Saturday, June 26, 2010

Why Are You A Writer?

Think about these words:

WHY . . . ARE . . . YOU . . . A . . . WRITER?

This question was asked in my writing group recently. I have been thinking about it for several months now and have a few answers.


For me writing is a release of my thoughts. When I blog, write something short on a Social Media post, or writing a chapter of a novel I can feel the stress, emotion, energy, and relaxation happening. It is a release of thoughts built up during the day that just come out on the screen and in the pages.


Many time what I decide to write that day or moment gives me insight as to what I am thinking, feeling, or going through. Sometimes answers to my questions come to me and many times I formulate new ones.


When I am writing my fiction novels it i a way for me to escape my everyday life. I can travel to new worlds, encounter situations, that I would normally not encounter in my 'real' life. Writing for an hour is my personal time that I can just 'get away' from everything happening around me and not have any problems at all.


Writing my feelings, thoughts or problems down on paper is very therapeutic. Like I said above, it gets those emotions, feelings, or energy flowing out. I always feel better after a few minutes or an hour of writing.


There are many writers out there who are published, trying to get published, blog, journal, or just write for writing sake. There are online communities and local writing groups. I belong to both, and it is fun to have coffee time or to connect to other writers online and talk about what it is we are writing. Writing can be a secluded thing, and it is fun to connect to other writers, and support one another.


I really enjoy writing. It is fun to organize your thoughts and put them down on paper. It is great to see someone light up when you write something funny or to feel emotion when you write a sad piece. It is great to see someone get inspired by your words of struggle and triumph.


It is free to write. You can scribble on a napkin, or jump on a computer at the library. You can write in a journal or on your laptop. You can do it anywhere, at any time.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Surfing The Internet Increases Brain Function


I just found this link, that shows a study by UCLA scientists, that have found surfing the internet does increase brain finction.

Tell your FRIENDS, your BOSS, and EVERYONE!

This is your brain!            This is your brain on the Net!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Patti Struble - Northern Colorado Writer Feature


Patti Struble
Northern Colorado Writer's Group

The Blurb....

"I am a writer who in her spare time practices walking on water, curing the sick, and preaching the good news. I am also on the look out for some followers to carry the message; oh wait, that’s someone else’s resume. Seriously though, I am someone in search of the funny out of the mundane whose life experiences make for some pretty interesting stories – most of the time. Everyone always said I should write a book and thus you have it."

Patti Struble

Patti Struble is a 40-year-old wife, mother, and lifetime student currently residing in Loveland, CO. After many years of studying the world around her, she has put pen to paper; well, really type to screen, in order to share her insights, crazy thoughts, and to flex her sarcastic muscles. Happy reading!

From Here to Survival:
A Survivor's Guide to the Apocalyspe

We all hear the talk about 2012, Armageddon, and the end of the world as we know it. That last one’s a song, but I think you get the point. With all this talk, haven’t you ever wondered what you would do in the event of your imminent survival? Well, I sure have. I am a survivor at heart, so I am definitely concerned. But, hey, there’s always room for a few more; besides, I would enjoy the company.
So grab your gear and let’s get going…our survival depends on it!


Friday, April 2, 2010

A Message From Agent Ken Sherman

One week ago I had the pleasure of attending the Northern Colorado Writer's Conference in Fort Collins, CO. It was action packed from beginning to end starting with Stephen J. Cannell giving the opening Keynote speech, to Author Todd Mitchell giving a brilliant talk during lunch Sat. and finishing up with the humor of the, On The Spot, Improv group.

There were many things I learned through the seminars, talking with other writers, and getting to know the agents. One agent, I had the pleasure of getting to know as agent Ken Sherman, from L.A. He shared a lot of great information about the business and some neat stories about his life and career.

Many of the things, he shared with me, have been floating around my subconscious, and popping into awareness at different times through the week. The main thing, that had been festering inside my brain for the last seven days, was the message that Ken shared with me and repeated several times at the conference. He said, "Just write the book that is inside you, and make it the best you can."

To me, that is the best advice I have heard from an agent. I know there are times that I am so focused on writing to please others that I need to remember why I started writing in the first part. There was this story that was inside me that just wanted to get out. I was so enthusiastic about writing it just flowed out like an unrestricted brook flowing from the side of the mountain. I really enjoyed it. Then I got wrapped up in the technical side, editing, cutting, re-writing, submitting, and more editing and re-writing. That is all necessary stuff but I started over-thinking things and being too critical about what I wrote.

Now I see what Ken meant.

Don't worry about the other stuff. It doesn't mean you don't have to edit, re-write or any of that other stuff. Just write the best book, screenplay, article, or blog you can.

It is that simple. Enjoy it.


Friday, March 5, 2010

What is Your Platform?


As a writer, your platform is very important to you. It will help you in pitching to an agent, securing a publisher, and ultimately selling books.

What is a platform?

Think of a platform as if you are standing up on stage, and you are reaching your book out to those who are listening to you. The larger the platform, the more people you have listening to you. The smaller the platform, lesser amount of people will be listening to you.

The first question to ask yourself is, “Why would people listen to you?”

Are you famous? Are you a popular athlete? Do you have a high profile job? Do you have a TV show? Are you a politician? Are you a popular blogger and have a huge following? Are you a Social Media giant?

Now your stage may not be as big as other people’s platforms. However, your platform may be larger than most. It all depends on how you have build up your platform. If you are the average person, you will have more work to do than someone who is famous. Some people try to get famous, to sell a book. Let’s use Balloon Boy’s parents as an example of platform. Because of their hoax, and the worldwide media attention, they have a huge platform. Unfortunately, their platform was built from an illegal activity, but nonetheless they have a huge, worldwide platform.

The next question is, “How do I build a platform?”

Start small and then gradually build it up. It takes times and there are many facets to a platform. It is like a giant spider web, or multiple spider webs stacked on top of each other.


Contacts: Who do you know? Start with a list of everyone you know. Write down their name, address and phone number of all your contacts. Think of friends, family, co-workers, relatives, neighbors, doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, and dentist. Anyone you come into contact with, on a daily basis. This is the nucleus of your platform.


Build a Website: Have a place where your contacts can go to get information about you, and your book. Even if you don’t have it published yet, you can still build your site and get the people you know to visit it. As you progress you can update your contacts.

Use Local Media: Use local media to be a springboard for one of the arms of your web. Write articles for your local paper or magazine. Also, you might be able to get them do an article on you.

Start Speaking: May authors give talks to certain groups to sell books. Regular speaking engagements are a way to build a platform and reach people who may buy your book. If are someone who can get up in front of people, then you may want to consider arranging talks with local groups. Think of those markets you can talk to, and who would be a good potential client base.

Volunteer: Find an organization, school, civic group, or business that you can volunteer your time. Once you get into the organization it may lead to speaking engagements. You may also be able to approach them once you have a book for sale. They might let you have an open house or hold a book signing there.

Social Media: Start with your list of contatcts. Join a social media group of your choice and then connect with as many contacts on your list as possible. The good thing about Social Media is that you now have the availability to connect exponentially with all of your contacts, contacts. Some of the most popular, right now are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MySpace and Linked-in.


Keep building. Add more layers by increasing your efforts in each of these areas. Find new areas to branch out into. Start a blog, join different forums, or join the Chamber of Commerce. Whatever you do, keep spinning the web.


If you don’t have a platform, you can start to build one. It does take time and effort, but you can build up a good size platform for your book. You just have to find your niche and figure out the different angles you need to build up as many contacts as you can.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Critique Groups: What Works For You?

Many writers belong to a critique group that allows them to share the fruits of a creative, personal, and many times lonely process.

Each critique group is different. There are groups of a particular genre (fantasy, mystery, non-fiction) or groups with multiple genres. There may be three, eight, twelve, twenty or thousands of members (online writers groups.) They might meet in person or online, one day a quarter or more frequently. One thing is for certain, there are things that work well, that keep the groups working properly, and things that don’t work well.

The last Tuesday morning Northern Colorado Writer’s coffee time a question came up about Critique groups. A writer wanted to know, “What works for you and what do you like?” There were many interesting points, so I thought I would write them down and compile them here in this post for everyone to read.


Be as Blunt as Possible: Tell me straight up what is not working. The less vague you are the better chance I have of understanding what did not work for you. (However, don’t bash-for bashing sake.)

Brainstorming: Help with ideas to change the part that isn’t working for you. What do you recommend, give ideas and examples.

Be Honest & Specific: This goes with the first two. Why did it now work for you and how would you change it?

Reader Interest: The writing piece may not be in your genre, but did it connect on some level? If it was in your genre, did it grab your attention?

Use the Sandwich Technique: Sandwich any negative comment with good, on both sides. When giving a critique this method works really well. Start off with the positive aspect of the piece, give the not so positive, and then end on a positive again.

Character Likeability: Did you like my character? Were you empathetic to his/her situation? Did you hate the character? Sometimes the critique group reactions are exactly what the writer was intending. However, it is good to know what you think about the character, to see if the right response was created.

Word Choice: Some writers want help with word choice. When it comes to word choice, sometimes there is that one word or phrase that is just out of place and does not fit—bring it up. Other times there is that word that is repeated and repeated, over and over, again and again.

Reader Reactions: The opposite of word choice is the reader’s reaction to the piece. Don’t critique on the mechanics, but the story. (Example: the plot, theme, character development, action etc.)

A Confused Reader: Don’t just say that you are confused, explain what is not clear. Was the description fuzzy? Was the character facing West and two lines from now facing East without moving? What exactly are you confused about.

Give Clear, Objective Specifics: With your specifics be respectful. Just because the other member may have made a harsh, but truthful comment does not mean you have to get even. Be specific, without being revengeful.

Say Something Nice: If all you give is negative, say something nice for a change. (See the sandwich technique above.) Remember writers deal with enough rejection and critique. Sometimes we need to hear something positive.

Focus on the Work/Piece Submitted: If a piece is a part of a larger project, remember there might be other explanations that happen prior to the piece submitted. Don’t focus too much on the before and after, concentrate your comments on the work in hand. Or, don’t focus your comments on a prior piece submitted.

Point out “Show” vs. “Telling”: This is an important piece to the critique group. Tell me when I am showing vs. telling in my writing. Give me examples so I can fix it.

Too Technical: This is not just for the non-fiction critique groups. Sometimes the writing is too technical, or is clinical. Point out the areas where it is too sterile, boring, or is talking down to the reader.


Keep in mind that a critique is just a person’s opinion of your writing. Take the best of what is said, and forget the rest. It is your work, use your judgment on what you think should be changed. However, if many people say the same thing, then you might want to listen.


Your critique group may be set up with some rules and guidelines. If not, you may want to put some of these above into practice. When you start a group or join a group make sure that you state clearly what you want the group to focus on, and what you need from the critique so you can make the best out of your time. Give quality back to the others in the group.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gary Raham - Northern Colorado Writer Feature


Gary Raham
Northern Colorado Writer's Group

I love to help connect kids to science through story. I’ve written 13 books, several video scripts, and numerous natural history articles for Highlight for Children, Cricket, and other magazines, as well as some short SF stories. I use The Deep Time Diaries and Teaching Science Fact with Science Fiction, to create middle school enrichment material in English and science with the help of master teacher, Vicky Jordan. I illustrate much of my own work and also create natural history and biomedical illustrations for a variety of clients. I enjoy writing nature columns for The North Forty News and for Colorado Gardener magazine. I’ve been NCW for a couple of years now. I’ve been a member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI for many years and am a former Co-RA. I also belong to the Colorado Authors League.

My most recent books are Bugs That Kill (Marshall-Cavendish, 2009) and The Restless Earth: Fossils (Chelsea House, 2009). I am currently writing Escape From Deep Time, a sequel to The Deep Time Diaries (Fulcrum, 2000).

I enjoy designing books and book covers for other writers. I have over 35 years experience as a graphic designer. See samples at under “Design.” Visit his profile on LinkedIn for testimonials.

Neesha, a character in The Deep Time Diaries and Escape From Deep Time, writes my blog for me. See it at:

You can follow Gary Raham on facebook:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Northern Colorado Writer's Conference Sessions

If you are thinking of attending the 2010 Northern Colorado Writer's Conference, you should decide to go! It is going to be ACTION PACKED!

2010 Conference Session Descriptions

Here is a list of the conference workshops and descriptions:
(Session topics subject to change)

From Proposal to Publication
Presenter: Rachelle Gardner

The world of publishing can be confusing, and the fact that you receive that long-awaited book contract doesn’t seem to clear up any mysteries! This workshop will explain what happens at the publishing house between the time you submit your proposal and the time your book is finally published. You’ll learn what the editorial, marketing, sales and art departments are doing about your book along the way—and most importantly, what will be expected of you. We’ll cover author/editor protocol plus the basics about contracts, deadlines, book covers, and marketing expectations. This workshop will shed light on the vast shadowy halls of the publishing house and help you navigate your way through your first experience as a published author.

Establishing a Marketing Plan
Presenter: Mike Befeler

How to promote yourself and your book with examples from my “Geezer-lit Mysteries.” A survey of the means to establish yourself including press kits, web site, blogs, social networking, conferences, book signings, events, speaking to service organizations, presentations to organizations interested in topics in your book, finding specific audiences (in my case older readers), radio, television. Becoming an expert on subject matter that indirectly promotes your books, e.g., my involvement in volunteer activities associated with topics of aging.

Selling your Book to Film and Television Stage Producers
Presenter: Ken Sherman

Once you've written your book, and whether you sell it to a publisher or not, there's always a chance it might make a fine film, TV movie or TV series. We'll discuss what producers, studios and networks think they're looking for on any given day, and how you can best prepare your material and yourself to access them.

Breaking into Non-Fiction: Learning the Facts and Dealing with Reality
Presenter: Stan Wakefield

This session will be an exploration of the ways and means to build an author’s non-fiction writing career – from the kernel of an idea through all the stages in between. Attendees will learn what publishers are looking for in the latest non-fiction sub-genres, what topics and formats are currently ‘hot,’ and how to launch their plans either with agents or directly with publishers’ acquisition editors. This is an in-depth look at the world of non-fiction and will be appropriate for both first-time-authors and experienced professionals.

How to Give Good Readings
Presenter: Paula Reed

How is it that writers who put so much passion and feeling into their stories end up struggling to convey those emotions when they give readings? Writers are often introverts, which is not always conducive to public speaking. Besides, there is still all that residual trauma from giving speeches before critical peers in school. Drawing on her two decades of experience coaching high school competitive public speaking, multi-published author Paula Reed will give you the tools you need to captivate readers with your voice as well as your words.

Creating a Sense of Place
Presenter: Page Lambert

More than setting. More than landscape. More than location. No matter what genre, Place is the world your characters inhabit and where your Story comes alive. This workshop explores how to create Place through the use of atmosphere, symbolism, imagery, and metaphor.

What is Inspirational Fiction?
Presenter: Tina Ann Forkner

Signs that readers are hungry for inspirational stories of faith can be seen all around us as evidenced by the sensation of crossover books from the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association), such as The Shack, The Left Behind series, The Chronicles of Narnia and the success of novelists including Debbie Macomber, Jan Karon, Francine Rivers, Angela Hunt, and Anne Lamott. Author Tina Ann Forkner who is published by Waterbrook Press, the CBA arm of Random House, will give an overview of the Inspirational genres and information on how to get published in the Inspirational market.

How to Write for the Web
Presenter: Tim Beyers

With each publishing door that closes in the print world, a window opens in the Web world. Writers looking to make the transition to replace or even boost income will benefit from this session. Taught by veteran freelancer Tim Beyers, whose work appears daily at finance news website The Motley Fool, you'll learn about the impact of search engines on your work, why links are currency, and why, on the Web, agreeing to incentive pay isn't always a bad idea.

Agent Panel
Presenters: Rachelle Gardner, Joe Monti, Ken Sherman

Attending Literary Agents answer your questions.

Scenework: Writing the Robust Scene
Presenter: Trai Cartwright

You’ve got your concept, your plotline is tight and your characters are living, breathing creatures – now what? How do you write scenes that show them to their best advantage? This workshop is about deep scenework: learning the five narrative aspects of a scene and how to balance them, strong scene construction, and enhancing your natural strengths while eliminating any weaknesses on this macro level. Developing every scene to its full potential is the key to a transformative story -- be a dynamic scenewriter!

The Art of Personal Essay
Presenter: Laura Pritchett

Want to write and submit a personal essay to a magazines or journals? This workshop is designed to focus on the essentials of turning personal experience into compelling narrative - and readying it for submission. We'll be concentrating on how to 1) tell through the use of story and 2) make that story have "universality" (as in, how to make it matter to others). We will also be discussing nonfiction fundamentals: the central dramatic questions and themes, how to craft scenes, ways to build tension, etc

Mixing Humor, Mysteries and Older Characters
Presenter: Mike Befeler

The art of combining humor and dead bodies in a way that keeps the reader reading by pointing out the foibles of the human condition, using quirky characters, employing unexpected twists, showing people acting in unique ways, uncovering flaws in the protagonist and honorable traits in the antagonist. Given the explosion in the older population, there is increasing interest in older characters, who are vital, humorous and can solve a mystery in spite of any deterioration of mind or body.

Dialogue and Setting: Tips on Letting Your Characters Speak and Live
Presenter: Todd Mitchell

This would be a nuts and bolts workshop on developing effective dialogue and descriptive writing. In addition to discussing common problems with dialogue, I'd do a few brief exercises to hone dialogue and descriptive writing skills. A tip sheet would be given to help writers identify problems, and discover new ways to let their characters speak and live.

Hopping onto Your Time Machine: Writing Memoir that Matters
Presenter: John Calderazzo

"Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are." So writes Tim O'Brien in The Things They Carried, a novel of stories that sometimes relies heavily on memoir, or seems to. When you "research" a personal memoir you often research yourself, the arc of your psyche (your soul?) over time. And to do that you often have to hop onto a time machine to cruise around in the distant or near past. But if your memoir is to truly connect the past to the future---to rise above the level of anecdote or well-written nostalgia---you need to ride that time machine not just backwards, but forwards and sideways and who knows where else. Driving instructions included in this presentation.

Tragedy To Triumph
Presenter: Paula Reed

The hero’s journey teaches us that all art is created in the abyss. Whether it is used as a way of escaping our darker side or plumbing its depths, writing can help us deal with even the toughest challenges life throws our way. This motivational session is a reflection on the role that writing fiction has played in recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome for Paula Reed, multi-published author and teacher at Columbine High School.

From Book-to-Screen: The Basics of the Film and Television Industries (and how an author and his/her book fit in)
Presenter: Stan Wakefield

Unlike book publishing, writing for film and TV differs in the very definition of what an author’s traditional role is in the process, and how s/he fits into the team-approach that contrasts so dramatically from the ‘lone-wolf-approach’ of solo-authorship. Authors and attendees will learn the basic rules-of-the-road in script preparation, expectations among producers, studios and agencies that represent writers on this side of the entertainment aisle, and everyone will receive a good initial introduction to the business of film.

Using Twitter to Boost Your Writing Income
Presenter: Tim Beyers

Thanks to Twitter, it has never been easier for an enterprising writer to build a career. Editors, publishers, peers, sources -- they're all flocking to the microblogging service. For some, the shift has led to more assignments and higher income. Veteran freelancer Tim Beyers is one of those writers. In this session, he'll walk you through his rules for earning a return on your Twitter time, including strategies for querying editors, building your contact list, and the in-and-outs of using Twitter to find quotable sources.

Writing Sex Well
Presenter: Laura Prichett

Sex is not always good, but it's always revealing! Whether it's fantastic, boring, strange, or predictable, sex is one of the most powerful unions and sensations we experience, and it shouldn't be skipped or avoided in writing. On the other hand, a sex scene shouldn't be included unless it serves a purpose, which is to illustrate the characters and the larger themes of the work. This workshop will introduce and explore some ideas about writing sex well - how to direct an honest gaze at this most fascinating activity.

How to Successfully Weave Faith Into Your Stories
Presenter: Tina Forkner

Do you have trouble deciding how to let your characters be fully developed in their spiritual walks without scaring away editors? What if your character happens to be a Christian? Learn how to deepen your story and give characters a rich inner life by using elements of faith without sounding preachy. Author Tina Ann Forkner who is published by Waterbrook Press, the CBA arm of Random House, will use examples from her own experience, as well as the experiences of others in the industry, to show that characters can successfully lead a life of faith in novels.

Editor Panel
Presenters: Mira P

Attending Editor answers your questions.

Just Because It’s Nonfiction Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be Long
Presenter: John Calderazzo

Who says that compelling and rich nonfiction has to be long---say, the length of a slowly-unfolding essay, or even a "BoB", a Back of the Book magazine think piece? Like flash fiction or a poem, nonfiction can sometimes displays its best self by zinging along at warp speed, or by leaping to the heart of the matter in a fraction of normal essay length. But how does it do this, and with what effect? And how do you get started? We’ll look at some great examples of nonfiction short shorts, including prose poems and the lyric essay, and then we’ll try a few different writing approaches ourselves.

Intimate Emotions, Universal Themes and Syncronicity
Presenter: Page Lambert

power to fuel our writing. They provide a pathway to lead us from our own intimate lives into the larger human experience, to think without boundaries and let the heart lead the dialogue our inner-selves want to have with the outer world. Emotions provide a key to understanding the synchronistic moments that give structure to our lives and our stories. They are the well that never goes dry. This session will explore the realm of emotion—yours, and your characters’, and will ask two vital questions that will help you uncover theme and meaning in your

Writing Fantasy & Sci-Fi —Challenges and Techniques
Presenter: Todd Mitchell

Join Todd Mitchell, author of The Traitor King (Scholastic Press) and The Secret to Lying (Candlewick Press) as we discuss the techniques writers use to make the strange believable. Practical tips will be given for avoiding some of the common pitfalls of fantasy/sci-fi writing, developing effective fictional worlds, and creating engaging stories. Possible fantasy/sci-fi story ideas will also be generated and discussed.

15 Elements of a Great Movie
Presenter: Trai Cartwright

15 Elements of All Great Movies and how to use them to make all your stories better! Building a truly satisfying story in any medium requires complex storytelling. This class breaks down all the ingredients that make up the tales that become classics. We’ll talk about the power of the secondary character, creating strong tension with tones, how to make concept, setting and theme work together, and so much more. Using familiar movie examples brings these concepts alive, and you’ll see how to deploy them in everything you write.

Agents & Editors Read the Slush Pile
Presenters: Ken Sherman, Rachelle Gardner

Attending Agents and Editors read the slush pile and give their quick comments and critiques.

Northern Colorado Writer's Conference
March 26-27 2010

Fort Collins Hilton

Northern Colorado Writers

$260 NCW Members
$310 Nonmembers
$335 Conference & NCW Membership
$225 Friday or Saturday Only

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2010 Northern Colorado Writer's Conference

You just have to attend the 5th Annual, Northern Colorado Writer's Conference!

Two and a half years ago I joined Nothern Colorado Writer's group to find a place where I could gain more insight on the writing business, socialize, and hang out with other writers.  In that time, I have learned a lot about writing, submitting, networking, and promotion from a group of dedicated writers.  Also, I attended the past two Northern Colorado Writer's Conferences.

2008 was my first conference experience, and I did not know what to expect.  It was a welcoming experience with professional agents and great presenters sharing a wealth of knowledge and experience to a great group of writers.  I was amazed by the professionalism of the staff and the ability to pitch to well known, experienced, and successful literary agents.

The next year, 2009, I was excited to attend.  I now had an idea what to expect and was ready for my pitch session.  I had some great feedback from the agents and the conference presenters were top notch.  I was especially blown away by by the key note speakers.  I met a lot of new people and socialized with many of my writing friends.

I can't wait to go this year!
March 26-27 2010 Fort Collins Hilton


With over 29 great workshops to pick from, Agent/Editor Pitch Sessions, Friday Evening Red Carpet Gala and a chance to meet with other writers and professionals in the industry, what are you waiting for?  If you are aspiring to get published, want to further your knowledge about writing, self-published and want to network, or committing yourself to become a professional writer, then this conference is for you.

This action packed two days also includes all meals, agent pitch session (must have a completed manuscript), a pre-conference workshop (March 6 at NCW studio), and access to the conference bookstore.  This year, all conference attendees get a copy of Stephen Cannell's new book The Pallbearers.

Here is a list of the 2010 conference workshops:
  • From Proposal to Publication
  • Establishing a Marketing Plan
  • Selling your Book to Film and Television Stage Producers
  • Breaking into Non-Fiction: Learning the Facts and Dealing with Reality
  • How to Give Good Readings
  • Creating a Sense of Place
  • What is Inspirational Fiction?
  • How to Write for the Web
  • Agent Panel
  • Scenework: Writing the Robust Scene
  • The Art of Personal Essay
  • Mixing Humor, Mysteries and Older Characters
  • Dialogue and Setting: Tips on Letting Your Characters Speak and Live
  • Hopping onto Your Time Machine: Writing Memoir that Matters
  • Tragedy To Triumph
  • From Book-to-Screen: The Basics of the Film and Television Industries (and how an author and his/her book fit in)
  • Using Twitter to Boost Your Writing Income
  • Writing Sex Well
  • How to Successfully Weave Faith Into Your Stories
  • Editor Panel
  • Just Because It’s Nonfiction Doesn’t Mean It Has to Be Long
  • Intimate Emotions, Universal Themes and Syncronicity
  • Writing Fantasy & Sci-Fi —Challenges and Techniques
  • 15 Elements of a Great Movie
  • Agents & Editors Read the Slush Pile
Kerrie Flanagan

Kerrie Flanagan is the Director of Northern Colorado Writers and a freelance writer. Over the past decade she has published 120+ articles in national and regional publications, enjoyed two years as a contributing editor for Journey magazine, worked in PR for the Fort Collins CVB and for various authors and started The Writing Bug blog. Five of her stories have been published in various Chicken Soup For The Soul books and she is the author of the children's book, Cornelius Comma Saves the Day.

Prior to her writing career, Kerrie was a teacher for 10 years. Four years ago she combined her love for writing and teaching with her passion for helping other writers and started Northern Colorado Writers. Through classes, workshops, meetings and an annual conference, NCW is able to provide its 190 members and other writers, the tools, encouragement and information needed to find success.


Stephen Cannell
Author of the critically acclaimed Shane Scully series including On The Grind and At First Sight and writer/producer of more than 40 shows including Rockford Files, A-Team, 21 Jump Street and Greatest American Hero.
Click to visit:  Stephen Cannell

Todd Mitchell
Fort Collins resident and creative writing and literature professor at Colorado State University, Todd Mitchell had his first book, "The Traitor King" published with Scholastic and is working on other various projects.

Click here to visit Todd Mitchell


Rachelle Gardner
WordServe Literary

Rachelle Gardner is with WordServe Literary and is looking for series writers who have studied their craft and polished their work.  She is concentrating on books that can be placed in the Christian marketplace (i.e. CBA publishers), and is moving into more general market fiction. In nonfiction, she is representing books that would fit in the general market or the Christian market (or both).

Click here to visit Rachelle Gardner

Ken Sherman
Ken Sherman & Associates

Ken Sherman, founder of Ken Sherman & Associates in Beverly Hills handles screenplays, books and life rights. Ken, a Los Angeles native and University of California-Berkeley psychology graduate, started his career in film and television as a reader for Columbia Pictures. Sherman’s agency opened in 1989, and currently handles approximately 35 clients; he makes contact with most of his new writers through referrals, and he handles just about every topic you can think of in nonfiction, fiction and scripts.

Click here to visit Ken Sherman

Joe Monti
Barry Goldblat Literary

Joe Monti is with Barry Goldblat Literary.  Being the children's fiction buyer for both B. Dalton and Barnes and Noble, Inc. Joe was excited to see the possibilities in children's literature and went to work with Houghton Mifflin and later Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.  Joe joined Barry Goldblatt Literary where he can further pursue his passion of publishing, discovering and supporting writers and artists, and remain a "bookseller" at the heart of it all. Joe focuses on childrens, young adult, teen literature, as well as some adult genre fiction. 

Click here to visit Joe Monti


Mira Perrizo
Johnson Books

Johnson Books was established in 1978 and for 30 years Johnson Books has been exploring and celebrating both the facts and fantasies of the West through its varied list of nonfiction. Located in Boulder, Colorado, Johnson Books are regional in nature and include environmental subjects, history, geology, archaeology, guidebooks, outdoor recreation, cookbooks, general nonfiction, and fly-fishing.

Click here to visit Johnson Books

Ben Barnhart
Milkweed Press

Founded in Minnesota in 1979 by Emilie Buchwald and R.W. Scholes, Milkweed Editions is one of the nation's leading independent, nonprofit literary publishers, releasing twelve to twenty new books each year in the genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. In addition, we are one of two nonprofit presses that publish children’s literature.

Click here to visit Milkweed Press


Northern Colorado Writers

March 26-27 2010

Fort Collins Hilton

$260 NCW Members
$310 Nonmembers
$335 Conference & NCW Membership
$225 Friday or Saturday Only


Sunday, January 10, 2010

What is Your Favorite Song to Write to?

What is your favorite writing song that you listen to over and over for inspiration? Is there a particular lyric to that song that makes it your favorite to listen to? Does your song have a particular meaning or memory associated to it?

My favorite song:
Bittersweet Symphony
by The Verve
I love the mixture of sounds, the beat and the lyrics.

Favorite lyrics: "It's a bittersweet symphony, that's life. You try to make ends meet, you're a slave tomoney, then you die," and "I let the melody shine, let it cleanse my mind, I feel free now."

I like the lyrics because they are brutally true.

I think the main reason why I like this song is because it reminds me of the year I lived in Chester, England. It was 1998, just after this song came out and swept the charts. It was the year that my oldest daughter was born, and I remember listening to it in the car on the way to the hospital to check on my wife. (23 hour labor, and the nurses made me leave for a while. My children are a big inspiration for my writing. So I guess that is why I like to listen to this song when I am writing.

To listen to the song and watch the video click on the link: