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Featured Faculty

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly ReviewPublishers Weekly said Jane’s newest book is The Business of Being a  Writer  is “destined to become a staple reference book for writers and those interested in publishing careers.” Also, in collaboration with The Authors Guild, she wrote The Authors Guild Guide to Self-Publishing.

Jane maintains an award-winning blog for writers at; her expertise has been featured by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, NPR, PBS, NBC, CBS, the National Press Club and many other outlets.

In her spare time, Jane writes creative nonfiction, which has been included in the anthologies Every Father’s Daughter and Drinking Diaries. If you look hard enough, you can also find her embarrassing college poetry.

Gwen Hernandez, the author of Scrivener For Dummies, helps writers all over the world master Scrivener through online courses, in-person workshops, and private training. When she’s not using Scrivener to write romantic suspense, this lifelong nomad likes to travel, read, run along the beach, flail on a yoga mat, and explore her current home of Southern California. Learn more about Gwen at or

Ines Johnson is a television writer turned romance novelist. For over 15 years, she taught college level courses in screenwriting, story development, and media history. A lifelong learner (read: academic addict), she holds a Master’s in Instructional Design, and a Doctorate in Educational Technology. She is constantly taking courses on the latest digital marketing techniques, reading how-to books, and keeping her skills at the cutting edge, so that you don’t have to!

Stant Litore is the author of Ansible, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs, The Zombie Bible, and Dante’s Heart. Besides science fiction and fantasy, he has written the writers’ toolkits Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget and Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget, as well as Lives of Unstoppable Hope and Lives of Unforgetting, and has been featured in Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook: An Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. He has served as a developmental editor for Westmarch Publishing and holds a Ph.D. in English. He lives in Aurora, Colorado with his three children and is currently at work on his next novel.

Flavor bio: Stant Litore writes about zombies, aliens, and tyrannosaurs. He does not currently own a starship or a time machine but would rather like to. He lives in Aurora, Colorado with his three children and hides from visitors in the basement library beneath a heap of toy dinosaurs, tattered novels, comic books, incomprehensibly scribbled drafts, and antique tomes. He is working on his next novel, or several. You can read some of his current fiction by looking up Ansible, The Running of the Tyrannosaurs, The Zombie Bible, or Dante’s Heart. However, doing so may have unpredictable effects, and Stant offers no assurances that you will emerge from any of these stories unscathed. Best leave all non-essentials behind, take with you only what you need to survive, and venture into the books cautiously and ready to call for backup. Enjoy, and good luck.

Pam McCutcheon is the author of how-to books for writers and many kinds of romance novels (sweet, steamy, paranormal, romcom, Sci-Fi, etc.) under her own name, and the Demon Underground YA urban fantasy series under the name Parker Blue. She partners with Laura Hayden in Parker Hayden Media, where they do assisted self-publishing. She can be found on the ’net at or


Naima Simone – Published since 2009, USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone loves writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. Her books have been featured in The Washington Post and Entertainment Weekly, and described as balancing “crackling, electric love scenes with exquisitely rendered characters caught in emotional turmoil.”

She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.

Angel Smits shares a big yellow house, complete with gingerbread and a front porch swing in Colorado with her family and Maggie, the border collie mix.  Winning several writing contests seemed like an amazing pinnacle—until her first book hit the shelves! She writes paranormal romance, contemporary romance (most recently for Harlequin) and now the Dogwood series.  She also writes non-fiction in the senior care world.  Her social work background inspires her characters, while improv writing allows her to torture them. It’s a rough job, but someone’s got to do it.

Becca Syme is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and holds a Master's Degree in Transformational Leadership. She is the host of the popular Quitcast Youtube channel and the owner of the Better-Faster Academy, specializing in author success systems. She is also a mystery writer and lives in the mountains of Montana, where it is always winter and never Christmas.


A life-long writer, Terri Benson is traditionally and self-published in novel length, with nearly a hundred articles and short stories published – many award winning. She was the Education Chair for Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers for more than seven years, is an irregular blogger (in more ways than one), member of Sisters in Crime, presents workshops at writer’s conferences, and teaches night classes at Western Colorado Community College.  Terri spends her non-writing time working at a Business Incubator, camping, jeeping, and dirt biking with her junior-high-school sweetheart/husband of 40+ years and a succession of Brittany spaniels. You can find more information on her at

Carol Berg, former software engineer, never expected to write one novel, much less eighteen. Nor did she expect to win the Colorado Book Award multiple times or to hear that her books had been read on the slopes of Denali, in the war zone of Iraq, or underneath the Mediterranean. She certainly never thought to see her name alongside those of her literary heroes like Tolkien and Mary Stewart as winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. Carol’s latest fantasy adventure, A Summoning of Demons, arrived in 2021 from Tor Books under her assumed name of Cate Glass. She lives in the foothills of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with her Exceptional Spouse.

Frank Biro is an alumnus of PPWC, as well as Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He has been on faculty at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center for 37 years, receiving local and national awards in clinical care, teaching, and research. His published works have generated over 25,000 citations by other researchers and clinicians.

Deborah Brewer joined Pikes Peak Writers a decade ago, seeking help with a cozy mystery. When the novel was completed, she stayed for the camaraderie. Now she’s writing short stories. If you write traditional or cozy mysteries, she’d love to chat with you during conference.

Phoenix Boudreau is a Cree woman from Edmonton, Alberta. I come from an oral tradition of storytellers; my great grandfather was a champion storyteller, and I have continued that tradition in written word.

Veronica R. Calisto is a massage therapist, an alto, a writer of speculative fiction, and a big nerd. One of those rare Colorado natives, she has a degree in Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and is a two-time American Idol reject. Veronica is best described as a walking musical who might also be a figment of her own imagination. She is the author of several books including Diary of a Mad Black Witch and the first two in the SparkleTits Chronicles series.

Bestselling author Kameron Claire loves building worlds where heroes and heroines push, pull, and fight their way to the love and happiness they deserve. She writes full length and short, steamy, contemporary romance with an emphasis on strong female characters—often in male-dominated roles—and the alpha men who know how to love and support kick-ass, take-charge women. She's been a member of the PPW community since 2013, serving as VP, President, and Conference Director. 

Deb Courtney holds a degree in Fiction from the University of South Florida, where she was a Saunders Scholar in Fiction. She has had numerous short stories published and has worked as a freelance journalist. Her background includes more than 20 years in Technical Project Management. 

Her consulting firm, Courtney Literary, is about to launch TaleWinds, featuring Regatta Project Management Software for Writers. She hosts the popular “Write Drunk, Edit Sober” improv writing series monthly in Colorado Springs.

Todd Fahnestock is a writer of fantasy for all ages and winner of the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age Award. Threadweavers and The Whisper Prince Trilogy are two of his bestselling epic fantasy series. He is a 2021 finalist for the Colorado Book Award and winner of the Colorado Authors League Award for Writing Excellence for Tower of the Four: The Champions Academy. His passions are fantasy and his quirky, fun-loving family. When he’s not writing, he teaches Taekwondo, swaps middle grade humor with his son, plays Ticket to Ride with his wife, plots creative stories with his daughter, and plays vigorously with Galahad the Weimaraner. Visit Todd at

Christina M. Frey, J.D. is co-executive of the Editorial Freelancers Association and a developmental/line editor and literary coach with Page Two Editorial ( With over 20 years of experience in writing, editing, and publishing, she now works with select authors and small presses on full-length fiction and memoir. Christina specializes in helping both novice and experienced writers to develop and refine their authorial voice.

Jessica Hopkins comes from a Cherokee family in rural Oklahoma, but has traveled across both the US and the world. She is passionate about Indigenous rights, and has written essays on Indigenous representation in sci-fi and fantasy. She works with organizations on bringing Indigenous voices to colonized media spaces. When she’s not working or writing, she’s being covered in fur by her two cats and two dogs; playing video games or tabletop games (nerd alert); making art; traveling; or going to museums. A two-time Zebulon Award winner, her debut novel, BORN TO BE MAGIC, was published in August 2020, and she is currently working on a sequel to that book as well as a YA paranormal based on Cherokee folklore. Find her on Twitter (@coloradojess), Facebook (/jhopkinswrites), Instagram (@coloradojessica), on Tumblr (soulbranded) on her super geeky roleplay account. Or possibly all of those at once. More information at

Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, former teacher, and compulsive dawn greeter. A 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 wrangling words. Her many books include DEL TORO MOON (Colorado Book Award winner) and ON A GOOD HORSE (High Plains Book Award winner and the Will Rogers Medallion Award winner). Visit the author at

Jenny Kate has been a communicator and public relations professional since 2001. She has been quoted by the New York Times, CNN, FoxNews, and Time Magazine, and wrote her first novel in the second grade. She is a member of  Sisters in Crime, judges contests for the Utah League of Writers, and freelanced for New York literary agent Ethan Ellenberg.  She co-founded Writer Nation and is the author of the “Marketing for Writers Who’d Rather Write” book series. 

Peter Klismet – Although Pete has moved north to Ft. Collins (closer to grandmonsters), he still considers PPWriters as his ‘tribe.’ He was a police officer in Southern California for 10 years, then entered on duty with the FBI for 20+ years. He was in the first group of FBI agents trained as Hostage/Crisis Negotiators, then was selected to be one of the first cadre of agents to be trained as Criminal Profilers. For the next 15 years, these became part of Pete’s job. He has trained hundreds of police officers and educated several thousand junior college students as an Associate Professor and Department Chair of a Criminal Justice program.

Not a skilled retiree, Pete has authored three non-fiction books and one college textbook on Profiling Violent Crime. Among other things, he enjoys travel and being chased around hospitals by surgeons with scalpels. He is skilled at the latter.


Benjamin Koch Roberts is an anatomic and clinical pathologist in northern Minnesota with subspecialty training in hematopathology. He appreciates writing a great story, reading an engrossing book and playing guitar, as well as cooking amazing food. He can currently be found next to a roaring fire in his living room with a pot of coffee working on his first novel.

A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy. Her stories can be found in over forty anthologies and magazines, and her three solo horror short story collections, Blue Sludge Blues & Other AbominationsBruised Souls & Other Torments, and Happy Ghoulidays are available now. You can also find her as a co-host of the podcast “Mysteries, Monsters, & Mayhem.” When she's not writing, she's hiking through the wilds of Colorado and photographing her magnificent surroundings, where, coincidentally, there's always a place to hide a body or birth a monster. Find her at

Mark Leslie Lefebvre is the Director of Business Development for Draft2Digital, a free and author-centric platform that is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2022. Mark has worked in the book industry since 1992, the same year his first short story sale appeared in print. His past roles include President of the Canadian Booksellers Association, Chair of the Professional Advisory Committee for Sheridan College's Honors Degree Program in Writing and Publishing, and Director of Self-Publishing and Author Relations for Rakuten Kobo, where he created and launched Kobo Writing Life. He is the host of the weekly Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing Podcast.
As an award-winning and multi-nominated author, Mark (who also writes under Mark Leslie) has released more than 30 books that include A Canadian Werewolf in New York, Fear and Longing in Los Angeles, Fright Nights, Big City and the non-fiction books for writers: Wide for the Win, Killing it on KoboAn Author's Guide to Working with Bookstores and Libraries and the co-authored The Relaxed Author with Joanna Penn.

Chris Mandeville writes science fiction/fantasy, YA, and nonfiction for writers. She’s a full-time writer and has been teaching writing workshops for fifteen years. Her published works include the In Real Time time-travel trilogy, Quake, Shake, and Break; Seeds: A Post-apocalyptic Adventure; and 52 Ways to Get Unstuck: Exercises to Break Through Writer’s Block. She lives in Colorado with her family and her service dog, Finn.

Jennie Marts is the USA TODAY Best-selling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. Readers call her books “laugh out loud” funny and the “perfect mix of romance, humor, and steam.” Fic Central claimed one of her books was “the most fun I’ve had reading in years.” 

She is living her own happily ever after in the mountains of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet who loves to tweet to the oldies. She’s addicted to Diet Coke, adores Cheetos, and believes you can’t have too many books, shoes, or friends. 

Her books range from western romance to cozy mysteries but they all have the charm and appeal of quirky small town life. She loves genre-mashups like adding romance to her Page Turners cozy mysteries and creating the hockey-playing cowboys in the Cowboys of Creedence. The same small town community comes to life with more animal antics in her latest Creedence Horse Rescue series. And her sassy heroines and hunky heroes carry over in her heartwarming, feel good romances from Hallmark Publishing

Jennie loves to hear from readers. Follow her on Facebook at Jennie Marts Books, or Twitter at @JennieMarts. Visit her at and sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest news and releases. 


Susan Mitchell embraces folklore, ghosts and monsters, tuning into that wavelength to write dark fiction, horror and thrillers. Her work has appeared in literary magazines including George and Mertie’s Place, Poetry Motel, The Gathering Storm, and Wordwrights. She has written and produced projects for TLC, ABC, NBC, CBS and Telemundo affiliates. A Senior Marketing and Social Media Specialist, Susan is a frequent public speaker, and her voice can be heard on a variety of television and radio commercials. She has degree in English from Northern Arizona University and calls the southwest home. Susan is currently completing work on a darkly humorous horror series and supernatural thriller.

Todd Mitchell is the author of several award-winning novels for young readers, teens, and adults including The Last Panther (Penguin Random House), The Traitor King (Scholastic), The Secret to Lying (Candlewick), and Backwards (Candlewick). His two newest books came out in fall 2021—one for writers, artists, and creators titled Breakthrough: How to Overcome Doubt, Fear, and Resistance to Be Your Ultimate Creative Self, and a middle grade novel that's been optioned for film/TV development titled The Namer of Spirits. In addition to his books, he’s also written for comics, including A Flight of Angels (Vertigo, a YALSA Top 10 Pick for Teens) and Broken Saviors (an alien invasion comic available on ComiXology). Currently, Todd teaches creative writing and literature at Colorado State University. You can visit him (and learn about his squirrel obsession) at

MB Partlow is a long-time member of Pikes Peak Writers who was deeply involved in the Board of Directors, Non Conference Events, and Conference. She writes urban fantasy, mystery, and ad copy, and reads across almost all genres. She has a big laugh, which you can hear for yourself on the podcast she cohosts: Mysteries, Monsters, and Mayhem.

Aaron Michael Ritchey is the author of forty-three novels under various pen names. He’s been an Amazon All-Star, and the first book in The Juniper Wars series was a Dragon Award Finalist.  His first two big press books, The Cunning Man and The Jupiter Knife, co-written with DJ Butler, is available at your local Barnes & Noble. Aaron lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters when he’s not on the road selling books, teaching classes, and collecting pen names. 

C. R. Rowenson Fascinated by magic since pine cones could be fireballs, C. R. Rowenson (Clark) is an award-winning author, blogger, and writing coach that studies magic-building like others study oil-painting. His prime directive is to help storytellers of all kinds of craft and repair the magic systems in their stories and you can visit to witness, fuel, or join in his obsession.

Carly Stevens lives and writes in beautiful Colorado Springs where she drinks coffee, enjoys the mountains, and has taught high-school English for over ten years. A huge Star Wars and Shakespeare fan, she posts weekly videos to her YouTube channel (appropriately called English Nerd) which tackles topics in literature and all kinds of writing. Since 2019, she has published three novels, four short reads, and a book of short stories. She primarily writes adventure-filled YA fantasy novels about courage and hope. 

Lana Williams is a USA Today Bestselling Author with over 35 historical romances filled with mystery, adventure, and sometimes, a pinch of paranormal to stir things up. Filled with a love of books from an early age, Lana put pen to paper and decided happy endings were a must in any story she created.

Lana is an Indie Author and writes full time, spending her days in Victorian, Regency, and Medieval times, depending on her mood and current deadline. Connect with her at

Jennifer Wilson is the best-selling author of THE NEW WORLD SERIES featured in OwlCrate—the largest global YA subscription box. She is a proud member of Pikes Peak Writers, RMFW and Gryffindor. She has been a contributor on PPW's Blog and is also the creator of The Scribe Society – a free website for authors that provides a network of writing resources.

Johnny Worthen grew up in the high desert snows and warm summer winds of the Wasatch Mountains. He graduated with a B.A. in English, minor in Classics and a Master's in American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of businesses and adventures, including years abroad and running his own bakery, Johnny found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do — write. And write he does. Well versed in modern literary criticism and cultural studies, Johnny writes upmarket multi-genre fiction, both traditionally and independently published. “I write what I like to read,” he says. “That guarantees me at least one fan.”

Johnny's newest release is OF KINGS, QUEENS AND COLONIES, a fantastic epic science fiction which is available now all over the world. Go buy it. I’ll wait.

When not writing his own stuff, Johnny edits professionally for a small dark fiction press in Los Angeles and teaches Creative Writing at the University of Utah. He lives in Sandy Utah with his wife, sons and cats. There’s also a lawn.

Benjamin Wretlind has been–at different times, of course–a fry cook, range boy, greens maintenance technician, reservations agent, room service attendant, editor, banquet server, meteorologist, instructor, program manager for Internet applications, curriculum developer, training simulation engineer, leadership facilitator/coach, process improvement consultant, learning manager and organizational psychologist. Exciting stuff, to be sure. He said he once took flight on the wings of an F-16, but he puked. A retired Air Force veteran, Benjamin currently builds and facilitates leadership courses for staff at Yale. He has penned a few novels, deleted a few novels, edited a few novels and is, of course, writing a few novels. Owing his life’s viewpoint to Bob Ross, he has also painted a few things, thrown a few paintings away, and probably has a painting on an easel right now. Oh, and he loves wood working, too.