The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s Colorado Gold Contest is a competition for unpublished writers of genre and mainstream commercial fiction. It is a rare chance to get your work in front of industry professionals who judge the contest and also provide feedback. Writers enter from all over the world.
In 2013, I won the Colorado Gold mystery category for THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC, a slightly humorous, somewhat romantic, mystery novel set among the LAPD police matrons in 1900’s Los Angeles. Subsequently, my agent got me a publishing deal with Seventh Street Books. (It’s for pre-sale at Tattered Cover, Barnes and Noble, etc., and comes out November 3rd). There has been some interest in Hollywood, so I’m waiting and chewing my nails.
I wondered how other Colorado Gold winner’s fared, so, I sent out an email to past recipients asking where their winning novels are today. Here are their answers.
“Thanks to the zealous representation of Hope at the Dream Agency, I’m looking at a seven-book offer from Never Give Up Press and film options from You Wish Productions.”
Charles Kowalski, author of the 2013 Action/Thriller Winner, Unbelievers.
“The Girl with the Ghost Eyes will be published in hardcover by Talos Books in November of 2015. It also won the Crested Butte Writers’ Sandy award for speculative fiction in 2014. It’s represented by Sandy Lu at the L. Perkins Literary Agency, and it’s being shopped for development as a tv series.”
M.H. Boroson, author of the 2012 Speculative Fiction Winner, City of Strangers now retitled, The Girl with the Ghost Eyes
“I ended up signing with the agent who’d judged my category. We met in person at the conference and clicked, so when she expressed enthusiasm for my writing and offered representation after the contest, I accepted! Right now my winning novel is on submission to publishers, so fingers crossed it sells soon!”
Kara Seal, author of the 2014 Young Adult/Middle Grade Winner, The Shuvani’s Spel
“The judge that selected my novel as the winner asked for the full manuscript but ended up (like most publishers) rejecting it. My winning novel is currently finished and I am in process of having an editor look at it. I have also been sending it out to publishers with no success thus far.”
Jessica Naab, author of the 2013 Romance Winner, Between Skin and Soul.
“My agent coached me through at least three revisions of the 2014 story, THE HOMEPLACE. It should be with Mr. Martz by the time you read this. Mr. Martz is the editor from Crooked Lane Books. He was the judge in my category of the 2014 Gold.”
Kevin Wolf, author of the 2014 Action/Thriller Winner, The Homeplace
“I am still working on the story. Since winning, the story has gone through some changes, so I’m still waiting to use that line ‘I won the Colorado Gold Mainstream category’ in a query letter.”
Kristin Meachem, author of the 2013 Mainstream Winner, Ten Seconds.
“Winning the Colorado Gold gave a significant boost to my credentials. I am writing a series of books about a Scottish detective. The first novel, The Mermaids of Bodega Bay, was a finalist in the mystery category of the Colorado Gold the year before I won for The First Cut, which is the second novel in the series. I had self-published Mermaids, and decided to do the same with The First Cut right after the contest..Sales of The First Cut have been good.”
Mary Birk, author of the 2014 Mystery Winner, The First Cut.
“My novel was picked up by J. Ellington Ashton Press and Beauty Is for Suckers was published at the end of 2014. It’s a physical book now. I can hold it in my hands, and, thanks to the contest, there is nifty Colorado Gold winner credit on the cover. …To have a group of writers, editors, and readers take me under their wing is amazing… I can’t thank Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers enough for helping me on this path.”
Michael Carson, author of 2104 Speculative Fiction Winner, Beauty is for Suckers.
“My winning novel is…wait for it…awaiting a rewrite…This is my first novel… So in writing it, I was learning, frankly, everything as I was going along. And it’s still not exactly where I’d like it to be. …There’s a certain victory in knowing that something needs a little more work because there was a point when I didn’t know that at all. Baby steps, right?
Monica Comas 2014 Mainstream Winner, The Cookbook.
This blog post is the third in a three-part series about winners’ experiences with the Colorado Gold contest. To learn about how the contest changed winners’ attitudes about their writing, readpart one . To learn how winners felt about the critique provided by the contest, read part three.
The Colorado Gold Contest for unpublished fiction closes June 1, 2015. For more information on how to enter, go to http://rmfw.org/contest/rules-and-entry-instructions/
Kara Seal holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Colorado State University. By day, she’s a Programming Assistant at a public library district. By night, she’s a writer of young adult and middle grade fiction, and an active member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and SCBWI. Kara is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary. She lives in Colorado with her husband and their dogs, Link and Zelda.
Monica Comas (née Rivituso) started writing creatively as a kid growing up in Cleveland, Ohio. Determined to make a living with words, she went on to receive her master’s in journalism from New York University. She was a journalist for ten years, most of which was spent as a lead columnist for SmartMoney.com. During that time, her work appeared in SmartMoney magazine, The Wall Street Journal Sunday Section (which ran in national papers back in the day), The Wall Street Journal Europe, The Plain Dealer, and Saveur. After a decade working as a journalist, then a financial editor and freelancer, she’s returned to her creative-writing roots to focus on fiction full-time. Words that don’t end up in a manuscript can be found on her blog: monica-comas.com. Twitter musings: @MonicaRivCom Countless Instagram pictures of her pup…and food: monicarivcom
Jessica Naab works very long hours during the day for a non-profit Hospice. While this is her passion and what she loves to do, helping family members and terminally ill patients navigate their way through their final stages of life can be draining. Her imagination and the dream of becoming published is what makes her able to come home and write. Plus writing sex scenes isn’t THAT tiresome. In what spare time she has, she enjoys looking up cat videos on the internet, hiking, reading, and other anti-social activities. She has also been known to imbibe in the occasional glass of wine…or three. She frequently attends editing and beta workshops in addition to attempting (and failing) to ignore the nagging voices of her characters in her head. When not working , she can often be found conversing with said characters in complete disregard for her own sanity and how this must look in public.
Kristin Meachem was born in Canada but has lived the last thirty-seven years in Australia. An ex Marketing Manager, she’s now a full time writer and mother of two. Contact Kristin through her website at kristinmeachem.com
Michael (M.A.) Carson grew up in San Marcos, California before moving to Montrose, Colorado with his parents and younger sister. His love for writing started in fourth grade, providing him limitless possibilities for creative expression. After graduating college, Michael started writing novels, ranging from aliens to superheroes to beauty-sucking vampires. Genres were the jumping off point — a place where expectations, tropes, and clichés could be turned upside down. Regardless of what he writes, his goal has always been the same: to take readers on a one-of-a-kind adventure and keep them laughing along the way. When he’s not writing, he enjoys cooking, drawing, cardboard sculpting, and taking long walks on the Colorado beaches. You can find more of his work at macarson.com.
Charles Kowalski has lived overseas for more than 15 years, visited more than 30 countries, and studied more than 10 languages. Small wonder, then, that the international thriller is his genre of choice. In Mind Virus, winner in the 2013 Action/Thriller category, he introduces Robin Fox, citizen of the world, scholar of religions, and man of peace struggling to atone for his complicity in war crimes as a military interrogator. When a rare and deadly virus is released in downtown Washington, the FBI and CIA automatically blame Muslim extremists, but Fox has his doubts. He launches his own investigation – which catapults him into a globe-spanning race to prevent a disaster from which no one from Washington to Mecca will be safe.
Mary Birk lives in Colorado with her husband. When she’s not writing or practicing law, she enjoys gardening, traveling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. Before embarking on writing fiction, she authored the Colorado Pretrial Handbook, published in 2008, and updated and reissued in 2011 by Bradford Publishing Co. Her first book, Mermaids of Bodega Bay was a finalist for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Award in 2013, and the next book in the Terrence Reid/Anne Michaels series, The First Cut, won the Colorado Gold Award in the mystery/suspense category in 2014. Contact Mary through her website atmarybirk.com