Writing from the Peak, PPW Blog

Hitting “Publish”

As a self-published author, I find it’s sometimes a scary thing when you are doing it all on your own. You have to make sure your manuscript is edited, you have to either create your cover or find someone willing to do it within your budget, and then you start the publishing process—all on your own!

You write your heart out, creating characters and worlds, and the self-doubt comes in. Is it good enough? Wow, that bit of writing there is awesome. I’m the greatest writer ever. Cue the Rocky theme. Then you write some more, and re-read it the next day. Wow, that bit sucks. I’m the worst writer ever. Cue Green Day’s Good Riddance.

Critique groups

I have used critique groups in the past for working out passages in my book, and this is usually the first time you’ll put your work “out there” for review, and it can be a bit scary. The members of the group will offer up ways to make your writing better. It may be as simple as changing a word for more impact, or as complicated as moving an entire sentence. As hard as it may be, don’t take it personally what they say about your writing (What? They don’t love my baby like I do?). It’s meant to be constructive and help better your story.

Beta ReadersHit publish and let it grow.

Beta readers are a great addition to your writing team at this point. They will tell you what is wrong with your book, and what is working with your story as well. They are an invaluable tool to making your story better. I have found some to be just as good as an editor—very thorough.
Recently, I published my new book with Create Space (yes, it’s still alive and kicking—for now), and every step of the way, my breathing became more shallow and rapid and my hands started shaking. Is this ready? Like, is my baby, that I’ve nurtured and cared for, written and rewritten, edited until the cows came home, really ready to be put forth into the world?

Online Reviewer

The online reviewer showed that there was one issue, but it seemed that it was already taken care of, since as I reviewed the files, I didn’t see any issues. Wow, that’s a first! I did it right the first time? Awesome.

The Proof Copy

I ordered my proof copy, because even though you can see what’s wrong in the online reviewer, having a physical copy in your hands shows a lot more issue. Whoops! My author picture inside at the end of my book is off-center. Gotta fix it! I look through the book more, making sure it is indeed ready to go. Upload the corrected files…and wait for the review of the files again. This time, no issues are found. Now, is my baby really ready to be put into the cold, cruel world of readership? [Further Reading]

Hit Publish

Well, it may never be 100% ready to go. I think any writer will tell you that they’ve found issues they should have corrected on any of their books. You could spend a lifetime making it ready to go, but for now, you hit “Publish” and let it grow in the world!


photo of margin holmesMargena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade.  Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email: jedi_anegram@hotmail.com. 


L. D. Colter Celebrates Sweet Success

When Gods Sleep, CoverCongratulations to L.D. Colter on the September 14, 2018 release of While Gods Sleep.

The first time Ty died he was five, the second time he was seven. He’s always believed his third death will be the final one, and now he may find out. “The pleasures of Greek mythology mixed with the dark undercurrents of contemporary fantasy.” Walter Jon Williams, New York Times bestselling author.

L.D. Colter, AuthorLiz Colter is a member of Pikes Peak Writers. Her novels written under the name L. D. Colter explore contemporary and dark fantasy, and ones written as L. Deni Colter venture into epic fantasy realms. She’s an active SFWA member with multiple short story publications, and her debut novel A Borrowed Hell was the winner of the 2018 Colorado Book Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy.

Learn more about Liz on her Website. You can purchase While Gods Sleep on Amazon.

Sweet Success logoDo you have a Sweet Success you would like to share? Click here to get started, or send an email to: SweetSuccess@pikespeakwriters.com

Sweet Success is coordinated by Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim.


How to Put Together A Scene in Fiction – Part 2

[Note: This is Part-2 of a two part series. Click here for Part-1]


The end of a scene doesn’t really end anything, but tells the reader that there is more to come. If a character is literally hanging by their fingertips from the edge of a cliff at the end of the scene, it tells the reader that they will find out what happened on the cliff later—did the character fall or not? (Or, as in Sherlock Holmes at Reichenbach Falls, we might find out something that isn’t actually true.)

Less dramatically, the end of a scene can introduce new information (and the reader will find out how the character deals with that later), suggest a new course of action (and the reader will see how that didn’t work out as planned later), or simply remind the reader of some item that was left in suspense from another scene (and the reader expects to see more of that soon).

Or all of the above, or some combination.

The only exception is the last scene, which instead tells the reader that the story is over, sorry. Even in a series with an overarching arc, you need to tell the reader that this section of the story is done—come back later!

Here are the five tools for ending a story that I know about:
• Happily ever after.
• Happy for now. (This is often used in series.)
• Doomed ever after.
• Doomed for now. (This is often used in series.)
• OMG IT NEVER ENDS. (This is used in stories where it is implied that the characters or society have learned nothing, and this will all happen again in some form or another; this really shouldn’t be used in series, as it indicates that the next iteration will be tiresome.)

A proper story ending wraps up all the plots and subplots in the story with one or another of these elements. The plots are often resolved in order of least importance to most importance, or external events to internal ones. The last image or line is often a reaffirmation of the main story-line’s ending (like the couple kissing in the back of the limo in Die Hard, surrounded by the ironic, snow-like fall of paperwork from the burning building).

If a story feels “comfortable,” it’s likely that the creators gave sufficient time to the beginning and ending elements of the story (The Princess Bride is a good example of this).

If you feel just plain lost in a story, it’s likely that the creators tried to jump straight into the middle, inserting beginning-type elements as laborious backstory and out-of-character explanations higgledy-piggledy throughout.

If you feel that a story was good but not entirely satisfying or you’re not sure what it was all about, it’s likely that the creators skimped on the endings: endings often sum up “what this all means” throughout the story, and check in on what is left to be accomplished.
Beginning writers want to rush to the middle. The conflict, they believe, is where a story is at. They want to start with conflict, garnish the story with conflict, and conclude with more conflict leading to a high-conflict sequel. GRAAAAHHH!

But, honestly, even something like trying to build BLTs with nothing but bacon gets to be dull after a while, no matter how much you like bacon. Ditto with the conflict. Take a look at how the long-term, best-selling pros write: they add structural elements to keep their endless streams of conflict from becoming dull, repetitive, and confusing.

The structural elements you add may seem to take an inordinate amount of words (at least, at first), but they will keep the reader anchored in your world (beginnings) and unable to put the book down (endings). Want to make a more exciting book? Ironically, you may need to spend more time with its least exciting elements.

Like everything with writing, learning how to write a good scene is a lot to take in. But if you’re having issues with not being a best-selling bajillionaire, it may be time to start!


*This is the Colorado Tesla Writers, a Facebook group of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers at all levels. Contact me if you’re interested; you can be from anywhere, but we do have in-person meetings in the Denver metro area every month.


DeAnna KnipplingDeAnna Knippling has two minor superpowers: speed-reading and babble. She types at over 10,000 words per minute and can make things up even faster than that. She has been officially constrained from drinking Ovaltine per her doctor’s orders since a tragic incident involving a monopoly game, a blender, a cemetery, and a school play at age eight. Her first job was hunting snipe for her father at twenty-five cents per head, with which she paid her way through college; her latest job involves a non-disclosure agreement, a dozen hitmen, a ballerina, a snowblower, three very small robots, and a disposable dictator in South America. If she told you which movie was based on her life, she’d have to kill you. Her cover job is that of freelance writer, editor, and designer living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, cat, more than one cupboard full of various condiments, and many shelves full of the very best books. She has her own indie small press, www.WonderlandPress.com, and her website is www.DeAnnaKnippling.com

How to Put Together a Scene in Fiction – Part 1

[Note: this is part-1 of a two part series]

Something that a lot of writing books don’t teach beginnings writers is how to write a scene.
It sounds counter-intuitive. Aren’t scenes the basic building blocks of fiction?

But there are a lot of tools that you need to learn in order to write a scene at all: characters, dialogue, setting, conflict, motivation, how to write complete sentences…

The fact is, learning how to write well is a lot. A lot of everything. And a lot of the things that you can do sort of by instinct, you can’t do on purpose, at least not at first. So the question of “how to structure a scene” gets pushed back for “someday you’ll need to learn this…but not today.”

I reached the point of “someday” several years ago, in 2012. Taking the advice of longtime professional writer Dean Wesley Smith, I started noting down story structure and typing in what didn’t make sense (which was a lot).

What I’ve noticed is that almost every scene, barring those in some very experimental literary novels, uses very similar tools, repeated in different combinations. You may have heard of them: beginnings, middles, and endings.

There are a lot of tools that you need to learn in order to write a scene.


The beginning of a scene contains all the information the reader needs to know in order to comprehend the scene that follows. No more, and no less. This information includes the setting, character, and situation in enough detail that a reader can pick up the book after six months and be able to resume reading—with pleasure!
Because writers spend so much care and attention reading books, they tend to assume that other readers spend a lot of care and attention on reading. Alas, most readers only read about four books a year, or about one book every three months. And they forget stuff.

The beginning of a scene should establish new characters, new settings, and new situations in enough detail that the reader feels like they have left this reality and entered into the book. The beginning of a scene should also re-establish continuing characters, settings, and situations in enough detail that a reader who has put the book down can quickly get back up to speed.

There are three tricks to this:

• Use a lot of sensory detail from the character’s point of view.
• Only use the POV character’s observations and attitudes in the scene; nothing that fits the writer but not the character can remain.
• Don’t repeat the exact same details for re-establishing character, setting, and situation.

You don’t need to write a lot of details. If the details are accurate, consistent, based on concrete sense details (and not vague, lazy generalizations), and have variety, the details can quickly yank a wayward reader back into the story.


The middle of the scene contains the conflict. In the beginning, you tell the reader what sort of conflict to expect. In the middle, you carry out that conflict.

There are several tools you can use to carry out conflict. These are the ones I know about:
• The character tries to do something and fails. (“Try/fail” is often used as a blanket term for all of these types of conflict.)
• The character tries to do something, succeeds, and things still get worse. (Succeed But Worse.)
• The character tries to do something and is interrupted. (Interrupt.)
• The character tries to do something, but the outcome isn’t known yet. (Suspense.)

Each one of these elements, you will note, keeps the character on the hook somehow—and keeps the reader wanting to find out what will happen.

A scene can consist of one lengthy conflict, several shorter conflicts, one long and one short, and so on. A fight scene might have a dozen short conflicts as the fighters try, then discard, different tactics. A scene in which two old lovers try to convince each other that they don’t love each other anymore might be a dozen pages long.

If you’re paying close attention, you may notice that each separate conflict in a scene has its own beginning, middle, and end—the same way that in a good movie, you’ll see shots of characters standing around in the scene so you know who’s in the room and where. A fight scene that’s just a blur of weapons and movement gets to be old very quickly.

Click here for Part-2

DeAnna KnipplingDeAnna Knippling has two minor superpowers: speed-reading and babble. She types at over 10,000 words per minute and can make things up even faster than that. She has been officially constrained from drinking Ovaltine per her doctor’s orders since a tragic incident involving a monopoly game, a blender, a cemetery, and a school play at age eight. Her first job was hunting snipe for her father at twenty-five cents per head, with which she paid her way through college; her latest job involves a non-disclosure agreement, a dozen hitmen, a ballerina, a snowblower, three very small robots, and a disposable dictator in South America. If she told you which movie was based on her life, she’d have to kill you. Her cover job is that of freelance writer, editor, and designer living in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, cat, more than one cupboard full of various condiments, and many shelves full of the very best books. She has her own indie small press, www.WonderlandPress.com, and her website is www.DeAnnaKnippling.com

Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop Celebrates 70

I am a perfectionist and a scaredy-cat.

~Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop

Elizabeth Winthrop AlsopToday Elizabeth Winthrop Alsop celebrates her 70th birthday. Elizabeth has published children’s, young adult, picture books and historical fiction as well as memoir – more than sixty books since her first, Bunk Beds, in 1972. Elizabeth is best known for her middle grade fantasy classic, Castle in the Attic, and has received numerous awards. She’s recently done a Ted Talk about risking exposure as a writer, view it here.


Profile Photo of Gabrielle V Brown Managing Editor Pikes Peak Writers Blog Gabrielle V. Brown, Contributing Editor with Writing From the Peak, writes literary and speculative fiction, nonfiction and the occasional poem. Gabrielle’s published works include technical and academic nonfiction, poetry, memoir (as a ghostwriter) and a cookbooks. Find her on Facebook, her website, or contact her at gvbrownwriter@gmail.com.

Proofing the Proof

There is more to proofing a book than just reading the story.

At some point in every writer’s career, you’ll be asked to proof a final version of your work.
Sure, you’ll have various editors doing this, but you’ll need to be a part of it, too. After all, it’s YOUR name on the cover and you want it to be as perfect as possible.

Even at the manuscript stage, submitting a well-polished story will help your work stand out. It shows agents and editors that you are industry-savvy.

There is more to proofing a book, however, than just reading the story (aka body matter). It means examining literally every centimeter of the product. During this process, I get down to some serious detailing, checking for any and all mistakes, and taking copious notes—old school style.

Take copious notes...old school style.

Over the years, I’ve developed a checklist to make sure I don’t miss anything. I break the task into sections, moving from easy to more difficult; mostly to warm up and to feel like I’ve accomplished something. Remember, for each item on this list, we’re looking for spelling, grammar, punctuation, correct vocabulary, correct numbering and sequence, etc. Read stuff aloud—it helps like nothing else to catch mistakes.


  • Front
  • Spine (place your book on its back. The words on the spine should read left to right)
  • Back (correct jacket copy, ISBN number, publisher’s contact info, etc.)

Front Matter

  • Praise Page
  • Title Page (called the recto side)
  • Copyright Page (called the verso side)
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgements (unless this is at the end, then skip for now)
  • Table of Contents (if applicable)
  • Foreword (if applicable)
  • Preface or Introduction (if applicable)

End Matter

  • Acknowledgements (here’s where you want to triple check that you’ve spelled your publisher, agent, editors, publicists, and cover artist names correctly, as well as everyone else you want to thank)
  • Discussion Questions
  • Author Interview or Q & A
  • Author’s Bio (triple check that your contact info is correct)

Chapters and Pages

  • Check each chapter title for sequential numbering. Trust me on this.
  • Check each page for sequential numbering. Trust me more.
  • Orphans and Widows. Tedious, but it must be done.

Body Matter

  • Read your story aloud. This is single most productive use of your time at this stage. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll catch dropped words, repetitive vocabulary, and grammar mistakes like crazy.
  • Proper nouns (characters, locations, etc). Keep a cheat sheet nearby.
  • Foreign languages. Triple-check spelling and punctuation. Then, check them once more. Get this right.
  • Paragraphs. Make sure the breaks are correct.

This sounds so easy and straightforward, but you and I both know this is blood-letting time. Re-reading a manuscript you’ve labored over for months or years can be downright nauseating. I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time cringing, too.



But, I often find myself enthralled with the story, and a bit in awe of some writing I didn’t remember producing. Which is pretty cool. It is really okay, you know, to feel pride and satisfaction in your creation. If we writers (or painters or musicians or dancers) do not cherish our work, then our readers or viewers won’t either. So, proof away and be prepared to fall in love again.

Darby KarchutDarby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, Del Toro Moon Book Covershe 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 is busy wrangling words. Her latest book (lucky number thirteen), DEL TORO MOON, releases October 2 from Owl Hollow Press. Visit the author at her website.

Writing is Art – Open for Submissions

One of the hardest parts of writing is submitting, whether to contests, agents, or magazines. Without submitting, you never know what you can achieve. Finding projects worth putting yourself out there can help.

It Takes a Tribe

Pikes Peak Writers is currently running two writing contests that end in a month. One of them is Writing is Art, a creative collaboration between Pikes Peak Writers and Cottonwood Center for the Arts. In the first iteration, which took place in fall of 2017, writers were asked to visit the galleries at Cottonwood to choose a piece of art by a participating artist. They were then given a single prompt to use in a story inspired by the artwork.

In part two of the contest, we’re asking authors to write a story to the prompt “It Takes a Tribe.” Winners’ stories will then be handed over to Cottonwood Center for the Arts, where artists will be given the opportunity to peruse the stories and find something that inspires them a visual creation of their own. This is a great opportunity for writers! It’s not often that intra-art projects like this one come about, yet they can be wonderful for inspiration and flourishing creativity.

This project was the brain child of Bowen Gillings, current president of PPW. When asked the inspiration behind the project, he responded with the following:

Writing is Art“Writing is Art was born out of a desire to show that creative writing, that literature, is an art in and of itself and deserves to be treated as such. With that foundation, I developed a two-fold concept to propel WiA forward. First, I wanted to partner with a venue that could appreciate writing for the art it is and that could embrace using writing in a visual way. Cottonwood Center for the Arts has a long history with PPW, so it was an ideal fit. Jon Khoury at Cottonwood got behind the idea right away and has continued to be instrumental in make WiA a success. Second, I wanted to show how art inspires art and how all art is open to the interpretation of the observer. WiA writers toured Cottonwood and chose pieces that moved them to create. Some of those works were abstract, some were still life, some were renderings of moments in time. Each piece struck a chord and the writer responded. I love that and cannot wait for the next phase, where writings inspire the creation of visual art.”

The Experience

We asked a few of the contributors to tell us about their experiences with part one:
Art evokes, cajoles, inspires, even coerces a response from the viewer. The response may be emotional, visceral, intellectual — but it can’t be denied. The initial Writing is Art project provided an opportunity to put words to my reaction to a piece of art. The process of viewing the piece, reflecting on and writing about it, and seeing the writing exhibited next to the art was a powerful, interactive experience that caused me to get just a little deeper inside of ‘Ocean 2’ by Terry Birkenfeld.”
— Vince Puzick

“I found out about Writing is Art during a Write Drunk, Edit Sober session. Since I only had been living in Colorado for a short time and was healing from a rough break-up, I felt hesitant about entering the contest. In fact, I wondered if continuing with my writing career was worthwhile at all even though everyone around me insisted I have talent. (I still think they must have me confused with someone else.) During a particularly difficult visit at my parents’ house, I locked myself in the guest room with the pictures of a few pieces that caught my eye at Cottonwood. I kept finding myself drawn to the pink closet with things tucked away. It made me think of packing the tangible and intangible items during my separation. I poured those memories and the emotion I pulled from the art into my piece, and surprisingly, my piece was among those selected for the show. It was so validating to see my work in the show and to meet some of the artists. I enjoyed the conversations between artists and writers about how they inspired each other. It was a privilege to be part of this unique collaboration and I look forward to the newest iteration of it.”Writing is Art by Shannon Lawrence
–Amy Armstrong

“Initially, I decided to participate in the very first Writing is Art as a show of support for Pikes Peak Writers and Cottonwood Center for the Arts, the organizations who paired up to make this happen. I enjoyed chatting with some of the artists and wandering the gallery, looking for possibilities. But then I became selfish. I chose my piece and wrote my little bit entirely driven by and for my own heart. What pleasure! I found myself writing poetry, though I’m not a poet. I considered keeping it to myself, but instead did the right thing and entered my work. And it was selected! It is possible that I may have jumped up and down and shared the news with all who would listen. I missed the gallery opening but stopping by on a quiet afternoon allowed me to take my time viewing, reading, and mulling over each of the art/word pairings. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside, to be a part of this display of talent and creativity. And so, in the end, I still found my selfish joy.”
–Gabrielle Brown

Free to Enter


Why not try it out? It’s free to enter, and though there are no cash prizes, we do hope to get enough contributions to create a table-top book with all the stories and art prints. Your story will be placed on display next to the artwork inspired by it, for anyone to visit. We’ll also have a gallery opening celebration in March!
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.

Ghosts of Downtown Writing Contest

In addition to this contest, we have a contest in partnership with Downtown Colorado Springs: Ghosts of Downtown Writing Contest. This one seeks your creepy stories about locations in downtown Colorado Springs. Tours will be led by the city, with both true and false stories being told. The guests will then try to guess which ones are real. As with Writing is Art, there are no cash prizes, but winners of this contest get free entry on one of the tours. What could be more fun than watching those taking the tour try to guess if your story is true or false? For more information visit the Facebook event page.

Contests End Soon!

Act fast if you’d like to participate in either of these projects! Writing is Art closes October 1, while Ghosts of Downtown closes September 30. Submission information can be found on the event pages and on our website under Upcoming Events on the main page.
What have you got to lose?

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in several anthologies and magazines, including Space and Time Magazine and The Literary Hatchet, and her short story collection Blue Sludge Blues & Other Abominations is now available. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there’s always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at www.thewarriormuse.com.

Your Niche in Historical Fiction

By: Jason Henry Evans

Hello, gentle reader. This month on the historical fiction blog, I am writing about finding your niche in historical fiction.
You’ve got that great idea for a story. You’ve fantasized about the clothes your characters wear, the horses they ride and the type of weapons they carry.
STOP! Stop right there! Before you go and write ten thousand words, think about your story and ask yourself these questions:

What is the Conflict?
Every story begins and ends with conflict. What is the protagonist struggling against? What are they trying to overcome? Is the conflict centered on a person (Person v. Person)? A group of people, (Person v. Society)? A place (Person v. Nature)? Or an internal struggle (Person v. Self)? Are there multiple conflicts going on (A protagonist fighting an unjust system while struggling with an ally for control of a political group)?

Who is your Protagonist?
Many times we have ideas in our head about what a good story should look like. Many of those times it’s based off of our experiences with books and movies we’ve watched and read. The stories we envision sometimes are simply duplicates of what we’ve read or scene before. (Which is a natural part of the writing process. We all do it.)

What would make your story interesting is if you shift your point of view. A war story from the perspective of a refugee is pretty common today. A war story told by the villain, and justifying their villainy might be unique.

Writing historical fiction can be exciting and rewarding.

What is your Time Period?
This can be really hard. Not because certain time periods require a certain amount of research. Nor is it because you have to get every little detail from a time period absolutely perfect. The real reason is this: We as writers get it in our heads that our story belongs in a certain setting. Many times we are probably wrong.

Let’s face it, if we want to be professional writers, then we have to know about market saturation. We have to know about certain time periods that are overwhelmed with stories. English Regency romance about a destitute woman who finds love and regains her stolen estates? Overdone. American Revolutionary War about orphan boy who finds himself in the middle of two armies? We’ve read that.

Stop. Just stop.

Don’t do what everyone else is doing. Find a niche that is both familiar to your potential audience, yet interesting and creative.
Aimie Runyan took a basic story about frontier farm living in her novel Promised to the Crown, and turned it on its head by setting it in 17th century Quebec. All the tropes of frontier fiction, just twisted a little.

Want to write a mystery set in Victorian London? You want to write about the opulence of high society, while the poor suffer in the street? You want political intrigue? OK. Why not choose another time? How about 1820’s London? How about the London of 1665, during the last big outbreak of Bubonic Plague? What a backdrop THAT would be!

Choose your Setting.
Finally, if you’re really set on a time period, like Renaissance England, or World War II, why not flip the story upside down and write about a different setting? The American Revolutionary War is a grand time period for a story, but instead of your story taking place in Boston or Charleston, could it be set Quebec? (Remember, Benedict Arnold led an expedition up there in 1775.) That mystery in Victorian London? I bet a story set in Victorian upper crust of Bombay or Hong Kong would be even more decadent and mysterious than one set in London.

I know from personal experience that writing historical fiction can be both exciting and rewarding. I also know that when I wrote my first story, I didn’t think too much about setting, or time or conflict. It was a painful lesson I learned as I got pummeled in my critique group. But I learned. If you can hold off on writing that story, do the research to avoid over-saturated markets, then you can write a novel that is closer than you think to getting published.

Jason Henry Evans: Life is funny. In 2004 I moved from Los Angeles to Denver, newly married with a desire to be a great teacher and husband. I dedicated myself to public education and realized my heart was not in it. So I moved on. At the same time I stumbled into a creative world of art and literature I now call home. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worthwhile.
You can catch up with Jason on his Facebook Author Page or on Twitter. You will also find up to date posts on his blog.

Letter from the Editor – September 2018

Dear Writers…

It is September already and Fall is just around the corner. Here in Colorado the nights are turning cool with the days still hot. Recently, my family and I went camping in Yellowstone National Park and the season’s change was very apparent. There were a couple of mornings I woke up and grew a new crop of goose bumps; I could see my breath. In the high country you learn to dress in layers but rolling out of a toasty sleeping bag into frigid air was nothing short of an all-out convulsion of shivers.

PPW gatghers together, whether it be across cyberspace or in person, to share stories, successes or failures, around a fire that connects us all.

While on the trip I thought about my letter to you this month. Sitting around the campfire one night my family and I made S’Mores, talked about the day, and fell mesmerized staring into the flames. I realized that this is what it means to be a part of Pikes Peak Writers. We gather together, whether it be across cyberspace or in person sharing our writing stories around a fire that connects us all. PPW’s fire is a warm beacon in the dark. It is a place we all can gather like family around a campfire.

This Month at Writing from the Peak

This month the fires are burning bright with good news for Catherine Dilts and Liz Colter with their newest releases. Jason Evans helps you find your niche in historical fiction, Darby Karchut is Proofing the Proof, DeAnna Knippling will help us Put Together a Scene and Margena Holmes will Push Publish. Also look for information about Writing is Art, a book signing with Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doer (this is a non-PPW event), and the bi-weekly Lit-Quote from Gabrielle Brown.

There’s More!

Join us at this month’s Write Brain on Sept 18th (details here) and, as always, you can Write Drunk and Edit Sober with Deb Courtney on September 12, 2018 (more details). Open Critique is a perfect opportunity to get feedback on your work. Last, but not least, is Writer’s Night a fireside-like gathering hosted by Damon Smithwick.

It is going to be an amazing September. As you work on your next novel, complete edits, or press The End, remember how lucky you are to be surrounded by such an amazing writing family. I hope to see you all around the next PPW campfire.

Write On!!


Kathie KJ Scrim, Managing EditorManaging Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Kathie writes fantasy and cozy mystery. 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 somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym

Write Brain with Stant Litore

Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget

On Tuesday, August 21st, author Stant Litore presented a workshop on world-building at PPW’s monthly Write Brain event. Using material from his new book, Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget, he laid out an approach to world-building that easily builds potential for plot and conflict into the story. Stant Litore, Write Worlds Your Readers Won't ForgetRather than starting from a wide angle, he advises writers to hone in on three elements that yield the best possibilities for pressure on the characters: the physical conditions for survival, a fantastic creature (or several), and an unforgettable fact about the culture or civilization, most likely arising from the first two factors.

Using this framework, Stant launched into a wide-ranging lecture with myriad examples from history, religion, and literature, throwing out imaginative examples of how this approach to world-building can play out. It was sometimes a challenge to keep up, but his infectious enthusiasm for ideas couldn’t help but bring you along.

The book is available on Amazon’s Stant Litore page. You can also find his books and lots of thought-provoking content Stant’s website.


Join Write Brain on September 18, 2018, at 6:15pm.
Josh Vogt will present, Foundations of a Freelance Writing Career.


In the mean time enjoy these photos from Stant’s presentation taken by Shannon Lawrence.

Stant Litore Stant Litore

Write Brain with Stant Litore

Robin LabordeThis recap from Write Brain is presented by Robin Laborde, Contributing Editor. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. She worked as a technical writer for over ten years and has had nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines. She is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future.