Zebulon News

Zebulon 2018 Winners To Be Announced Shortly

This year’s Zebulon was full of challenges, not only for the contestants, but also for myself. Learning the ropes, encountering website glitches, and dealing with unforeseen contest huddles has placed me behind scheduled. I do apologize. However, with a glass half full attitude, I’ve learned a lot over the past year!

We are now in the homestretch, ranking the finalists in the VIP round. I expect to announce the winners in the upcoming week.

Your patience is more than appreciated as we complete this edition of the Zebulon.

There were many amazing entries, and I wish each and every contestant the best of luck.

Questions? Comments? I welcome your e-mail at: contest@pikespeakwriters.com

Amazing VIP Judges for the Zebulon 2018!

The final round for the Zebulon 2018 is now underway. This year’s VIP judges are:


Kelsy Thompson, Acquisition Editor at Jolly Fish Press and will be judging – Mainstream/Literary/Historical.

Deb Werksman, Editorial Director at Sourcebooks and will be judging – Romance/Women’s Fiction.

Martin Biro, Editor at Kensington Publishing and will be judging – Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Angie Hodapp, Director of Literary Development at the Nelson Literary Agency and will be judging – Urban Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal.

Justin Wells, Literary Agent at the Corvisiero Literary Agency and will be judging – Middle Grade/Young Adult.

Gabrielle Piraino, Literary Agent at DeFiore and Company and will be judging – Mystery/Suspense/Thriller.


You can find more information about each of these stellar individuals by clicking on the links or on the Faculty page for the 2018 Pikes Peak Writers Conference.

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: contest@pikespeakwriters.com

Amazing VIP Judges for the Zebulon!

Are you sitting on a manuscript, wondering if you should enter it in the Zebulon contest?

Let us make that one decision a little easier for you. Check out this year’s roster of VIP judges, who will be scoring the final round of competition.

Natalie Lakosil, an agent for the Bradford Literary Agency, will judge Middle Grade/Young Adult.

Lisa Abellera, agent for Kimberly Cameron and Associates, will judge Mainstream/Literary/Historical.

Kate Brauning, Senior Acquiring Editor at Entangled Publishing, will judge Romance/Women’s.

Esi Sogah, a Senior Editor at Kensington Publishing, will judge Mystery/Suspense/Thriller.

Mike Braff, editor at Del Rey Books, will judge Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Sam Morgan, an agent for JABberwocky, will judge Urban Fantasy/Horror/Paranormal.

You can find more information about each of these stellar individuals on the Faculty page for the 2017 Pikes Peak Writers Conference.

Remember, the contest closes at 12 p.m. on November 1, so you still have a few days to get that submission whipped into shape and submitted. Good luck!

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2014

We Made It Happen!

The 22nd Pikes Peak Writers Conference ended as a dizzying success. From inspiring keynotes to encouraging editors and agents, workshops on craft to workshops on the publishing climate, and everything in between, this conference provided an exhausting and exhilarating array of opportunities to grow, reach, and succeed as writers.

Gail Carriger reminded us that for writers, writing is breathing. How could you ever choose between breathing and anything else? Jim C. Hines magnified the importance of providing all readers with relatable stories, not just the perceived majority. With so much diversity in the world, it only makes sense to find the same in our books. Hank Phillippi Ryan validated the fact that we all have songs not yet written. What are we waiting for? Go for it. Do it. Don’t wait. And Chuck Wendig made us laugh. “Go home book, you’re drunk!” Then he made us dream. Success may seem impossible, but if we chip away at our goals one by one, if we embrace our vision for our writing career, we will in fact…make it happen. To ease Mrs. Wendig’s mind, no one threw up on anyone during his speech.

The excitement started with a low hum Thursday morning that steadily grew to a cacophony of success by Sunday afternoon.

Friday night lured out Steampunk interpretations during the steampunk themed dinner. Impressive arrays of gears and goggles tickled the eye and enlightened the imagination.

Saturday’s lunch allowed for a moment of silence to mourn the loss of those taken too soon. Bonnie Hagan honored those we miss with wise words reminding each of us not to wait on pursuing our passions, but to seize the now.

The Saturday evening awards banquet honored the PPWC volunteers who so highly deserved recognition for their tireless efforts throughout the year and years past. Bonnie Hagan for the Legacy Award, her constant efforts over many years and her historical knowledge proved priceless. J.T. Evans for the Volunteer of the Year Award. As PPW President, J.T. has revamped and renewed PPW in an extraordinary way with hours and hours of effort that will benefit this organization for years to come. M.B. Partlow for the Conference Volunteer of the Year Award. M.B. has worked with passion as programming director for years and now has taken on the task of tackling PPWC 2015 director. Her experience and vision will no doubt propel this next year into another madly successful conference and leave you with Goosebumps. The Zebulon contest winners took their places center stage for some rousing applause celebrating their success.

Attendees had over ninety-five opportunities to tighten their craft, debunk some common myths, practice pitches, and concisely discuss current manuscripts, plus make new friends, accomplish some networking, and stretch their comfort zones in the classrooms, over meals, and long into the night at the Marriott bar. Editors Terri Bischoff, Sarah Peed, Terese Ramin, and Sara Sargent helped demystify the intimidating machine that is the publishing industry while Amy Boggs, Michelle L. Johnson, Kristin Nelson, Beth Phelan, Gordon Warnock, and Carlisle Webber encouraged writers to learn the process and to send out their best work.

Multiple contests, a Killion Group and Hot Damn Designs attendee mixer, costume dinner, silent auction, professional photo shoot opportunities, and more propelled attendees through to the conference end with laughter, excitement, and a beautiful motivation to write. The library enjoyed another year of success offering genre books, craft books, t-shirts, audio cd’s and much more. A little writerly retail therapy to calm the nerves and settle the excitement. Sunday shone bright with an impressive hold over of attendees all grasping for one more kernel of knowledge, one last uttered brilliance, one last shared inspiration…and they got it. We all went home Sunday having reached the goal of this conference.

Write Here, Write Now. We Made it Happen.

The 2014 Zebulon Writing Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to all of the winners of our revamped contest, The Zebulon. Pikes Peak Writers also sends out a hearty thanks to everyone that made the relaunch a great success. We all owe Jeff Schmoyer, our contest director, a hearty round of applause. To all of the people that offered up their precious time to judge and critique the entries, we thank you. Lastly, a great deal of appreciation goes out to our VIP judges for this year. You can review the winners for this year at the new contest winners page.