one of the best things about conference happens in between and around the fabulous workshops when you might have the opportunity to rub elbows with your favorite author, meet a new favorite, or maybe even chat with an agent or editor. We are, after all, the friendliest conference in the U.S.

I look forward to seeing you soon. Until then, write on!

Kim Olgren

President, Pikes Peak Writers

We Are Looking for YOU!

Are you that person who loves to socialize and be a part of something great? Have you ever asked what more you could do to keep that writing spark alive? The solution is simpler than you might think.

Pikes Peak Writers is an organization built and run solely by people who dedicate just a little bit of their time. You can be one of those people. PPW’s BoD has a few positions open that just might be the perfect fit for you. These positions vary on how much, or little, time it takes to fulfill the obligation.

We Need YOU!!

On September 15th the board of directors will meet to elect several positions. If you are one of the special people who want to take your career to the next level, we are looking for you. The open positions are: Member at Large, Secretary, Vice President, and President.

Read on for a punch list of what each job entails. This is not a full listing of responsibilities, but the most important.

  • THE PRESIDENT is the public face of the organization when possible at events and conferences, answering any phone messages, and negotiating contracts. The president organizes the quarterly board meeting, along with the agenda (the Vice President often assists), while facilitating communication among board members when a topic must be discussed (and potentially voted on) via email between board meetings. With the Secretary, they organize the election slate.
  • THE VICE PRESIDENT shall assist the President in the performance of his/her duties, fulfill any other duties assigned by the President, and assume the duties of the President if needed.
  • THE SECRETARY attends the board meetings, takes notes, compiles and cleans up the notes after the meeting, and gets them out to the rest of the board. Needs to track motions, seconds, votes, passage, or failure of motions, too. If bylaw changes are made, the official documents need to be updated and filed accurately on Google Drive.
    He or she also works with the president to put together the slate of nominees each year for the September elections and disseminates the slate and attendant documents to the board.
  • Members at Large (MAL) will attend the board meetings, provide input on issues discussed during board meetings, and has a voting right on issues that require a vote. A MAL must head up a committee, or serve on a committee, such as NCE, Social Media, Editor, or in any other capacity that is needed within the organization.

Pikes Peak Writers is one of the best organizations for writers and is run by writers like you. If you are interested in one of these positions, please send your interest to Kathie Scrimgeour (Member at Large) Kathie.MAL@pikespeakwriters.com. Also, visit PPW’s website for more information on the organization.

Sweet Success for Fleur Bradley

The wait is over! Fleur Bradley is proud to announce the publication of her new middle-grade mystery inspired by Alcatraz Prison, DAYBREAK ON RAVEN ISLAND (Viking/Penguin Random House). She’ll be doing a Colorado book tour as well as many virtual events. Readers who enjoyed her award-winning middle-grade mystery, MIDNIGHT AT THE BARCLAY HOTEL, will want to pick up a copy of DAYBREAK AT RAVEN ISLAND.

Fleur Bradley - Tour Schedule

Daybreak on Raven Island, by: Fleur Bradly

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Tori, Marvin, and Noah would rather be anywhere else than on the seventh-grade class field trip to Raven Island prison. Tori would rather be on the soccer field, but her bad grades have benched her until further notice; Marvin would rather be at the first day of a film festival with his best friend, Kevin; and Noah isn’t looking forward to having to make small talk with his classmates at this new school.

But when the three of them stumble upon a dead body in the woods, miss the last ferry back home, and then have to spend the night on Raven Island, they find they need each other now more than ever. They must work together to uncover a killer, outrun a motley ghost-hunting crew, and expose the age-old secrets of the island all before daybreak. Copies may be purchased from Bookshop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and booksellers world-wide.

Fleur Bradley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Middle-grade author Fleur Bradley is passionate about two things: mysteries and getting kids to read, and she regularly speaks at librarian and educator conferences on reaching reluctant readers. Originally from the Netherlands, Fleur now lives in Colorado Springs with her family, and entirely too many rescue animals. For more information on Fleur and her books, visit www.ftbradley.com, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 


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.

Sweet Success for Mike Torreano

Hats off to Mike Torreano! His fourth western mystery, WHITE SANDS GOLD, releases September 5th from The Wild Rose Press. WHITE SANDS GOLD is a twisting tale of legend, betrayal, romance, and fidelity, set in New Mexico Territory in 1890. Come meet a flawed, focused, and flinty cast of characters caught in the swirl of an enormous hidden cache of gold bars. And what about that timeless religious relic that sits nearby?

White Sands Gold, by-Mike Torreano

ABOUT THE BOOK

New Mexico Territory, 1890

In a hidden cavern, a fortune in gold bars sits alongside an ancient relic.

To find her treasure-hunting brother, Lottie Durham enlists the help of an easygoing lawman. When a mysterious woman known only as Ma asks her to join the relic’s guardians, Lottie’s world spins. Why her, and should she take on this solemn obligation?

Twill, leader of the secretive guardians, has sworn a vow to protect the centuries-old religious relic. Regrets bedevil him and his dedication to his oath is repeatedly tested. If he breaks his promise, he’ll fail Ma, the one person he’s never wanted to let down.

Will a looming raid by a band of determined killers be the end of the guardians, the gold, and the relic? Purchase a copy through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or The Wild Rose Press.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Torreano, Headshot

Mike Torreano read his first Zane Grey novel in fifth grade and was hooked on the Old West. His debut western mystery, THE RECKONING, was released in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. The sequel, THE RENEWAL, was released in 2018, and a stand-alone western, A SCORE TO SETTLE, came out in 2020. WHITE SANDS GOLD is his latest western mystery, and will release September 2022. Visit Mike at www.miketorreano.com and follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Bookbub, LinkedIn, and Goodreads.


Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, former teacher, and compulsive dawn greeter. Her many books include DEL TORO MOON (middle grade fantasy series) and ON A GOOD HORSE (middle grade contemporary). She is the recipient of the Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award, the Will Rogers Medallion Award, the IPPY Silver Award, and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Silver Award. A native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby can be found wrangling words. Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com and follow her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Goodreads.

Sweet Success for Carly Stevens

A rousing cheer for Carly Stevens on the release of her latest book, LAERTES: A HAMLET RETELLING. After more than ten years of wanting to write this book, Carly is finally releasing this dark academia retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet set in the 1920’s. Rather than following Hamlet himself, the story follows his friend (and eventual enemy) Laertes in his last year at university in Paris. It’s a story of found family, ghosts, books, and murder, filled with Shakespearean easter eggs.

Laertes Cover, by: Carly Stevens

ABOUT THE BOOK

Set in 1920s Europe, this poignant dark academia novel sheds new light on Shakespeare’s masterpiece, finally allowing Laertes to tell his side of the story.

Laertes Belleforest lives two lives: a wild, passionate one with his best friends studying Classics in Paris, and a stifling existence in the Danish court where the mercurial prince Hamlet constantly overshadows him. Now in his last year at university, Laertes must decide the kind of man he will become. But who is he, apart from the huge personalities that surround him and the secret guilt that haunts him?

When tragedy rocks Denmark, Laertes’ questions are forced into focus. Like a Greek play, his story hurtles through love and wine, ghosts and revenge, toward inevitable catastrophe. Perfect for fans of IF WE WERE VILLAINS. Purchase a copy through Books2Read, Amazon, or Barnes & Noble.

Carly Stevens - Headshot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carly Stevens lives in Colorado Springs, where she has taught high school English (and Hamlet!) for over ten years. Writing LAERTES is the fulfilment of a long-time dream. She also writes immersive YA fantasy novels set in the dark but beautiful world of the Tanyuin Academy. Visit Carly at carlystevens.com and follow her on YouTube and Instagram.


Darby Karchut

Sweet Success is coordinated by Darby Karchut who is an award-winning author, former teacher, and compulsive dawn greeter. Her many books include DEL TORO MOON (middle grade fantasy series) and ON A GOOD HORSE (middle grade contemporary). She is the recipient of the Colorado Book Award, the High Plains Book Award, the Will Rogers Medallion Award, the IPPY Silver Award, and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Silver Award. A native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby can be found wrangling words. Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com and follow her on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Goodreads.

Sweet Success for John Spencer

By: Darby Karchut

Congratulations to John Spencer on the recent release of his non-fiction book, CONNECTED SOLDIERS: LIFE, LEADERSHIP, AND SOCIAL CONNECTIONS IN MODERN WAR (Potomac Books, July 2022). This soldier’s memoir is packed full of lessons and stories of leading and living in a world of constant virtual connections and social media.

Connected Soldiers, By: John Spencer

ABOUT THE BOOK

John Spencer was a new second lieutenant in 2003 when he parachuted into Iraq leading a platoon of infantry soldiers into battle. During that combat tour, he learned how important unit cohesion was to surviving war, both physically and mentally. He observed that this cohesion developed as the soldiers experienced the horrors of combat as a group, spending their downtime together and processing their shared experiences.

When Spencer returned to Iraq later to take command of a troubled company, he found his lessons on building unit cohesion were no longer applicable. Rather than bonding as a group, soldiers now spend their downtime separately, online communicating with family back home. Spencer began to see the internet as a threat to unit cohesion, but when he returned home and his wife was deployed, the internet connected him and his children to his wife daily. Purchase a copy via Amazon, Potomac Books, or the author’s website.

John Spencer, Headshot

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Spencer is an award-winning scholar, professor, and twenty-five-year combat veteran. Considered the world’s leading expert on many military topics, he served as an advisor to the top four-star general and other senior leaders in the U.S. Army as part of research groups from the Pentagon to the United States Military Academy. Spencer currently serves as the Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point. He served as an infantry soldier, Spencer held ranks from Private to Sergeant First Class and Lieutenant to Major. He lives in Colorado Springs. Visit the author at johnspenceronline.com and follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


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.

Sweet Success for Sandi Hoover and Jim Tritten

By: Darby Karchut

Hats off to Sandi Hoover and Jim Tritten! This dynamic team of writers won 2nd place in the National Federation of Press Women Communications (NFPW) Contest in the category of novellas. The award was for the eBook version of LOVE AND LIES: CALL ME EVE (2021 from RhetAskew Publishing). The book was republished in June 2022 by Red Penguin Books in both paperback and Kindle formats. The re-publication contains a new cover, reformatted text, and some slight modifications to the text.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Love and Lies: Call me Eve

She sipped her well-chilled, dry martini, taking extra time before answering. “What . . . how much do I tell him? Just want a distraction. Something to fill an evening.”
Eve was sipping a Fiji Moonrise, the house specialty at Fiji’s Natewa Bay Resort’s water’s edge bar, when an unfamiliar baritone asked, “May I buy you a refill? The evening is far too pleasant to spend alone.” Mark Adams proves to be an irresistible diversion during Eve’s trip home from a conference. But when playtime’s up and planes are departing, Eve doesn’t play fair.
Upon her return, Eve receives an unexpected life-changing event and regrets having lied. Mark is faced with a wounded heart and a nearly insurmountable challenge. Join an exciting adventure where true feelings are the catalyst to propel two star-crossed lovers to find each other … again. Copies may be purchased through Amazon.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Tritten/Hoover headshot

Sandi Hoover and Jim Tritten are an award-winning writing team from New Mexico. Follow Sandi on Facebook and visit her author Amazon page, and on Goodreads. Visit Jim’s author Amazon page as well as follow him on Facebook and Goodreads.

 

 


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.

Sweet Success for Jeanette Minniti

By: Darby Karchut

Congratulations to Jeanette Minniti! Her debut novel, THE ONLY WAY HOME (2021 from Penning Press) recently won the 1st Place Award in Historical Fiction from the Colorado Authors League.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The Only Way Home, By: Jeanette Minniti

Desperate times. Danger on the rails. A journey to save a family.

It is 1933 inside a sweltering courtroom in Macon, Georgia. Fifteen-year-old Robert sits on a bench awaiting sentencing after being picked up for vagrancy and spending a night in jail. He left his home in Illinois with a neighborhood friend to ride the rails and find work to help their families. The friend turned back, too afraid to face the perils ahead. But going back empty-handed isn’t an option for Robert. THE ONLY WAY HOME is the story of one boy’s determination to survive loss and hardship to help his family and how fate and a violin touch the course of his life. Purchase your copy from Amazon, Kobo, IndieBound, and through IngramSparks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jeanette Minniti

Jeanette Minniti is an author living in Colorado. She received an MA in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She and her husband enjoy all that Colorado offers, including hiking and biking. Visit Jeanette at JeanetteMinniti.com and follow her on Facebook.

 

 

 

 


Darby KarchutSweet 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.

Sweet Success for Trista Herring Baughman

Hooray – the wait is over! Trista Herring Baughman’s third book, ZOMBIESAURS, just recently released. This scary, fun picture book is hand-illustrated by Trista and her sons, Robby (11) and Johnathan (8), and contains information on the prehistoric creatures depicted in the book. If you love zombies, dinosaurs, or spooky bedtime stories, this book is for you! Pick up a copy from Amazon.

Zombiesaurs, By: Trista Herring Baughman

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In a jungle on an island that is way far out to sea…
Something’s waiting in the shadows,
Come and take a look with me.
Inside this book you’re going to find a terrifyingly spooky rhyme
It’s creepy, spine-tingling, one of a kind.
It may even keep you up past your bedtime.
Good night, sleep tight.
Don’t let the Zombiesaurs bite!

Trista Herring Baughman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Trista Herring Baughman is a star-gazing, pirate-loving, dinosaur digging, country girl, children’s author, and blogger. She grew up in Mississippi, where she met her high-school sweetheart. They are now married and have lived in Nebraska and Louisiana with their sons and critters. Visit Trista at https://booksbytrista.wordpress.com/ and follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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.

Sweet Success for Bowen Gillings

Hooray for Bowen Gillings! His newest mystery, A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, was originally released in May 2021 as an ebook and is now available in paperback. And, for a limited time, readers can download the ebook for FREE on Amazon.

A Night to Remember, by: Bowen Gillings

ABOUT THE BOOK 

After losing his lunch across Monterey’s Coast Guard pier, nervous newly successful writer Walter Straub wobbles aboard the Diego Wind for an evening cruise with a who’s-who of celebrity authors. It takes cocktails on deck, dinner in the captain’s wardroom, and whale watching at sunset before he finds his stomach settled, his nerves calmed, and his attention and affection drawn to lovely bestselling author Avni. All goes swimmingly until a guest goes to sleep with the fishes. Then more writers turn belly up. When those remaining look to pin the deaths on him, Walter must either sink or swim. Purchase an ebook or print book (or both) from Amazon.

Bowen Gillings - headshot with Fresh Starts

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Bowen Gillings is an award-winning author featured in PPW’s first anthology, Fresh Starts, Allegory e-zine, and the Stories Live!, Voices and Views, and Rocky Mountain Writers podcasts. He is an active member and former president of Pikes Peak Writers and a member of both Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and The League of Utah Writers. Bowen loves travel, cooking, martial-arts, and a fine adult beverage. He lives in Colorado with his wife and daughter. Learn more about him and his fun, quirky writing at storiesbybowen.com and be sure to follow the author on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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.