Posts Tagged ‘Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018’

Genre Round-Tables at PPWC2018

Jere Ellison received a scholarship to attend PPWC2018. He shares his experience at the conference and the events leading him to apply for a scholarship.

I’ve been to a number of conferences in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado over the years. They all tend to have a distinct flavor and feel, and it’s always interesting for me to see what makes each conference stand apart from the others.

For PPW’s conference this past year, that stand-out moment for me rested in the Genre Round-tables. This was a format I’d never seen before, but one which really struck me as something every conference ought to make available.

As those who regularly attend conferences know, most of the time you end up sitting in a room listening to a presenter talk about something they’ve had prepared ahead of time. Even in the best of presenters, there can sometimes be a rote tone to it all, and when you’re at a conference running on nothing but caffeine, adrenaline, and a few hours of restless sleep, it gets hard to always pay the best attention you can to said presenters.

Or maybe that’s just me…

Whatever the case, the genre round-tables were a great way to break that mold in a constructive way that left me feeling not only energized and excited to get to edits on my own work, but also feeling better-connected to fellow attendees.

If you’re not familiar, the genre roundtables are just what they sound like: a bunch of people sitting around a table and discussing topics and struggles pertaining to their genre. With less of a “lecture-y” feel and more of the Socratic method, the time I spent in that room was some of the best I spent that weekend.

Productive, communicative, organic. Those are three plusses to me.

Now, I realize this setup could be intimidating to some who may be a little more introverted. There are those out there for whom the idea of sitting around a table, talking with strangers about their work might be intimidating.

Don’t let it be!

I have minors in Theatre and Communication. I like talking. But these round-tables aren’t just for people like me. There were plenty of people in there who never said a word, but who were vigorously taking notes. That’s what I liked about the round-table format: it was conversation if you wanted that, or yet lecture format if that’s what you’re looking for, instead.

The other benefit to that setup is it allows for you to meet and strike up conversations with people more easily than you might otherwise be able to. Not only do you know that everyone you see in the room is interested in the same genre as you, but with the focus of the time being spent on conversation, you can easily pick back up with other people after you leave.

It’s one thing to go up to someone afterwards and ask what they thought about something some other person said in a presentation. It’s a whole other level of networking when you can follow-up with someone later and ask them specifically to elaborate on a point they may have made during the group discussion.

All-in-all, I hope the round-tables continue to be a mainstay of the PPW Conference. And I’d recommend any other conference leaders who see this to consider doing the same with theirs.

The only other thing I want to touch on is the importance the scholarship provided by PPW made in my ability to attend this past year. I’ll do that through an anecdote.

One evening, waiting for dinner, I stepped outside on the lobby patio just to get some fresh air. While I was out there, a few women were standing around talking. If I’m remembering correctly, they were a group of friends who travel around the US to different conferences together. It’s just their thing.

I don’t remember if they were from Vegas, about to go to Vegas, or had just come back from Vegas. Whatever the case, they pulled me right into their conversation like it was nothing, and we all sat around and chatted until it was time to eat.

I’ll come back to them in a second.

You see, if not for the scholarship I was awarded to go to this conference, there’s no way my wife and I could have justified the travel, fees, and lodging expenses, what with coming all the way from Texas.

Because of that scholarship, however, I was able to attend, and because I attended, I made a slew of connections with other writers. Including those ladies, whose paths I kept crossing all weekend.

That’s what the scholarship provided for me: Other writers.

We’re a unique group, and it can sometimes be hard doing what we do.
This conference, made possible by my scholarship, provided more of that comradery we all need to remind ourselves that we’re not alone in this.

Anyways, I hope things went well for the ladies I met that evening, and I want to wish them the best with their future writing. Because that’s really what these conferences should be about: finding fellow writers, getting to know them, and sending each other the best wishes we possibly can.

And if that’s what you’re looking for, this is where you need to be.

 

For more information about PPWC2019 and how to apply for a scholarship follow the conference link or the scholarship link. Deadline to apply is January 11, 2019.


Jere Ellison has completed six manuscripts in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, with audience ages ranging from fifth graders to adults.
He has his Master’s degree in English, and has spent years in the classroom as both tutor and professor, working mostly with “at-risk” students. He also spent a few years professionally editing for a New York Times best-selling author of more than forty novels.
Currently, he house-husbands for his Wildlife Biologist wife in Texas, making sure all the house work is done so that evenings together can be filled with nothing but games, Hulu, and general relaxation.

Highlights of PPWC2018 from Scholarship Recipient Jenni Wood

When I first heard of Pikes Peak Writers Conference from a friend I thought it sounded like a pretty neat conference, and I decided that next time I knew enough people who were attending I too would make the trek from Salt Lake City to Colorado Springs to attend. Unfortunately, 2018 was the year that a member from my writing group and several people from the local writing community were planning to attend, and I was in a pretty tight financial situation. In 2017 my husband lost his job, and I became the sole income provider of the family. We have a young child with Down Syndrome, who, while being a fantastic kid, can be a little expensive at times. I applied for and was granted, one of the scholarships that PPWC offers. Having my tuition to the conference paid for made saving the money for travel and hotel possible and gave me an opportunity that I would have been sorry to miss.

PPWC set up an easy, low-stress way to mingle with the authors and industry professionals who are guests at the conference.

The panels and workshops I attended at PPWC ’18 were fantastic, but something that PPWC does that no other writing conference I’ve attended does is set up an easy, low-stress way to mingle with the authors and industry professionals who are guests at the conference. Each meal that is provided (there are so many meals, seriously, I’ve never been to a conference that provides so much food!) you’re able to sit where you like, but every table is assigned one of the conference guests. I got to sit by Mary Robinette Kowal at lunch and talk about whiskey and with Gabrielle Piraino at dinner and swap dog pictures. Both people were amazing to sit with, they talked with us and answered questions about the industry. The fact that this is not a time to pitch is a blessing, as it takes that pressure away and gives the opportunity to learn from them on a more personal basis. The only complaint about this setup: the tables are large, the room is noisy, and you either must sit close or strain your ears to hear anything.

Hearing that someone whom I admire has faced similar struggles and found ways to work through or around them is huge.

My highlights of the conference revolved primarily around Mary Robinette Kowal, who is an amazing writer, terrific at delivering a keynote, and an all-around fantastic person. As I mentioned, I was able to sit with her at one meal, and I attended many of the panels or presentations she gave. The one that really hit home for me was on the last day of the conference when she spoke very openly about her struggles with depression, and how she managed to get through a difficult time where all she could manage were three lines a day. This resonated with me for many reasons. I have depression and have faced times where getting out of bed was a big enough hurdle that even the thought of writing was more daunting than I could bear. Hearing that someone whom I admire has faced similar struggles and found ways to work through or around them is huge. Depression, and mental illness has historically been so stigmatized that even with how much better things are than they used to be, people still can find it difficult to admit to being depressed or to having anxiety for fear that people will think less of them. Listening to Mary talk about this made me think far more highly of her than I already did, and I hope to one day be able to inspire writers the way she inspired me.

To anyone on the fence about attending because they don’t recognize names on the program, don’t see any industry professionals they want to pitch to, or are financially challenged, I would encourage you to attend. Apply for a scholarship. Getting to know your fellow writers at the bar, sitting with someone new at lunch, or attending a class by someone you’ve never heard of and learning something new are all things that can and will happen if you give this fantastic conference a chance like I did.


Jenni WoodJenni Wood has loved to read and write fantasy for as long as she can remember. If she doesn’t have a book in hand, she probably has a mug of coffee. Jenni is married, and the mother of a sweet boy, a dog, and three crazy cats. When she’s not writing or reading, she enjoys sewing, cooking, video games, and gardening. Her short story “Daughter of the Western Winds” was published in Phantaxis magazine. 

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 Special Events, Part 2

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 is just around the corner.  Today, Karen Fox, PPWC Conference Director, shares some Conference extras that you won’t want to miss.  PPWC offers so many extras this year that they couldn’t all fit in one post.  Check back for more Special Events at PPWC 2018.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


We’ve already mentioned some of the great things happening at this year’s Pikes Peak Writers Conference, but there are even more!  Take a peek at the activities that were so popular, we’re bringing them back.

 

 

Write Drunk Edit Sober

Like to drink?  Silly question, we’re writers, aren’t we?  Once again, we offer the opportunity to Write Drunk and Edit Sober on Saturday night from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m. in the restaurant annex.  There is an extra charge of $25 for this event, but you get to taste several different beers and write to a prompt.   On Sunday morning, you’ll join us again in the restaurant annex at 10:10 a.m. (not too early, you notice) to edit the prose you wrote while drinking.  This is a win-win situation!  And you don’t have to participate in the Write Drunk portion if you want to sit in on the Edit Sober portion to see what emerged from the beer.  Be sure to select the Write Drunk, Edit Sober when you register.

 

The Shop Open Mike & Lab

If you enjoyed last year’s Open Mic session, you’ll have another opportunity on Saturday night following the banquet (approximately 9:00 p.m.) in Aspen Leaf.  Damon Smithwick, our emcee and last year’s host, will once again oversee the open mic.  Based on PPW’s monthly Shop, this event is an open mic with a twist.  The night starts with a forum, evolves into an open mic; and ends the night as a workshop for artists to premiere works in progress for critique.  Come, singers, poets, comics, rappers, storytellers.  This is your opportunity to grow as an artist.

 

Huge Book Signing Event

PPWC is holding a huge booksigning on Saturday afternoon from 5:45 – 7:00 p.m. in Aspen Leaf that features all the speakers at the conference, including keynotes–Jim Butcher, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jonathan Maberry and Mary Robinette Kowal.  You can bring up to two previously purchased books in with you to this signing, but all authors will have copies available as well.  This event is open to the public so feel free to invite family, friends and bookstore owners to attend.  Check out our list of amazing faculty here.

Annual On-Site Flash Fiction Contest

We’ll also be holding our annual on-site flash fiction contest which takes place during the conference.  If you can tell a phenomenal story in 100 words, this is the contest for you.  Details will be released during lunch on Friday and participants have until before dinner on Saturday to turn in their entry.  The winner will be announced during Sunday’s lunch.

 

Professional Head Shots

Need an author head shot?  It looks good on a website or better yet, a book cover.  Jared Hagen has slots available to take personal photos during the conference.  They only run $70 for a 225-minute photo shoot, which is dirt cheap which you know if you’ve priced this out already.  You’ll receive a CD of professional author photos to which you’ll own the rights.  Even better, Jared donates 50% of his proceeds back to the PPWC Scholarship fun.  This is win-win! Sign up for a time slot when you register for the conference. (I’ll attach my before and after shots if you want to use them.)

With all these enticements, don’t hesitate!  Go now to  https://www.regonline.com/ppwc2018 to register right now.


Karen Fox is PPWC 2018 Conference Director.  When not embroiled in the adventure and romance of her latest characters, Karen shares her house in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, her granddaughter, and four cats.  She has published eight paranormal romance novels, one short story and one young adult novella.  Her second book, SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, was a 1998 RITA Finalist for the Romance Writers of America.  She’s currently at work on a young adult urban fantasy and new romance.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 Special Events, Part 1

Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018 is just around the corner.  Today, Karen Fox, PPWC Conference Director, shares some Conference extras that you won’t want to miss.  PPWC offers so many extras this year that they couldn’t all fit in one post.  Check back for more Special Events at PPWC 2018.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


The Pikes Peak Writers Conference will run from April 27-29, 2018 with the full-day prequel on April 26, 2018.  But there’s more than that.  Here is information on some of the special events we’re offering that you’ll likely want to participate in as well (part 1 of 2).

Aside from over 40 workshops covering all aspects of commercial fiction writing, PPWC offers a chance to query a buying editor or agent or to visit with renowned published authors.   You’ll also have the opportunity to sit with these editors, agents and fantastic speakers at the meals.  The conference price includes seven meals throughout the weekend.  (Did I mention prime rib on Saturday night? Yum.)

 

Stitch, Pitch and Color

Start off your conference on Thursday night, 26 April 2018 by spending some time with Sourcebooks Editorial Director, Deb Werksman for Stitch, Pitch and Color.  This will be relaxing opportunity in the hotel library where attendees can pitch their works, knit or crochet along with Deb, or bring in a coloring book or other non-messy craft to share the time.  Even if you’re shy, this is a great opportunity to eavesdrop on an industry-knowledgeable editor while keeping your hands busy.

 

Zebulon Winners -Past and Present – Mix and Mingle

Are you a PPWC Contest winner?  The Pikes Peak Writers Conference has offered a writing contest for unpublished writers for decades.  Known at one time as the Paul Gillette Contest for Excellence in Fiction Writing, the Zebulon, as it’s now known, recognizes the talents of writers every year in a variety of genres.  This year, the conference has decided to open up a slot in the Eagles Nest room before the Contest Awards Banquet on Saturday night to allow all contest winners–past and present–to mingle and share in their experience of winning these awards.  Who has gone on to sell?  Who has an agent?  What secrets are there to maximizing this experience?  Networking and sharing information are two of the most valuable assets a writer can take away from a conference.

Fortune Pen Scholarship Fundraiser

The conference on-site fundraising opportunities go toward filling the scholarships for the next year and supporting the conference so we can bring in even better faculty, workshops and activities.    One way an attendee can help out this year is to buy a $10.00 PPWC fortune pen.  A $10.00 pen, you say?!! But this is no ordinary pen–inside is a piece of paper that lets you know which one of a wide montage of amazing prizes you might have won (all valued $10.00 and up).  There could be books on craft or fiction.  There could be a free night at the Marriott.  There could be wine.  Or a 50-page critique from an attending editor or agent.  Or a free prequel for 2019.  An attendee has to purchase a pen to find out.

 

Blind Date with a Book

Do you judge a book by its cover?  Most of us tend to do that.  Well, now you have to pick a book to read without seeing the cover.  The second fundraising opportunity at conference allows an attendee to go on a “Blind Date with a Book.”  For a donation, an attendee can get a book wrapped in brown-paper with only a short synopsis and genre on it.   Might be a mystery.  Or thriller.  Or science fiction.  Or romance.  But which one?

Keep looking for part 2 of this blog, which will detail even more on this year’s PPWC extra activities.


Karen is PPWC 2018 Conference Director.  When not embroiled in the adventure and romance of her latest characters, Karen shares her house in Colorado Springs, CO with her husband, her granddaughter, and four cats.  She has published eight paranormal romance novels, one short story and one young adult novella.  Her second book, SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, was a 1998 RITA Finalist for the Romance Writers of America.  She’s currently at work on a young adult urban fantasy and new romance.

SaveSave