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Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers

Interviews with members of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and those involved in RMFW conferences, workshops and other writing-related events. Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and educating writers seeking publication in commercial fiction.
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Now displaying: 2018
Dec 19, 2018

This time on the podcast we’ve got Rachel Delaney Craft with two worthy topics of conversation.

Rachel is co-editor, along Natasha Watts, and of the next RMFW short story anthology and she’s here with an announcement about the anthology’s theme.

If you’re planning on submitting a short story for this collection, which will be published in 2020, you’ll want to hear this.

Also, Rachel recently attended a workshop about the character-typing model known as Enneagrams and she thinks the system has some terrific insights for writers, too, in the character-development process.

She recently wrote a blog post about this workshop and she’s here to expound a bit more on this tool.

Rachel Craft writes middle grade, young adult, and speculative fiction. Her work has appeared in publications such as "Cricket," "Ask," and "Young Explorer's Adventure Guide," as well as the award-winning RMFW short story anthology Found.

Rachel lives and writes in Louisville, Colorado.

Rachel Delaney Craft's website

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Dec 13, 2018

David R Slayton grew up, as he puts, in a town where Norman Rockwell meets the Twilight Zone.

That town was Guthrie, Oklahoma—and it’s place where David said finding fantasy novels was challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible.

So what else to do but write your own? The first attempt ran to 200,000 words. It was a bit unwieldy. 

Years later, David found himself in Denver and even later found Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Now, David’s debut young adult fantasy, Ghost Dragon, will be published in January 2020 by Harmony Ink Press.

On the podcast, David walks us through the long journey to publication, describes what he means about writing stories set in worlds without prejudice, and gives us the lowdown on a very cool charity project he runs every year around Halloween called Trick or Read.

In addition to writing, David Slayton has taught workshops and appeared on panels at Denver Comic Con, the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and the League of Utah Writers Quills Conference.

By day he’s a software implementation consultant.

David R Slayton's website

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Nov 28, 2018

"Reading is a political act."

That’s the tag line for Colorado Resistance Reads, the brainchild of RMFW’s own Kate Jonuska.

Colorado Resistance Reads curates books by Colorado authors that engage with themes relevant to today’s tumultuous political climate, including climate change, the free press, LGBTQ+ rights, the me-too movement, the refugee crisis, authoritarianism and more. Rather than presenting any one point of view or political persuasion, states the Colorado Resistance Reads website, these books encourage thought and conversation about current events through the medium of story.


The Colorado #ResistanceReads list is also an active fundraiser.
Every participating author is donating 50 percent of the profits from the sale of their book from Black Friday (11/23) through Colorado Gives Day (12/4) to a charity of the author’s choice.

Kate Jonuska is a Colorado native with a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Denver who went into journalism after college to pay the rent. She has since wracked up a decade of experience writing features for top-notch regional publications, including the Denver Post, the (Boulder) Daily Camera, The (Colorado Springs) Gazette and Boulder Magazine, specializing in food, fitness, travel, and arts and entertainment.

Colorado Resistance Reads on Facebook

Colorado Resistance Reads website

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Nov 21, 2018

Dacia Arnold’s first novel, a science fiction entry called Apparent Power, launches next month.

It’s the first in a trilogy and it has already received a knock-out advance review from Kirkus, which called the book’s main character, Valerie Russell, "an exceptional protagonist."

In Apparent Power, a dormant gene awakens in a quarter of the world’s population and the effects are apocalyptic. With an even rarer gene, the life of Valerie Russell turns into a shocking race against time.

When the human body begins to require more electricity than needed to keep a heart beating, cars lose power, phones no longer function, and planes fall from the sky.

To say Dacia is an author and a mother would only be scratching the surface. She is an avid karaoke singer, master crafter and she is also a ten-year Army veteran who served two tours of combat as a medic, including fifteen months working in Baghdad Emergency room.

On the podcast, Dacia talks about what inspired the story and her plans for the next two installments.

Note: After the conversation with Dacia, this podcast includes a special excerpt from Reactance, a novella that’s connected to the main story in Apparent Power.

Dacia's website

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Nov 11, 2018

This time on the podcast, a special conversation with former RMFW Writer of the Year Susan Spann—currently immersed in a non-fiction project in Japan.

Susan is in the middle of a personal journey, one she is documenting for a book based on her ascents up the 100 highest summits in the land of rising sun.

The adventure is based, in Susan’s own words, on the desire to stop doing what was safe and what was expected of her.

Well, mission accomplished.

But the planning and work to move from California to Japan hit a major hurdle when Susan was diagnosed with cancer. Undaunted, Susan forged through months of cancer treatments and even visa issues and today is travelling all over Japan conquering summits and recording her climbs for the book.

Work on the non-fiction book is also helping with her fiction—Susan’s award-winning mystery series features sixteenth-century ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

One quick note: at about three-minutes into this interview we lost a few words from Susan due to the Skype connection or something but stay with it, you should be able to piece together what Susan is saying.

Susan Spann's website

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Oct 29, 2018

Futhark, the Runic aplphabet, is a key component in Marc Graham's process known as Runes for Writers.

The ancient system helps storytellers more easily access the realm of ideas, the world of the Muses, the Source of Story. By integrating left- and right-brain activity, Marc’s process seeks to open your awareness to the subconscious levels where true creativity takes place.

On the podcast, Marc gives us an overview of the process. Note: it’s for anyone who needs a creative boost to their imagination and who may be all the way stuck or completely stuck. The system is useful for a variety of needs: providing quick character sketches, aiding in character development, troubleshooting specific scenes, and even outlining your story from beginning to end

Marc also brings us to date with his book-related news—and it’s all upbeat.

Marc Graham published Of Ashes and Dust last year following years of work, writing and rewriting. Now, he’s got one book slated for release next more and several more projects in the cue and raring to go. As Marc says, giving up has never been an option. 

Marc Graham's website

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Oct 27, 2018

This episode of the Rocky Mountain Writer is a live recording of the event held at The Tattered Cover in Denver on Oct. 25th to celebrate the release of "False Faces," the latest short story anthology from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

The hosts for the evening were editors Angie Hodapp and Warren Hammond.

Writers at the event include Travis Heermann, Terry Kroenung, Amy Draper, Anne Therese Macdonald, Suzanne Proulx, Sue Duff, Angela Sylvaine, Andrea Poners, Saytchyn Maddux-Creech and Mark Stevens.

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Oct 16, 2018

Tim Weed’s recent short story collection, A Field Guide to Murder & Fly-Fishing, was recently released as an audio book, following the paperback release earlier this year and the hardback release in 2017.

The collection made the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award Grand Prize Shortlist and was a finalist in the short story category for both the 2018 American Fiction Awards and the 2017 International Book Awards.

His first novel, Will Poole’s Island, was named to Bank Street College of Education’s list of the Best Books of the Year.

Tim Weed is the co-founder of the Cuba Writers Program and has served as a featured expert for National Geographic Expeditions in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego. He’s the winner of a Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Award and a Solas Best Travel Writing Award, and his short fiction and essays have appeared in Literary Hub, Colorado Review, The Millions, Fiction Writers Review, Writer’s Chronicle, Backcountry, and many others.

Tim teaches at GrubStreet in Boston and in the Newport MFA in Creative Writing and, on the podcast, Tim recaps the workshop he gave at Colorado Gold this year, The Essentials of Voice in Fiction.

Tim's website

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Oct 5, 2018

It’s not often we get an excuse to include discussion of the theremin here on the Rocky Mountain Writer, so we had to jump at the chance when Laurence MacNaughton mentioned he’s been fiddling around with the strange musical device.

However, we would have Laurence on for any reason but in addition to the theremin, his new book No Sleep ‘Til Doomsday launches this month—the third in his fantasy series following It Happened One Doomsday and A Kiss Before Doomsday.

Laurence grew up in a creaky old colonial house in Connecticut that just might’ve been haunted. As a kid, he was a choirboy in a church built in 1754. He also pounded out stories on a shiny black Remington typewriter until he sold his first magazine article at age 19. Since then he’s written numerous novels, novellas, and short stories and his work has been praised by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, RT Book Reviews, Library Journal, and Booklist.

When he’s not writing, Laurence hikes and bikes in the Colorado Rockies, explores ghost towns, wrenches on classic cars, and, yes, plays the theremin.

Stay tuned after the Q & A for a sample of Laurence reading from No Sleep ‘Til Doomsday.

Laurence MacNaughton's website 

Outro music by Kelly Sweet, "In The Air Tonight."

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Sep 24, 2018

Todd Leatherman, who writes as TH Leatherman, published the third book in his ongoing sci-fi series earlier this month.

It's called Son Rise and it follows Marque of the Son, published last year, and The Burning Son, which debuted in 2016.

Todd makes his home in Firestone, Colorado. He enjoys science fiction, fantasy, wine making, and the Rocky Mountain lifestyle.

When not busy writing his next book, he can be found hiking with his wife and two sons or walking his rescued dogs. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from Regis University with a degree in Business Management and a minor in Psychology.

None of the writing or books would have happened but for a family tragedy more than twenty years ago, a moment that prompted Todd to become much more purposeful about his life and what he wanted to do and accomplish.

TH Leatherman's website

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Sep 20, 2018

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' 2018 Colorado Gold Conference was held from Sept. 7 - 9 at The Renaissance Hotel in Denver.

This year, podcast host Natasha Watts brought along her trust recorder and tracked a trio of newbies. She checked in with them on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to see conference through the eyes of first-time attendees.

Natasha's three conference newbies were EJ Gore, Herb Hardy, and Sandra Simmons.

This special report was recorded at the hotel and Natasha wishes to pass along her regrets that she couldn’t interview everyone else.

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Sep 18, 2018

This time on the podcast, two short stories and an interview with the writer, David S. Atinkson.

David, who was last on the podcast more than 18 months ago, is the author of the brand new volume of flash fiction, Roses are Red, Violets are Stealing Loose Change from my Pockets While I Sleep. He is also the author of Apocalypse All the Time, and the Nebraska book award-winning Not Quite so Stories. He is a Staff Reader for "Digging Through The Fat" and his writing appears in "Spelk," "Jellyfish Review," "Thrice Fiction," "Literary Orphans," and more.

The podcast starts with David reading one of the entries in Roses are Red.... and wraps up with another.

David's website

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Sep 4, 2018

Every year, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers runs a contest for unpublished writers. It's called Colorado Gold and the winners are announced during the annual conference (coming up this weekend, Sept. 6 through 9). There are five categories in the contest and, for each of the categories there are five finalists and, as a result, 25 finalists in all.

This year, savvy contest watchers will notice one name that pops up three times: Joy Meredith.

Joy has two finalists in the women’s fiction category and one in mainstream. The titles? Something Out of Nothing. That’s the mainstream entry. And Old Cravings and, finally, McSham and the Whim Wham—those are the entries in Women’s Fiction.

But neat categories are not exactly Joy Meredith’s cup of tea, as you will hear. She is eager to turn genres on their head and look for twists and unusual approaches.

Joy Meredith loves writing books about ordinary people in the midst of extraordinary circumstances. She believes allowing different foods to touch on her plate is a big no-no, but she’s fearless when it comes to mixing genres, with romance at the heart of all her stories. She lives outside Denver with her English husband, whom she married for his James Bond accent, and their three amazing children. To reflect her active lifestyle, Joy owns two pugs. She works as an elementary school librarian helping
children track down books almost exclusively about sharks or princesses. Or shark princesses. In her free time, she likes reading (duh), printing off healthy recipes she has no intention of cooking, and playing nerdy German-style board games.

Joy Meredith's website

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Aug 28, 2018

The first short story Maggie Smith ever wrote, "The Devil You Know," is being published in the brand new short story anthology, False Faces, from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Maggie is also giving a workshop next month at Colorado Gold—How to Get the Most out of A Developmental Edit. 

In addition, Maggie has a novel or two in the works and she is also the host of a new podcast that includes interviews with first-time novelists. The podcast is called "Hear Us Roar" and it’s produced for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.

Maggie is a former journalism major, Ph.D. psychologist, and entrepreneur who heads a nationally-known art consulting firm. Her household includes a husband and two college-age offspring.

Maggie is also proof that you don’t need to live in the Rocky Mountains to be an active participant in Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Maggie makes her home in Wisconsin.

Maggie Smith's website

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Aug 24, 2018

Liz Roadifer writes in two completely different worlds.

One work is dark thrillers. The other is romantic fantasy.

It’s the romantic fantasy that’s making news. Liz recently learned that The Trouble With Fairies won a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award in a major contest sponsored by First Coast Romance Writers.

As you’ll hear, it took a fair amount of persistence and working through dashed hopes to reach the point where she has a major national award on her shelf.

Besides writing novels, Liz Roadifer is a poet, columnist, and teacher. Her work has been published in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals.

Born and raised in New Jersey, Liz attended the University of Wyoming and fell in love with the wide-open sky, the high plains, and the friendly laid-back people of Wyoming.

You can catch Liz at Rocky Mountain Gold in September when she will be teaching a workshop on the Fifteen Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes.

Liz Roadifer's website

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Aug 17, 2018

Recorded live at The Tattered Cover on Tuesday, August 14—the annual panel for the finalists for Independent Writer of the Year and Writer of the Year, this year moderated by current Independent Writer of the Year Wendy Terrien.  Panelists included Sue Duff, Corinne O’Flynn, Bernadette Marie, Gwen Florio and Curtis Craddock. Mandy Mickulencek was not in attendance, alas.  Corinne is the Independent Writer of the Year and Gwen is the Writer of the Year—both will be recognized at Colorado Gold next month. 

And, thank you, Tattered Cover!

Aug 15, 2018

Linda Hull is the author of the Mrs. Frugalicious Mystery Series, a couple of romance novels, and The Big Bang – a book that Library Journal called a fun, sexy suburban soap opera with a touch of mystery. Linda, who lives in Denver, is a former Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer Writer of the Year.

Keir Graff is the Chicago-based author of several middle grade novels and he also writes crime and suspense fiction for adults. He is the co-editor, along with James Grady, of MONTANA NOIR, a short story anthology published by Akashic Books that generated an Edgar-award nominated story. By day, Keir is the executive editor of Booklist Publications.

Six years ago, Linda Hull and Keir Graff started working on a collaborative writing project set in the world of swingers.

After years of work, The Swing of Things publishes later this month Lake Union.

The book, under the combined author name Linda Keir, is a unique blend of suspense, graphic sex, and mystery. As one reviewer already put it, “In the case of The Swing of Things, there is no such thing as 'too much', only more. Please.”

Linda Joffe Hull's website

Keir Graff's website

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Aug 9, 2018

For decades, Jeanne Winer was a successful criminal defense attorney based in Boulder. Over 35 years she represented thousands of individuals and her cases have included murder and kidnapping and a death row case. 

Jeanne Winer also played a key role in a landmark civil rights case that worked its way all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

All along the way, Jeanne harbored a dream to write fiction. 

In 2012, Jeanne published her first novel The Furthest City Light through Bella Books and now, six years later Jeanne’s second novel, Her Kind of Case, is being published by Bancroft Books. In fact, it comes out next week (Aug. 15) and Jeanne has two upcoming launch events—one in her home town of Boulder and one in Denver.

Her Kind of Case has already drawn starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus and Library Journal. Longtime best-selling mystery writer Stephanie Kane called it “an entertaining story with an immense heart.”

As you will hear, Jeanne is humble, under-stated, and has it all in perspective.

Jeanne Winer's website

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Jul 26, 2018

Recently, RMFW started recognizing its Honored Guiding Members and this time on the podcast we’ve got the 2018 honoree, Janet Fogg.

Janet joined RMFW in 1993 after placing third in the Colorado Gold contest.


Rising early every day to write before heading off to her day job as CFO and Managing Principal of an architecture firm, Janet wrote four manuscripts before receiving a contract for her first traditionally published novel, Soliloquy, a HOLT Medallion Award of Merit winner.


After 29 years she resigned from the firm and now splits her working days between writing and serving on the Board of Directors of a different architectural firm.

The writing, as you will hear on the podcast, never stopped.

For RMFW, her volunteer work is impressive. She has judged contest, volunteered at the registration desk, at agent sign-in, as a moderator and instructor, and on the committee reviewing potential workshops.

She regularly contributed to RMFW's blog, has chaired Writer of the Year and Independent Writer of the Year nomination committees, created guidelines for a potential, future RMFW Mentor Program, and has served on the Board of Directors as Published Author Liaison and more recently, as Vice-President.

Last year, she assumed primary responsibility for RMFW's "It's a Book" promotional mailer.

No question about it, Janet Fogg is certainly a very worthy Honored Guiding Member.

Janet's website

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Jul 23, 2018

Warren Hammond is never lost in space.

In fact, he’s quite at home away from planet Earth

His KOP trilogy was set on a planet called Lagarto and his standalone, The Tides of Maritinia was set on, you guessed it, a planet called Maritinia.

This time around, Hammond’s sci-fi storytelling shifts to Mars and features a female detective named Denver Moon.

The opening entry in the series, co-written by Josh Viola, is Denver Moon: The Mind of Mars and it just came out this summer.

On the podcast, Hammond talks about the process of collaborating with another writer, discusses his love for atmosphere in storytelling, and catches us up on on the new RMFW short story anthology, coming out in September. 

Warren Hammond is the author of four science fiction novels, many short stories, and a graphic novel. His 2012 novel, KOP Killer, won the Colorado Book Award for best mystery.

Warren is also chief intoxicologist and co-host of the popular Critiki Party podcast.

Warren's website

Hex Publishers

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Jul 19, 2018

Kerry Anne King’s Whisper Me This officially launches on August 1 but it’s already being reviewed on Amazon and is ranked way up there among all top fiction – in fact, when we recorded this interview, ranked at number 12.

That is one of the advantages of being a Lake Union author and, in this case, an author who receives the Reader’s First Pick promotion that sends your title out to the vast Amazon audience.

So Kerry Anne King is certainly having a moment and that means that Kerry Schafer is also having a moment because both writers are the same person—the Whisper Me This writer produces more straightforward women’s fiction, three titles to date, while Kerry Schafer is known for fantasy with about nine novels to date.

In either form, Kerry is prolific, imaginative and relentlessly upbeat.

Kerry spends her days working as a registered nurse. She spins her tales early in the morning and in the evenings after work. She believes passionately in the idea of the "whole self" and is ever in pursuit of balancing mind, body, and spirit.

In fact, on the podcast, Kerry fills us in on a new project she’s started called Creative Wellness Retreats and those retreats start next year on Whidbey Island north of Seattle.

Kerry Anne King

Creative Wellness Retreats

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Jul 7, 2018

As Carol Berg puts it, the difference that a single word can make is “pretty amazing.”

And Carol should know.

She has written 15 epic fantasy novels that have won national and international awards, including three Colorado Book Awards and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature.

Her stories have appeared in the BlackGuards anthology (2016) and the Hath No Fury anthology (2018). She has a fantasy-detective story in Pulp Literature magazine (Issue 10), and a novelette follow-up to her award-winning novel Song of the Beast in the Lace and Blade 4 anthology (May 2018). She is also two-time RMFW Writer of the Year.

So Carol knows words and on Saturday, July 14 out in Grand Junction she is giving a free program called “The Right Words.” 

On the podcast, Carol gives us a sneak peek at her thoughts about words and what attendees at the workshop can expect.

She also talks a bit about a big secret project now in the works.

Carol's website

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Jun 30, 2018

Eragon. Eldest. Brisingr. Inheritance.

Those four titles should ring a bell, specifically the name of writer Christopher Paolini.

Christopher, with 35 million books in print, is one of the keynote speakers at the 2018 edition of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Colorado Gold conference and we’ve got him on the podcast for a sneak peek of his themes and messages.

For those who don’t know, Christopher was fifteen when he wrote the first draft of Eragon. In its first edition, it was a book published by his family in 2001.

Two years later, the book was scooped up by a major publisher and it was an instant success, reaching a worldwide audience. Christopher's second novel Eldest was published in 2005, followed by Brisingr in 2008. Inheritance, the fourth and final book in the cycle was published with a first printing of 2.5 million copies.

As you’ll hear, despite the fact that parents have named children after his characters, Christopher is humble and under-stated—another writer who enjoys thinking about the art, and mechanics, of telling a good story.

Christopher Paolini's website

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Jun 15, 2018

Fresh off the publication of her highly-praised first novel Transference last year, Kate Jonuska turned around right this year with release of a book she wishes was available before she first started writing.

It’s a dictionary.

More specifically, The Dictionary of Fiction Critique: How to read like a writer in order to give and receive constructive critique.

The idea was borne as Kate shuttled between two critique groups, sharing concepts and ideas and terminology that helped her learn the essentials of writing fiction.

Part A-Z dictionary and part writing crash course, the Dictionary of Fiction Critique is your survival guide of the wild, wacky world of the fiction critique group. The dictionary attempts to demystify the creation of story, explains how to read like a writer, and gives you the language with which to discuss your craft with peers, including terms like head hopping, omniscience, genre dissonance, reality violation, info dump, talking heads and yes, more cowbell.

Kate Jonuska is a Colorado native with a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Denver. She has since wracked up a decade of experience writing features for top-notch regional publications, including the Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera, The Colorado Springs Gazette and Boulder Magazine, specializing in food, fitness, travel, and arts and entertainment.

Kate Jonuska's website

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Jun 7, 2018

As a fiction writer, Teresa Funke celebrates ordinary people. In fact, she takes a very unusual approach to her stories—they are all based on interviews with real people.

Teresa’s latest is War on a Sunday Morning. Written for readers age nine and up, War on A Sunday Morning is about a 13-year-old girl named Rose Williams. Rose has trouble fitting in. She is shy. Every time her family moves to a new navy base, she wishes she could be more like her fearless brother. And then, on a Sunday morning in December of 1941, Rose hears the roar of low-flying planes. Soon, Rose realizes that, scared or not, everyone must be daring in times of war.

War on A Sunday Morning is the fifth book in Theresa’s Home Front Heroes novels, which have all focused on different conflicts and different main characters.

Theresa’s short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Two of her essays were listed as Notable Essays by the prestigious "Best American Essays" series. She also writes a popular blog, "Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life."

Teresa's website

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