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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: Category: writing
Mar 30, 2020

For as long as she can remember, Melissa Payne has been telling stories in one form or another—from high school newspaper articles to a graduate thesis to blogging about marriage and motherhood.

But she first learned the real importance of storytelling when she worked for a residential and day treatment center for abused and neglected children.

There she wrote speeches and letters to raise funds for the children. The truth in those stories was piercing and painful and written to invoke in the reader a call to action: to give, to help, to make a difference.

Melissa’s love of writing and sharing stories in all forms has endured.

She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with her husband and three children, a friendly mutt, a very loud cat, and the occasional bear.

The Secrets of Lost Stones is her first novel.

Melissa Payne's website.

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Mar 22, 2020

ZJ Czupor is co-chair, with Sue Hinkin, of the Colorado Gold Rush Literary Awards sponsored by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. ZJ also serves as vice president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and writes a monthly column, “The Mystery Minute,” which appears at www.rmmwa.org.

Mindy McIntyre is a proud member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. She also moderates the Aspen Grove critique group and, after years of judging and doing intake for Colorado Gold, she’s serving as the Judging Coordinator for the Gold Rush Literary Awards.

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Mar 15, 2020

Diane Byington has been a tenured college professor, yoga teacher, psychotherapist, and executive coach. Also, she raised goats for fiber and once took a job cooking hot dogs for a NASCAR event. She still enjoys spinning and weaving, but she hasn’t eaten a hot dog or watched a car race since.

Besides reading and writing, Diane loves to hike, kayak, and photograph sunsets. She and her husband divide their time between Boulder, Colorado, and Dunedin, Florida.

Diane's latest novel is If She Had Stayed.

Diane's website

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Mar 11, 2020

Melissa Koons is a writer, blogger, and book formatter for Write Illusion. She has won 3 awards for her writing and has multiple traditionally and independently published works. She works at the University of Colorado by day and publishes by night.

Thomas A. Fowler is the author of nerdy things. Starting out in theater and film, he shifted over to writing science fiction and found his passion. An
award-winning author, he can be found in several anthologies and has self-published others. His debut novel, The Thales, the first in the Rising
Current trilogy, was released in November of 2019. When not writing, Fowler can be found with his wife, son, and three daughters or indulging in all
things entertainment.

An important note: This interview was recorded before Melissa and Thomas decided to step back from Spine Press & Post. However, the content is still useful and relevant to authors of all stripes. Melissa can be found at writeillusionllc.com and Thomas can be found at thomasafowler.com.

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Mar 8, 2020

International bestselling author Wendy Terrien received her first library card at age two, and a few years later started writing her own stories.

Wendy is Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2017-2018 Independent Writer of the Year.

Her debut novel, The Rampart Guards, earned a Kirkus starred review and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016.

The novel is a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Award Finalist, a bronze medal winner from Readers’ Favorites, and is the first in her intriguing urban fantasy series.

Next in the series were two book two's (Wendy explains on the podcast) - The League of Governors and The Clan Calling.

Book three in the series, just out, is The Forge of Bonds.

Wendy Terrien's website

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Feb 27, 2020

Kate Lansing lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, three-year-old daughter, and a chair-napping tabby cat named Maple.

Her love for mysteries began when she devoured From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a young girl, and has grown from there.

An award-winning short story author, her work has appeared in the Brave New Girls Anthology and the Crossing Colfax Anthology. She’s a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

Her debut novel will be released in May. It's called Killer Chardonnay.

Kate Lansing's website 

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Feb 22, 2020

Nathan Lowell has been a full time self published author since 2012. His goal in 2020 is to write 2000 new words every day and publish as many of them as he can. With 16 novels and more on the way, he always looks for ways to help new voices find their audiences. He's been a member of RMFW for many years and currently serves on the board of Science-Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as their chief financial officer. Nathan's latest release, just out this month, is Cape Grace.

Nathan's website.

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Feb 14, 2020

Kristy Ferrin - a.k.a. K. Ferrin - is the author of the stand alone young adult fantasy novel Magicless as well as the new adult fantasy series Magicfall. She is an engineer by day, a word slinger by night, and fills the cracks in between with mountain adventures with her husband and a 50 lb. hair-ball that goes by the name Emma. Kristy is an active member of the RMFW community. She has
taught workshops on everything from world building to WordPress at the Colorado Gold Writers conference as well as on the Western Slope, and has recently taken on the role of Technology Chair for the organization.

K. Ferrin's website

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Feb 7, 2020

Carol Berg is an award-winning and bestselling author of fifteen epic fantasy novels and half a dozen novellas and short stories.

She also writes the fantasy adventure series Chimera under the pen name Cate Glass. Her new book, just out, is A Conjuring of Assassins.

Though Carol's home has a great view of the Colorado Rockies, she has lived a large portion of her life in realms of mystery and adventure - Middle Earth, Camelot, Amber, Wonderland, Harry Dresden's Chicago, Jim Chee's New Mexico, Cheltenham race track or the colleges of Oxford, Victorian London, Cold War Berlin, the Welsh borderlands, River Heights, Marvel's version of Hell's Kitchen...you get the drift.

While studying mathematics and software engineering at Rice University and the University of Colorado respectively, Carol Berg carved out a special place for studies in English and History of Art and reading, reading, reading.

A few years into a career as a software development engineer, she took up a hobby of writing her own fiction. 

Carol enjoys binge-watching movies and (well-written!) TV, as well as camping, hiking, and biking with her mechanical engineer spouse. They have three sons who juggle music and teaching, software and carpentry, rocket science and ice hockey.

Website

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Jan 29, 2020

Dacia M Arnold is an award-winning American novelist, mother, and ten-year Army Veteran. She is the author of dystopian science fiction. As a freelance writer, Dacia contributes monthly to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s blog where she shares her relatively brief experience in the literary world. Her nonfiction as also appeared in New York Times Magazine. She lives in Denver with her husband, two human children, and two beagle children. Dacia's latest novel is Resistance.

Dacia's website

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Jan 20, 2020

Harper McDavid (a.k.a Mary Johnson) lives in Morrison with her husband, two dogs and big-boned cat. Her debut novel, Zapata, a romantic suspense, was published in 2019 by Soul Mate Publishing. She’s been a Colorado Gold finalist twice and is currently pantsing her way through a second novel, Proximity of Betrayal, which was a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Romantic Suspense. Mary attributes a large part of her writing success to the critique partners she met through Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

Harper McDavid's website

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Jan 11, 2020

Freelance writer, novelist, editor, Travis Heermann is the author of eight novels, including The Hammer Falls, Death Wind, and The Ronin Trilogy, plus short fiction in Apex Magazine, Cemetery Dance, and others.

His freelance work includes contributions to the Firefly Roleplaying Game, Battletech, Legend of Five Rings, and EVE Online.

In addition, Travis writes novels for young adults under the pen name T. James Logan. His latest for the YA crowd is Dawn of the Deadly Fang.

Travis Heerman's website

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Jan 3, 2020

We have two guests on the podcast to start off 2020—the authors of the new novel Enforcer.

Kevin Ikenberry is a life-long space geek, retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, and science fiction writer. His debut novel Sleeper Protocol was heralded as “an emotionally powerful debut” by Publisher’s Weekly. He is the author of The Protocol War series and the Peacemaker novels in the best-selling Four Horsemen Universe.

Quincy J. Allen is a cross-genre author with dozens of short story credits and six novels under his belt. He continues work on his Blood War Chronicles
in the ShadowGate universe and with Marc Edelheit on the Way of Legend fantasy series. Quincy will be releasing novels in 2020 in several series and expects to be busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Kevin Ikenberry's website

Quincy J. Allen's website

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Dec 14, 2019

Award-winning young adult author Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn’t recovered from the teenage trauma of accidentally tweezing off both eyebrows, or that time she crashed her car into a tree while trying impress a guy. Her mom is not at all surprised that Lisa ended up writing romantic comedies. Lisa’s novels have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal. She lives in Colorado with her family of humans and furry divas and loves to connect with readers on the interwebs. Her latest book is The Bookworm Crush. Kirkus Reviews raved. “Roberts,” said Kirkus, “has the teen voice down pat.”

Lisa Brown Roberts' website

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Dec 7, 2019


Jennifer Kincheloe is a research scientist and writer of historical mysteries. Her novels take place in 1900's Los Angeles among the police matrons of the LAPD combining mystery, history, humor, and romance.

Jennifer’s novels have been finalists in the Lefty Awards, the Macavity Awards, the Colorado Author's League Awards, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, and she has won the Mystery and Mayhem Award and the Colorado Gold.

Jennifer grew up in Southern California, but has traveled to such places as Greenland, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, and Papua New Guinea. She’s been a a nurse's aid, a fragrance model, and she has worked on the research faculty at UCLA, where I spent 11 years conducting studies to inform health policy

Jennifer’s latest book in the Anna Blanc mystery series is The Body in Griffith Park.

Stay tuned after the interview for a sample from the audio book, just released this month.

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Nov 25, 2019

Dan Grant is the bestselling thriller writer of The Singularity Witness and, more recently, Thirteen Across. He loves intriguing tales that weave science, medicine, technology, or history into the fabric of the drama.

Dan is a licensed professional engineer with degrees from Northern Arizona University: a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and masters in English with an emphasis in creative writing. His engineering work has provided opportunities to work with a variety of medical and technological applications. As a storyteller, he strives to make learning about science/medicine/tech fun—playing on conspiracies—and writing thrillers is a great way to do that.

Thirteen Across received Distinguished Favorite recognition from the New York City Big Book Awards. “Sizzles with revelations, double crossings, and seemingly shifting alliances,” said Kirkus Reviews and “unreservedly recommended” said Midwest Book Review.

Dan lives in Colorado and is working on his next science/medical thriller The Singularity Transfer.

Dan's website 

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Nov 18, 2019

Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo. The latest in the series, BGhost of the Bamboo Road, was published this month.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan Spann is also the author of Climb, a non-fiction account of climbing 100 summits in Japan that will be published next summer.

Susan Spann's website

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Nov 4, 2019

Laura VanArendonk Baugh was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth and unable to walk, and in time she became a behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized animal trainer, a costumer/cosplayer, a chocolate addict, and of course a writer. Now she is an award-winning author of speculative fiction, mystery, and non-fiction.

Laura's works have earned numerous accolades, including 3-star (the highest possible) ratings on Tangent‘s “Recommended Reading” list and a Realm Award, as well as a Pushcart Prize nomination and other awards.

Laura has been writing for fun and profit since elementary school, and she credits this hobby with keeping her off the streets and out of worse trouble. This month, she’s participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) yet again and that’s the main subject of this conversation. 

Laura also owns Canines In Action, Inc. where she particularly enjoys working with crazy, over-the-top dogs and arousal/aggression cases. She is also a faculty member of the highly-regarded Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior and is certified in TAGteach for human behavior. Laura speaks professionally on a variety of topics throughout the year, sessions often filling months in advance.

Laura's website

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Oct 28, 2019

Teresa Funke embodies the modern artist/entrepreneur. She is the owner of Teresa Funke & Company, Victory House Press, and Bursts of Brilliance. She is the award-winning author of seven novels for adults and children based on true stories from WWII, and the author of the brand new book, Bursts of Brilliance for a Creative Life—the subject of this podcast.

Teresa has 28 years of experience as an entrepreneur and community catalyst. Her innovative programs and boundary-pushing talks challenge her audiences to change their view of how life and business should be led.

Visit Teresa's You Tube channel to watch her popular writing videos or to check out her playlist, "Great Ideas Giveaway," in which Teresa shares business ideas for artists and creatives that they can take and use in their own models.

Teresa also served as co-host for the World Positive Thinkers on-line radio show and the on-screen host of the video series, The Write Series.

Teresa believes strongly in supporting local and national non-profits devoted to supporting youth, education, and the arts.

Teresa's website

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Oct 21, 2019

Laurence MacNaughton is back with the fourth installment in his urban fantasy series what one reviewer called “demon fueled romantic comedies.”

The latest Dru Jasper novel is called Forever and A Doomsday and it just launched this month, the latest entry in a series that began with It Happened One Doomsday and continued with A Kiss Before Doomsday, and No Sleep ‘Til Doomsday.

In Forever and a Doomsday. insidious spirits from beyond the grave try to get their clutches on the apocalypse scroll and Dru Jasper and her misfit friends are the only hope for stopping doomsday. Crystal shop owner and up-and-coming sorceress Dru Jasper is the unwilling guardian of the apocalypse scroll, an ancient instrument of destruction held in check by the last of seven wax seals. If the forces of darkness manage to break the final seal, the world will come to a fiery end. It's up to Dru to keep the scroll safe. No pressure or anything.

On the podcast, Laurence talks about the inspirations for his cast of characters, including the memorable muscle car known as Hellbringer, and talks about the process of having a plan for your novel while being open to new ideas as you begin to write.

Laurence talks about—well, avoids talking about—an unrelated secret project he recently completed—and how he managed juggling both.

But, wait there’s more – this podcast also includes Laurence reading the first few pages of Forever and a Doomsday.

Laurence's website

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Oct 14, 2019

In her new novel Every Thing You Are, Kerry Anne King says the two halves of her writing life got a chance to work together.

Kerry’s other self is, in fact, her original self—Kerry Schafer—and there’s a “smidge,” she says, of Kerry Schafer (murder, magic and mayhem) in the new the novel by Kerry Anne King.

Are you tracking?

Kerry Anne King is here to sort things out. She also talks about the challenge of turning in the first draft of Every Thing You Are only to hear her editor say that readers would not be happy, particularly in the wake of publishing the enormously successful Whisper Me This.

Booklist has already called Every Thing You Are a haunting and lyrical novel about the promises we make and the forgiveness we need when we break them.

One tragic twist of fate destroyed Braden Healey’s hands, his musical career, and his family. Now, unable to play, adrift in an alcoholic daze, and with only fragmented memories of his past, Braden wants desperately to escape the darkness of the last eleven years. Braden returns home, hoping to forge a relationship with his troubled seventeen-year-old daughter, Allie. But how can he hope to rescue her from the curse that seems to shadow his family?

Kerry Schafer writes fantasy with its teeth sunk into reality, mystery that delves into the paranormal, and (as Kerry Anne King) bestselling women’s fiction that embraces the dark and twisty realms of humanity.

As you’ll hear, she is also a speaker and writing coach, working with writers to help them discover and trust their best creative process. For Kerry, that meant applying some of her own cures to her own process—and diving in for the rewrite.

Kerry Anne King's website

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Oct 7, 2019

Charles Kowalski is making a dramatic switch in his writing, from contemporary political thrillers to middle grade fantasy set in 17th century Japan.

Simon Grey and the March of a Hundred Ghosts, published by Excalibur Books in Japan, where Charles lives today, was launched in August to terrific reviews.

Simon Grey hoped that a long sea voyage would provide some relief from his "gift" of seeing ghosts everywhere on land. Instead, he finds that his ability draws him into the shadowy world of yokai, the spirits and monsters that roam Japan by night. Together with the mysterious Oyuki, daughter of an English sailor-turned-samurai, Simon must earn the yokai's trust and help, while staying one step ahead of the Shogun's guards and an evil sorcerer determined to discover the "secret" of Simon's powers.

On the podcast, Charles talks about what inspired his decision to write middle grade fiction and tells us about the work and research that went into his setting and characters. Charles, who attended the Colorado Gold conference in September and who presented a workshop on the secrets of writing suspense and he gives us a quick overview of his approach.

Charles Kowalski's website

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Sep 30, 2019

We’ve got writer and editor Anita Mumm on the podcast this time for a sneak peek of her free October workshop—A Feast for the Senses, Writing Fiction Readers Can Taste.

That workshop is Oct. 12, Saturday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m. in Denver.

Anita says the workshop is geared to help writers notice the world in a different way and to work on the small building blocks that come together to make a rich world for your story.

In addition to chatting about the power of good sensory writing, Anita also talks about her busy writing and editing life. Her projects include two very different collaborative book projects with fellow RMFW member and fellow writing teacher Stuart Horwitz and a fascinating ghostwriting opportunity, too. Anita also talks about making the move from Denver down to the much smaller mountain community of Salida, and how that change affected all her work.

Anita Mumm is an independent developmental editor and writing teacher. She works with authors at all stages of their career, from first-time novelists to international bestsellers.

Anita Mumm's website

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Sep 20, 2019

Marc Graham is in the middle of a busy book-launching year. Last Spring, Graham’s second novel Song of Songs, a novel about the Queen of Sheba, was published by Blank Slate Press and in a few short weeks Graham takes us to the age of the Visigoths with Son of the Sea, Daughter of the Sun, also from Blank Slate Press.

Kirkus Reviews called Song of Songs “ingeniously conjured” and Foreward Reviews has already praised Son of the Sea for its “stunning” world building and its “epic” scope.

On the podcast, Graham talks about the sparks for his historical fiction and what drew him to these very different stories and very different cultures. He also discusses the delicate business of straying from historical fact in order to make the narrative work. And if you’re having trouble staying motivated with your daily progress with writing, Graham’s insights on habits and routines might be just the thing you need.

Marc Graham has been a storyteller most of his life, beginning with music and theatre in his early years—and moving on to what he calls “really atrocious” attempts at science fiction in his early teens.

In addition to the novels being published this year, Marc Graham is also the author of the Civil War-era Of Ashes and Dust, published in 2017, and he’s working on a non-fiction book on writing, Runes for Writers, due early in 2020.

Marc Graham's website

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Sep 10, 2019

The podcast this time is a live recording of two speeches given Saturday, Sept. 7 at the annual three-day Colorado Gold conference.

The first speech is by Writer of the Year Margaret Mizushima and the second by Independent Writer of the Year Stephanie Reisner.

The speeches were given in the ballroom at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver with about 400 or so writers and friends listening.

Margaret Mizushima is introduced by last year’s Writer of the Year, Gwen Florio.

And Stephanie Reisner is introduced by last year’s Independent Writer of the Year, Corinne O’Flynn.

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