Posts Tagged ‘ppwc 2018’

Finding My Tribe – PPWC 2018

I was surprised and excited to be awarded a partial scholarship to PPWC 2018. Even though it was listed as a “half” scholarship, it included all of Thursdays prequel workshops, so it came out to a 75% scholarship. It was so awesome, I just had to come up with the remaining $200. I’ve been practicing the Law of Attraction and the $200 was provided right away.

Magic

The conference was so great – my very first class was on magic, taught by Johnny Worthen, an eccentric author who wears bright, original tie-dye t-shirts with shorts. It was like I was attending Hogwarts. I loved it.

I went on from there to attend and learn from so many types of classes and teachers, from the craft of writing to running my new career as a business. I learned about a website platform tailored to authors – PubSite – and am now building my own author platform using this easy website builder.

I knitted at the craft gathering on Thursday night and even got to run a future story by editor Deb Werksman.

Law of Attraction

Using the Law of Attraction I was able to pitch to all three agents I wanted to – PPWC had extra Query 1-on-1 spots to fill and one of the pitches just happened naturally. They were all busts though the feedback I got on my query letter was awesome. I had good success when a friend connected me to a literary director and I got to pitch to her, too.

First Page

I really enjoyed the First Page critique – I connected with Steve Staffel there, who took the whole class out to some couches for a continued discussion after our workshop was over – that was unexpected and special. He gave me wonderful feedback and I reworked my whole first page. For the rest of the weekend, both Steve and Deb spoke to me as we ran into each other – what great connections!

Finding My Tribe

At the end of the conference Deb asked me what was my biggest highlight? “I’ve found my tribe,” I told her. Right from the beginning I was connecting and conversing with authors and writers and editors and we all share this incredible weirdness and creativity – we speak the same language. We dive deep into our own inner worlds and bravely share these crazy experiences with the world. Though we come from all types of backgrounds and viewpoints, there was no judgment from anyone – I felt completely safe being my weird self with all these folks.

I loved connecting with all the writers in all various stages of writing, both published and unpublished, it was a treasure.
I wish we could all get together again before next April. I can’t wait to attend in 2019!

PPWC 2019

Applications are still being accepted for PPWC 2019, “It Takes a Tribe”. You will find more information on the scholarship page of PPW’s website. Deadline to apply for a scholarship is January 11, 2019. Registration is now open for all who will be attending. Find your tribe in 2019!

 


Jerilyn WinsteadIn her 20’s, Jerilyn Winstead was active in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), then recently got into LARPing (Live Action Role Play). Costumes + adventure! She participates in both Middle Earth-style (elves, hobbits, dwarves, etc.) and in post-apocalyptic (zombies!). One day she dreams of attending the Hogwarts-inspired LARPs. Until  then, follow her adventures on her website.

Reflections from PPWC 2018

In 2018 the Ron Cree Memorial Scholarship was established. This post, by Tracy Neis, is dedicated to Ron’s memory.

Scholarship recipient, Tracy Neis, shares her experiences from 2018 PPWC, Don’t Quit!

I just returned home from my second trip to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference. The last time I went (in 2011), I had applied for a scholarship at the suggestion of my dear childhood friend, Ron Cree. I won the scholarship and flew out to Colorado to attend the event. Ron picked me up at the airport and hosted me at his condo. A few months after I returned home, I signed a contract to publish my first novel through a small Southern California-based publishing house. The road to publication has been long and winding, but my book, Mr. R, was finally released November 7, 2018.

Late in 2017, Ron suggested I apply for another scholarship to attend the PPWC so I could pick up some pointers for marketing my book. He once again offered to collect me at the airport and host me at his condo. I applied for the second scholarship, won, and booked my flight to Denver. Then on March 25, 2018, Ron died of a sudden heart attack. His presence loomed over me throughout my attendance at this year’s conference.

With a heavy heart I flew into Denver on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. I was looking forward to attending this year’s conference and meeting up with some of Ron’s friends. But I knew this year’s PPWC would not be the experience I’d envisioned when I applied for and received my scholarship.

2018 Speakers were Great!

That’s not to say it wasn’t wonderful. The speakers were great – especially Aaron Michael Ritchey and Johnny Worthen. The quirky workshops gave me a lot of ideas for my next novel (I now know several poisons I can include in my forthcoming cozy mystery, which I’m planning to set on a farm in Ohio). I learned a lot about monsters and Magick. And Friday night’s keynote speaker, Mary Robinette Kowal, was worth the price of my plane fare, rent-a-car and hotel fee put together. She was hysterical, inspiring, and entertaining in every way.

But I missed my childhood friend. At every meal, I heard his name spoken when the emcee announced the PPWC’s scholarship program was going to be renamed in his honor. Ron’s friends and I toasted him at every lunch and dinner (and with many drinks at the bar as well). We shared stories about him throughout the weekend and mimicked the catch phrases he liked to use (“You had one thing to do!”).

Garden of the Gods

Then on Sunday morning, before I headed back to the Denver Airport, one of Ron’s closest friends took me to the Garden of the Gods and showed me the spot where Ron’s memorial service had been held the previous weekend. The roses his family had left by a flat rock on a hillside were still there. Untouched by the elements, they were as white as the snowcap on Pikes Peak. As the two of us drove through the park, a bobcat crossed our path. We stopped our truck and watched it through the window. It stared back at us for several seconds before running off into the foliage.


Tracy NeisTracy Neis is the author of the newly released novel, Mr. R (Mischievous Muse) – a contemporary retelling of Jane Eyre – and the YA collective biography, Extraordinary African American Poets (Enslow). She lives in Southern California, where she works as a professional resume writer.

So Many Choices at PPWC 2018!

Scholarship recipient, Alice Andersen, shares her experiences from 2018 PPWC, Don’t Quit!

When I attended PPWC 2018, it was my second writing conference experience. For me, the conference was like entering a candy store. Each session offered tempting choices between craft, publishing, marketing, roundtables, and panel discussions. Sadly, it was impossible to have it all. Yikes! How could I choose one over another when I had so much to learn?

Because I had a complete but unpublished manuscript, my focus was not only on the craft sessions, but on that dreaded thing called networking. For me, Networking could be the title of a Stephen King horror film. I did my best though and found that among writers, conversations practically start themselves. I came away with several entertaining stories and a stack of business cards for keeping in touch. Not bad for an introvert.

And to my delight, I found that when I skipped a session to work as a volunteer, there were even more chances to speak with writers and compare notes. In addition, the keynote speakers, Laurell K Hamilton, Mary Robinette Kowal, Jonathan Mayberry, and Bob Mayer, shared enough of themselves to not only provide inspiration, but add to a sense of community and belonging.

Read & Critique

The Read & Critique was new to me. What a nerve-wracking opportunity, to read a page of my writing to a room full of people. I was unhappy with the first page of my finished manuscript and debated whether or not to read something less than my best. The answer was easy. Not a chance! I read my favorite opening from an unfinished work instead. I have to say the agent in charge, Gabrielle Piraino, was harsh and honest and filled with great ideas on ways to improve the page. I gave her my best and she told me how to make it better. Yes, it was painful to have my work shredded, but her ideas made for a better opening and I needed to hear them.

Query Day

Saturday was query day and a chance to share good, bad, and ugly ideas with an agent. Suffice it to say, I had all three. Query appointments should include a lie detector test so we know what those agents really think. If not a lie detector, maybe a choice of two buttons for them to push; one that emits diabolical laughter and another that shoots out confetti.

And not to deflect, but was that an over-used semi-colon in the above paragraph? After meeting a few editors at the conference, I know just who to ask.

Layering and Editing

My surprising top take-away came from the final two sessions on Sunday. Faced with info overload, I expected to be a little tuned out on that last day. Instead, I thoroughly enjoyed a session on layering. Callie Stoker’s presentation, along with her colorful method and hands on demonstration about editing, was just what I needed to make my own work shine.

With so many useful presentations at PPWC, I’ll be studying my notes for weeks to come. The awesome presenters, the hard-working volunteers, and the keynote speakers all gave me the knowledge and the inspiration I need to keep on writing. For now though, I have to visit Amazon. There are books to buy, authors I’m hyped to read, and many more choices and ideas brought home from the conference to focus on. Thanks to the PPWC crew for a great conference experience!

If you, or someone you know, would like to apply for one of PPW’s scholarships please start here to learn more and to fill out your application. Deadline to apply is January 11, 2019.


Alice AndersenAlice Andersen discovered a renewed love for writing after moving to the Western Slope of Colorado. She returned to school to earn a literature degree from Colorado Mesa University, after which she completed her first detective novel. She is currently at work on the second. She dabbles in speculative fiction and fantasy, and has several short stories published. As a military spouse, Alice has lived in numerous locations but she grew up on the Gulf Coast and remains a Texan at heart.

Join her on Twitter @AliceAndersen4

PPW Prez Says, 2nd Quarter 2018

Readers, today we hear from Bowen Gillings, president of Pikes Peak Writers. Look for the Prez Says Column each quarter as Bowen keeps Pikes Peak Writers informed.


Prez Says

Report on the June 2018 PPW Board Meeting

Hello! Your Pikes Peak Writers Board of Directors met on June 7th to cover a full agenda and here is what’s fit to print for you, dear reader.

I will lead with one of the last items we discussed: volunteering with PPW and PPWC (conference). If you do not know, Pikes Peak Writers is run entirely by volunteers. That means everything we do, every event you attend, or post you see online is made possible by dedicated individuals generously giving of their time and talent.

We need more volunteers.

Many members have volunteered for a long time—some for a very, very long time—and they are getting tired, which is understandable, inevitable, and expected. We would love to get some new blood in the mix. PPW needs volunteers to help out with functions ranging from social media and marketing to membership management, volunteer coordination, and helping run the organization as members of the Board of Directors. All of our volunteer needs can be found on the website at https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/about/key-volunteers/ and at https://www.pikespeakwriters.com/about/support-ppw/volunteer-opportunities/.

Speaking of the Board, elections are in September. Open positions will be President, Secretary, NCE Director, and Member at Large. Serving on the Board does take some time and dedication. Reach out to any one of us for a sense of what it takes. But, believe me, it is worth it when you see how PPW positively affects the writing community.

Members at Large (MAL) are voting members of the Board who hold no additional Board duties. MALs help out as eyes, ears, and voices contributing to Board decisions. Often MAL is a good start if you’re curious about helping lead this great organization. Up to eight MAL positions may be accepted on the Board this year.

Stacy Jensen has done an outstanding job as our Board Secretary, but is not seeking reelection. Linda Tschappet has gone above and beyond as our Non-Conference Events Director and now is working with Laura Hayden on running the 2019 Conference. So, she’ll be busy. Both ladies have won our Volunteer of the Year Award for their services.

I have enjoyed my 18 months as your president. However, it is time for someone else to take over the reins. I will stay on the Board in the voting position of Immediate Past President until 2020. Also, I am running programming for the 2019 Conference. So, like Linda T., I will be busy.

Nominations for Board positions must be in by the end of August, 2018. While you do have to be a PPW member to run, no prior experience with the Board is necessary for any open position. If you are interested in running, submit a one-page letter detailing your position of interest, your qualifications, and a short bio to president@pikespeakwriters.com or secretary@pikespeakwriters.com. Write “Board Nomination 2018” in the subject line. 

The Board also reviewed the 26th Annual Pikes Peak Writers Conference. What a rousing success it was. Anyone who attended knows that PPWC 2018 set a new standard in fun, networking, learning, and general literary awesomeness. 

What many of you don’t know is all the hard work that went into making it such a great event. Kudos to conference director Karen Fox and her amazing staff of volunteers who gave it their all to make sure every attendee had a great weekend. Our thanks as well to keynotes Jonathan Maberry, Mary Robinette Kowal, Laurelle K. Hamilton, and Bob Mayer, and to all the faculty, agents, and editors. I have added being a co-emcee with Mary Robinette Kowal to my bucket list. Those who came to conference know why.

We also discussed how to honor PPW members in memorium. This past year saw the loss of two visibly involved members, Ron Cree and Steve Nelson. Finding ways to honor them without setting further precedent that may hamstring the organization in future was the focus. To that end, the Board decided to return the scholarship fund back to it’s general name of Pikes Peak Writers Conference Scholarship Fund and create two scholarships under it dedicated to Ron and Steve and available to writers who meet certain criteria. More details on these will come shortly. Once finalized, they can be found on the website’s scholarships page.

Many other topics were discussed and, to save space, I will address them in the form of a no-nonsense bullet list:

  • The Board appointed a representative to work with the Webmaster to help streamline our transition to new Internet platforms and tools.
  • A second phase to our Writing is Art partnership with Cottonwood Center for the Arts is under way. March 2018’s showing exceeded expectations. Keep checking the website for new submission guidelines.
  • The Board is looking for someone to take the lead in creating a PPW Anthology. Anyone interested in details can contact president@pikespeakwriters.com.
  • We are dissolving the PPW Yahoo! Group. This legacy item served us well for 16 years, but has become a dinosaur seeing little use save for people promoting their own material. It will be gone by the end of August. Those affected are invited to checkout our Pikes Peak Writers Connect group forum on Facebook.

Thank you for engaging with Pikes Peak Writers. If you have questions about PPW and how it works, please reach out to me. The address is president@pikespeakwriters.com.

Thank you.

Bowen Gillings

President

Pikes Peak Writers

Crafting Authentic Books for Boys

Today’s post is from Darby Karchut, one of the six authors who participated in Write Your Heart Out 2018.  

Each of these talented individuals gave us a taste of the in-depth session they’ll be presenting at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018: Cindi Madsen, LS Hawker, M.B. Partlow, Kristy Ferrin, Debbie Maxwell Allen, and Darby Karchut.

For those who missed Your Heart Out, today Darby Karchut shares her expertise on Writing for Boys.Darby has a passion and an uncanny ability to get into the heads of middle-school aged boys. Read up here and consider attending her session at Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018.  You won’t regret it.  -Gabrielle V Brown, Managing Editor


For folks who weren’t able to attend the 6th Annual Write Your Heart Out (the Pikes Peak Writers Conference’s sneak preview) on Saturday, March 3rd, I’m pleased to share an overview from my presentation entitled “This One’s for the Boys: Crafting Authentic Books for Boys.”

Based on the stages of their brain development, boys are more likely to:

  • act on impulse
  • misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions
  • engage in dangerous or risky behavior
  • unable to see potential consequences of their actions
  • struggle to modify their dangerous or inappropriate behaviors
  • tend to lag socially behind girls, and not catch up both physically and mentally until the teen years

That said:

  • they are capable of great insight and worldly reflections, mature emotions and mature decision-making, but they cannot sustain it for long periods
  • hence the rollercoaster we often see in older children and teens
  • Children mature differently at this age; okay to write unsophisticated teens
  • But, they all have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood, especially in MG and younger teen books
  • Dialogue should reflect this back-and-forth

Think about:

  • Starting your story with a bang (physical or emotional)
  • Throughout the story, ask boy questions:

How do I position myself with others?

How do I become a man?

Whom do I model myself after?

What do I aspire to do and to be?

  • Writing up, not down (honor your reader’s intelligence)
  • Making every character the hero of his own story (even the villain)
  • Using smart humor: body fluids/sounds can only go so far
  • Appealing to your reader’s sense of mischief; make them laugh, especially after an intense scene

Something I noticed:

  • Boys act and talk side-by-side
  • Girls act and talk face-to-face
  • Boys touch each other more than they used to (hands on shoulders, etc.)

What my male students told me:

  • Don’t minimize emotions (boys have them, just express them differently)
  • They are more clued into things than adults give them credit for, but sometimes, they don’t care
  • The boys wondered why book after book have horrible parents, so don’t be afraid to incorporate decent adult figures

Writing for boys—especially our middle school guys—is my passion. Why? I don’t know. It just seems that my world view’s default setting is from the perspective of a twelve year old boy. Does it matter? Nope. Not one bit. I write me. You write you. It’s all good. But I can tell you that boys who read grow up to become men who think and feel. Reason enough.


Darby Karchut is a multi-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. When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy at her writing desk. Her books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her latest book, DEL TORO MOON, releases Fall 2018 from Owl Hollow Press. She is represented by Amanda Rutter at Red Sofa Literary. Visit the author at www.darbykarchut.com

 

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