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EXPIRED: Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize

The Missouri Review’s 27th Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction is now open for submissions. First-place winners in each category receive a prize of $5,000, plus a feature in our spring issue and paid travel to a gala reading and reception in Columbia, Missouri. Contest finalists will have their work considered for publication at our usual contributor rate of $40 per printed page.

This opportunity is open to both emerging and established writers—we are most of all concerned with finding strong work, which is why I particularly wanted to pass on the word to writers involved with your organization. I would very much appreciate it if you could let folks there know about our contest by posting the attached fliers somewhere where they’ll get attention—such as your group’s Facebook group or page—or by forwarding this information to any email lists or newsletters that might have an interest. All writers submitting to our contest receive a one-year digital subscription to the Missouri Review (normal price $24) and a paperback copy of the first title of our new imprint, Missouri Review Books, The Trail of the Demon by Jane Gillette (normal price $14.95).

We accept submissions online or by mail. The postmark deadline is October 2, and winners will be announced in January of 2018.

You can find more information about the contest through our website:

A Peak at the Fabulous Keynote Speakers for PPWC 2018

Boy, do we have some fantastic keynote speakers coming in 2018!  I’m so amazed at the selection of talent, well-known authors that have agreed to share their knowledge of the writing business with you.  You don’t want to miss this conference.  Registration opens on November 11, 2017.

The well-known, New York Times best-selling author Jim Butcher will be our Saturday night keynote speaker.   He’s the author of the well-known series, The Dresden Files, The Codex Alera and his new steampunk series, the Cinder Spires.    He also writes graphic novels and recently won two Dragon Awards at DragonCon: Best Graphic Novel for “Wild Card” and Best Comic Book for “Dog Men.”  A dedicated gamer, he also developed the Dresden Files Cooperative Card game based on his Dresden Files series.

Laurell Kaye Hamilton  is an American fantasy and romance writer. She is best known as the author of two series of stories.  Her New York Times-bestselling Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series centers on Anita Blake, a professional zombie raiser, vampire executioner and supernatural consultant for the police, which includes novels, short story collections, and comic books. Six million copies of Anita Blake novels are in print. Her Merry Gentry series centers on Meredith Gentry, Princess of the Unseelie court of Faerie, a private detective facing repeated assassination attempts.  Her Anita Blake books have also been turned in a series of comic books.

Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning suspense author, editor, comic book writer, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer, who writes in a variety of genres.  His young adult fiction includes Rot & Ruin (2011) in now in development for film.   His mystery novels include the upcoming Dylan Quinn mystery-thriller series for teens and the NIGHTSIDERS series of middle-grade horror/sci-fi adventures, which debuted in 2015.  His horror novels include The Pine Deep Trilogy from Pinnacle Books, which won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel and named one of the 25 Best Horror Novels of the New Millennium.   He was named one of the Today’s Top Ten Horror Writers. His books have been sold to more than two-dozen countries.

Hugo-award winning author, Mary Robinette Kowal is a novelist and professional puppeteer. Her debut novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, a story of magic in Regency England, (Tor 2010) was nominated for the 2010 Nebula Award for Best Novel. In 2008 she won the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, while three of her short fiction works have been nominated for the Hugo Award: “Evil Robot Monkey” in 2009 and “For Want of a Nail” in 2011, which won the Hugo for short story that year. Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Asimov’s, and several Year’s Best anthologies, as well as in her collection Scenting the Dark and Other Stories from Subterranean Press.


Director’s Note on PPWC 2018



Writing is hard work.  And, unfortunately, there can be disappointment along the way.  But we write because we love it, because we don’t know how not to write, because we were born to write.  But there are times…

Don’t Quit–DO IT!

Our goal for the 2018 Pikes Peak Writers Conference is to give you the tools, the contacts, the knowledge and the passion to carry on despite that rejection letter or not placing in a contest.  Don’t quit!  Keep writing!  Keep improving your skills!  Keep meeting others in the business!  Keep throwing things out there to see what finally sticks!  DO IT!!

Our staff is hard at work building a conference that upholds the PPWC tradition of being exciting, informative and friendly. We will continue with the Query 1-on-1 and offer our Read and Critiques sessions as well.  We are building a faculty full of best-selling keynote speakers, entertaining and engaging authors and professionals, and manuscript hungry agents and editors.  We’re even looking at the Write Drunk, Edit Sober special event again.  And, once again, we are proud to be hosted by the fabulous Colorado Springs Marriott.

We hope you will join our family for the 26th Annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference and, together, we’ll DO IT!

Karen Fox
Conference Director

Board Elections

If you would like to be more involved in the direction and stewardship of Pikes Peak Writers, please consider running for a position on the board. In September, the board will vote on President (incumbent running), Vice President, Treasurer (incumbent running) and Member at Large positions. To be considered, please submit a 1-2 page letter of interest, including why you want the job, what you bring to the table, and a little about your volunteer experience, PPW or otherwise. Letters should be submitted to no later than Sept. 12.

The time requirement for the board varies. The board meets quarterly, usually on a weeknight, for approximately two hours. The board reviews operational budgets annually, and different members work on different projects. Members at Large represent our PPW members to the board. If you have any questions, please contact Bowen Gillings,

Zebuloning Into 2018

Hello, my name is SM, and I’m your new Zebulon Contest Coordinator. Living in the Great White North, I may at times add a touch of the Canadian spirit to the contest, but fear not, the Rocky Mountains are close to my heart.

First off, I’d like to thank our outgoing coordinator, Dawn Smit Miller. She’s done an extraordinary job at organizing past Zebulons, PPW’s premier fiction writing contest. I feel I have mighty big shoes to fill, so bear with me as I find my own voice.

For now, nothing major will change, but I do encourage you to read all the rules. In reviewing last year’s results, I found that some entries didn’t make it past the Query Round simply because the entrant did not follow the instructions. And sadly, in a couple of cases, they didn’t make the cut by simply choosing the wrong font. Nuf said.

As a writer, I feel any contest that offers some sort of feedback is always a big win, even if you don’t receive an award. Honest reviews are crucial in making a good book great. I’m a fan of CinemaSins on YouTube, where no movie is without sin. I apply that same philosophy with writing where no book cannot be improved by feedback (you have a critique partner(s), yes?).

I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity and enter. It’s only $20 and more than worth the investment in the judges’ comments alone. You can also pay an additional $20 for a critique. But, it doesn’t stop there. If your entry wins, there are prizes—up to and including a full refund of your PPWC2018 registration fee! And, as a side-note, when clicking on the link below, shuffle over to the PPW Conference pages and check them out.

So, what do you need to do? Easy-peasy, just:

  • Provide the first 2500 words from an unpublished fiction novel. It cannot be part of a published series nor can it have won first prize in a previous Zebulon
  • Provide one query letter in standard format, up to one page in length
  • Provide one synopsis, up to 500 words in length
  • Submit with courage

Attending next year’s PPW Conference is of itself a memory waiting to happen. Attending as a Zebulon winner, even more so.

Eager to know more about this year’s Zebulon?  Begin here:

The contest’s starting gun went off on September 01st, and the checkered flag drops on Nov 01st. This may sound like lots of time to get your ducks crossed and “T”s in a line, but be a tortoise; slow and steady wins the race. Being a hare and doing everything on All Hallow’s Eve can be stressful, make you rush, and can lead to errors in your submission—possibly using the wrong font. 🙂

I hope that I’ve mangled enough mixed metaphors to spin your head and get you thinking about entering early. That early bird and all that…

Questions? Comments? I welcome your e-mail at:

Ron Heimbecher

On July 8, 2017, Ronald Frederick Heimbecher of Thornton/Broomfield, Colorado, beloved husband of Monica (Reynolds) Heimbecher passed away at the age of 67 from complications after surgery. He is survived by his wife, son Stefan Heimbecher, daughter Lyssa Gad, son-in-law Max Gad, stepson Jason Crump, brother Tony Bersano and sisters Carolee Hutchins and Marti Bersano and many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews. Ron was a gifted businessman, musician, writer, and was an inspiration to those who knew him.

Ron volunteered for Pikes Peak Writers beginning in 2006 and served five years on the board of directors as vice president, president, and immediate past president. He also filled the role of webmaster during this time.

Sweet Success for July 2017

July 14, 2017


Congratulations to award-winning poet and aspiring mystery writer Maria Kelson. Maria was selected for a one-month writing residency in 2018 at the Santa Fe Art Institute. The theme for their 2018 residencies is “Equal Justice.” The selection was made based on sample chapters from The Outcasts, her current mystery-novel-in-progress, which addresses issues of justice in immigrant and refugee communities.

Join us here to celebrate the writing and publishing successes of fellow PPW members. When the sweet smile of success shines on you, but sure to let us know!

Sweet Success for June 2017

June 23, 2017

Congratulations to  Author Barbara Nickless for taking Colorado by storm.

Barbara Nickless’s debut novel, Blood on the Tracks, won the 2017 Colorado Authors’ League Writing Award for genre fictionBarbara’s next book in the series, DEAD STOP, will be released by Thomas & Mercer on October 3rd, 2017.

Barbara Nickless’s debut novel, Blood on the Tracks, won the 2017 Colorado Book Award for mystery fiction. Barbara’s next book in the series, DEAD STOP, will be released by Thomas & Mercer on October 3rd, 2017.

June 16, 2017

Darby Karchut’s DEL TORO MOON (middle grade fantasy/western mashup), received multiple offers before being sold to Hannah Smith at Owl Hollow Press, in a nice deal, for publication Summer 2018, by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary (World Rights).

June 9, 2017

Pikes Peak Writer member and PPWC faculty member JL Field’s next book will be released June 6: The Vegan Air Fryer: The Healthier Way to Enjoy Deep-Fried Flavors.

Join JL for her book release party from noon to 2 p.m. on June 17, 12 to 2 p.m., at Colorado Common Hard Cider. All are welcome! First 75 people get a free drink coupon (if over 21), free recipes samples from the book, vegan food truck fare for purchase, and everyone in attendance is entered in a free drawing to win an air fryer!

Join us here to celebrate the writing and publishing successes of fellow PPW members. When the sweet smile of success shines on you, but sure to let us know!

Sweet Success for May 2017

May 26, 2017

Congratulations to Chris Goff and her second International Thriller Red Sky, which is due out June 13th. The second in the Jordan series, New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter says, “Breathtaking suspense, do not miss Red Sky.”

May 19, 2017

Congratulations to Author Cynthia Kuhn

About the Agatha: Agatha Awards are given out at the annual Malice Domestic conference held in Bethesda, Maryland: “The Agatha Awards honor the ‘traditional mystery.’ That is to say, books best typified by the works of Agatha Christie as well as others” (Malice Domestic website). Categories include Best Contemporary Novel, Best Historical Novel, Best First Novel, Best Nonfiction, Best Short Story, Best Children’s/Young Adult.

About the book: English professor Lila Maclean is thrilled about her new job at prestigious Stonedale University until she finds one of her colleagues dead. She soon learns that everyone, from the chancellor to the detective working the case, believes Lila—or someone she is protecting—may be responsible for the horrific event, so she assigns herself the task of identifying the killer.
More attacks on professors follow, the only connection a curious symbol found at each of the crime scenes. Putting her scholarly skills to the test, Lila gathers evidence, but her search is complicated by an unexpected nemesis, a suspicious investigator, and an ominous secret society. Rather than earning an “A” for effort, she receives a threat featuring the mysterious emblem and must act quickly to avoid failing her assignment…and becoming the next victim.

May 12, 2017

STALKING GROUND by Margaret Mizushima is a finalist in the 2017 Colorado Book Awards mystery category. In this second book in the Timber Creek K-9 mystery series Deputy Mattie Cobb, her canine partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker investigate the disappearance of Deputy Ken Brody’s sweetheart, but the hunters become the hunted when they find themselves caught in a killer’s stalking ground. “Dog lovers will want to read this thriller.” – Library Journal

Join us here to celebrate the writing and publishing successes of fellow PPW members. When the sweet smile of success shines on you, but sure to let us know!