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Mountain of Authors

This guide provides information about a free annual community program for local authors and writers.

2023 Showcase Authors - A to G

John Wesley Anderson, MBA, is a published author, storyteller and TEDx speaker. He enjoyed a 30-year law enforcement career, retiring at the rank of sergeant after 22 years with the Colorado Springs Police Department, followed by 8 years serving as the elected sheriff for El Paso County, Colorado. After being term-limited as Sheriff, John retired from public safety and was employed in homeland and corporate security for ten years in the private sector. He retired from the Lockheed Martin Corporation in 2012 to launch a consulting business allowing him the freedom to pursue his love of history, writing and the arts. In 2022 John was honored to receive the Golden Quill Award from the Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District. Although John has traveled around the world, including several adventures on a catamaran sailing the Caribbean, three corporate security assignments into a combat zone on the Horn of Africa and landing on an aircraft carrier at sea in the Pacific Ocean, he remains most fascinated by the rich history and art discovered in his own backyard in the American Southwest.


Books by John Wesley Anderson

1. Lou and JonBenet, A Legendary Lawman’s Quest to Solve a Child Beauty Queen’s Murder

2. A to Z Colorado’s Nearly Forgotten History 1776-1876

3. Sherlock Holmes in Little London, 1896 The Missing Year

4. ZacBox and the Pearls of Pleiades

5. R.S. Kelly, A Man of the Territory

6. Native American Prayer Trees of Colorado

7. Rankin Scott Kelly, First Sheriff El Paso County, Colorado Territory

8. Ute Indian Prayer Trees of the Pikes Peak Region


Sean Barber is a new author in a fairly new genre of novel, LitRPG, specifically the subgenre Apocalyptic LitRPG. He is the author of the Paths of Power, Initialization trilogy, consisting of two self-published books with a third in progress. After being unable to afford a master's degree in clinical counseling, Sean quit his job to get his commercial driver's license (CDL) in an effort to be better off financially. His career as a truck driver allowed him to pursue his passion for writing during his free time.

Originally from Clearlake, a small town in northern California, Sean has lived in Colorado Springs for over two decades. He has an associate's degree in Information Technology and a bachelor's degree in Psychology. In addition to writing, Sean is an avid reader and audiobook listener, table top role-playing gamer, and a big fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anime. Sean works hard at balancing his day job, writing time and spending time with his wife, son and three very hyper dogs, two of which have been included in his written works.



Tracy Beach is a Colorado historian and the author of My Life as a Whore: The Biography of Madam Laura Evens, The Tunnels Under Our Feet: Colorado’s Forgotten Hollow Sidewalks, Frozen to the Cabin Floor: The Biography of Baby Doe Tabor, Michael and The Night of a Thousand Heroes. She is currently working on a book about the Stanley Hotel, as well a second book on Colorado’s hollow sidewalks.




Brook Bhagat is the Pushcart-nominated author of Only Flying, a collection of surreal poetry and flash fiction on paradox, rebellion, transformation, and enlightenment from Unsolicited Press. She was a first-round winner in the 2022 Colorado Hearts and Minds Poetry contest, and her work has won first place in contests at A Story in 100 Words and Loud Coffee Press. It has been published in Monkeybicycle, Empty Mirror, Soundings East, The Pine Cone Review, The Alien Buddha Goes Pop, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, and other journals and anthologies. She is a founding editor of Blue Planet Journal and an assistant professor of creative writing at Pikes Peak State College.

Read her work and learn more about Only Flying at


C.S. (Cindy) Boyll, Colorado Springs, has had a life-long love for books and writing. She has spent part of her adult life as a journalist and copy editor in Washington, D.C.; Minot, ND; Philadelphia; and Cincinnati. Now, she turns her pen to writing fiction with her debut young adult novel Unexpected Riches. This historical adventure about Elisabeth Allerton, a kidnapped Puritan midwife, took 30 years to go from idea to press. Yes, it’s researched. This fall, Cindy and local illustrator Jessica Santiesteban will release Always Flying Bobby, a whimsical picture book about a grandfather and granddaughter’s mutual love for flying and each other. Cindy enjoys exploring local parks with husband Chuck and sharing stories with her local Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators group. She also is a member of Pikes Peak Writers.

Find more info at





Jaime Clevenger lives in Manitou Springs and spends most days working as a veterinarian. Days off are filled writing, reading, swimming and enjoying family time with their wife and kids—both two and four-legged. Jaime primarily writes sapphic romance and publishes with Bella Books. 


Writing under the pen names Avery Daniels and C.G. Abbot, the author was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life.  Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units.  She still resides in Colorado Springs with her two rescued brother black cats as her companions.  She volunteered for a number of years for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic.  She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

Visit her website



Traveling the world with her family, Holly DeHerrera grew up as a military brat, who developed a love for different places and people all over the globe. Her novel entitled The Orphan Maker’s Sin grew out of her experiences living in Turkey during the Gulf War. Holly’s mid-western Amish and Mennonite roots color her point of view as well. She finds joy in the old stories and recipes of her salt-of-the-earth heritage that inspired her Middlebury Mysteries series. From the ancient ruins of a Turkish castle-in-the-sea to waving fields of Indiana corn, her stories and settings are interwoven with her experiences. Holly married a native Colorado man and together they enjoy raising and homeschooling five kids.

Visit her website here and connect on Facebook here.

Heath Gay is a life-long resident of Colorado with an extreme passion for experiencing, and sharing, all the Centennial State has to offer. He spends much of his time exploring Colorado, documenting historically significant, unique, abandoned, and must-see sites throughout the state. Thus, the “Forgotten Colorado” book series was born, profiling places in Colorado that few people know exist and how to find them. Currently, three of the four books in the series are available in bookstores or online: 1. Forgotten Colorado:  Eastern Plains 2. Forgotten Colorado:  Southern Region 3. Forgotten Colorado:  Northern Region The final book in the series will be published in 2023 as will his book on Colorado Springs titled, Colorado Springs – The Most Significant Sites in the City. Heath is also the founder of the Colorado Fan Club, with a mission to share the best that Colorado has to offer by bringing to light forgotten history, epic adventures, spectacular hikes, amazing local artwork, and so much more. You can learn more about Heath and all things Colorado by visiting

Monique “Momo” Givens is a professional toy designer with credits including Mattel, Hasbro, and other freelancing ventures. She earned a BFA with honors in Toy Design from Otis College of Art and Design in the heart of Los Angeles, CA.

In 2020, Momo decided to dip her toes into the world of self-publishing and try her hand at creating an out-of-the-box picture book series that features jaw-dropping, imaginative visuals and expressive rhymes highlighting earth’s diverse animal kingdom! Momo hopes that her books will inspire newfound love and appreciation for the animal kingdom, word play, as well as cultural imagery/designs from all around the world.

In addition to her book series, Momo has been able to bring her fantastical characters to life as eye-popping plush toys for the world to enjoy.

Currently, Momo resides in her hometown of Colorado Springs, CO in hopes of taking her Beanibeings™ to infinity and beyond!

Find out more at The Beanibeings™.

Stewart M. Green, a Colorado Springs native, has hiked, climbed, photographed, and traveled across the American West as well as the world in search of memorable images and experiences to document. Stewart, a freelance writer and photographer for Globe Pequot Press, FalconGuides, and Every Adventure Publishing, has written and photographed over fifty travel and outdoor adventure books, including Best Easy Day Hikes Colorado Springs, Scenic Driving Colorado, Best Hikes Colorado Springs, Best Climbs Moab, Best Hikes Albuquerque, Rock Climbing Colorado, Scenic Driving New England, and Rock Art: The Meanings and Myths Behind Ancient Ruins in the Southwest and Beyond. His photographs and writing are also published in many magazines, books, catalogs, and ads. Stewart’s new books released in 2022 are Hiking Colorado’s Hidden Gems, Scenic Driving California’s Pacific Coast, and Hiking Waterfalls Colorado (2nd edition co-authored with Susan Joy Paul) and Best Lake Hikes Colorado (coauthored with Susan Joy Paul). 

Visit Stewart Green's website here.


E.T. Gunnarsson translates imagination into words. His debut book, Forgive Us, was awarded Best Sci-Fi at the 2021 San Francisco Book Festival and Best Post-Apocalyptic Book at the 2021 Fiction Awards. Abandon Us, the prequel to Forgive Us, is now available at major book resellers.

Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains (9,000 feet altitude!), E.T. now resides in southern Colorado with his dwarfed Cane Corso and his lifelong interest in Norse myth and culture. A storyteller from an early age, Mr. Gunnarsson spent his formative years developing his writing skills on international roleplay sites.

Outside of writing, E.T. is a well-versed individual. He trained with two different Olympic squads, is an expert in Norse mythology, a drag racer, an experimental cook, a woodcarver, an avid action roleplay gamer, a Judo brown belt, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt.

It’s easy to find E.T. on Facebook and Instagram: just search for his name. His legendary interviews can be found on Youtube and other websites. Or visit to reach his publisher.



Carissa is a lifelong adventurer and bookworm who will never turn down fast food, still listens to 2000s pop punk, and always greets wildlife that crosses her path. Though fiction has been her passion since she was young, she also spent seven years as an air traffic controller in the Air Force, where she cultivated a love for all things aviation. Carissa grew up exploring the Sierra Nevadas of California, but now lives in Colorado with her husband. Mountains are her happy place, and much of her writing pulls inspiration from the grandeur and magic of the Rockies. When not writing or out finding adventure, she enjoys consuming horror and fantasy in any medium available.

Visit her website

Award-winning* author George Hayward grew up in the shadow of Boston and lived in six states before settling for good in Colorado. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he was recognized as one of the service’s top journalists in the 1990s. Among his two dozen military journalism awards, he won the Department of Defense’s Thomas Jefferson Award for editorials and commentaries in 1991 and was the Air Force’s journalist of the year in 1993. He left the service in 1999 and has worked primarily in public relations since, including media relations for NASA, corporate gigs in Los Angeles and Hawaii, and four rewarding years at a nonprofit serving veterans. Today, when not writing, he focuses his p.r. work on public service—local government and nonprofits. His books Soul Afflicted and The Party Dolls are vastly different works—a fiction novel of spiritual self-discovery bordering on the paranormal, and the award-winning*, true-history account of a tortured and tragic escape from a Hanoi prison. Yet both delve into the conscience and consequences of personal choices, of right and wrong, and the gray areas in between. 

* 2021 Best Indie Book Award for Nonfiction Military History, 2021 Independent Press Award for Military Nonfiction, finalist for 16th annual National Indie Excellence Awards (Military Nonfiction), and two categories of the 2022 Independent Authors Network Awards (History and True Story). 

Keith Hirshland is an Emmy Award–winning sports television producer with more than three decades of experience producing live and pre-recorded programs that aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Among the first forty people to be hired by the Golf Channel in 1994, Hirshland was in the middle of the action when that network debuted in 1995. He provided his talents for Golf Channel, as its live tournament producer, for two decades.

Cover Me Boys, I'm Going In: Tales of the Tube from a Broadcast Brat is a memoir about his experiences in the television industry. Published by Beacon Publishing Group, Cover Me Boys was recognized as the Book Talk Radio Club Memoir of the Year. Hirshland’s second book, and first work of fiction, Big Flies, was published in 2016 and is the recipient of the New Apple Awards “Solo Medalist” in the True Crime Category. Hirshland followed that success with his third book, The Flower Girl Murder. In 2020 Beacon Publishing Group released Murphy Murphy and the Case of Serious Crisis, Hirshland’s third mystery novel. It was a Top Shelf Magazine First Place award winner and was named the Book Talk Radio Club Book of the Year for 2020.  Song Girl, Hirshland’s fifth book, is the sequel to The Flower Girl Murder and was released in January of 2022.

All five books are available at, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores.

Keith Hirshland lives in Colorado with his wife and their dogs Mac and Maggie.


A.L. Kessler is an author of paranormal and urban fantasy books and is best known for her Here Witchy Witchy series. A self-proclaimed coffee addict, she resides in Colorado Springs with her family and menagerie of animals. When she’s not writing her next book, she loves to read and visit with friends and family.


To learn more about her, check out her website or follow her on Facebook at


A fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror, fantasy, and mystery. Her stories can be found in over forty anthologies and magazines, and her four solo horror short story collections and her nonfiction title, The Business of Short Stories, 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


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. Her newest cozy mystery, Take the Honey and Run: A Bee Keeping Mystery, debuts this July.

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


Cathy graduated from Biola University with a degree in literature and a love for stories. She and her husband, whom she met while writing letters to soldiers, have five children and currently live within the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. While writing is one of her favorite things, she also enjoys reading, long hikes, long naps, gluten-free brownies, raspberries, and crocheting while watching science fiction movies with friends and family.

Most of her imaginary friends are nice people.

Patricia Meredith is an author of historical and cozy mysteries. When she’s not writing, she’s playing board games with her husband, creating imaginary worlds with her two children, or out in the garden reading a good book with a cup of tea. She currently lives in Colorado Springs.

The first three books in her historical mystery series, the Spokane Clock Tower Mysteries, are available everywhere books are sold. She is currently working on the next three in the series. Her new historical fiction mystery featuring the Mother of Detective Fiction, Anna Katharine Green, releases this year!

Before taking the dive into mystery, Patricia Meredith was a fiction editor working with magazines, businesses, and publishers on a variety of projects from art books (such as The Art of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire) to fantasy novels (such as Rising Sun, Falling Shadows, winner of the 2013 Scribe Award for Best Original Novel). She has worked with such New York Times bestselling authors as George R.R. Martin, Tracy Hickman, William H. Keith, and Graham McNeill.

Visit her website at


Susan Miura is an author, editor, and speaker as well as a former Chicago-area journalist and public relations professional. She believes book characters should reflect the world in which we live, and therefore includes characters of various ethnicities, abilities, and cultures in her novels. Her award-winning young adult books are clean fiction with suspense, danger, and touches of romance and humor. Susan also writes inspirational women’s fiction and has one children’s poetry book that features several of her wildlife photos. Hobbies include nature photography, hiking, baking, and reading. Susan recently moved to Colorado Springs from a Chicago suburb and loves the sunshine, mountains, and hiking opportunities.

Visit her website





Valerie Niemerg is a retired opera singer who performed leading roles with regional opera companies around the United States. Now a breast cancer survivor and a veteran foster-mom, Niemerg divides her time between her two children, her voice studio and her writing. Elly Uncomposed, her first work of fiction, is presently available anywhere you can click.


Terry Odell began writing by mistake, when her son mentioned a television show and she thought she’d watch it so they’d have common ground for discussions.

Now she’s a multi-published, award winning author of over thirty novels, novellas, and short stories. She writes mysteries and romantic suspense, but calls them all “Mysteries With Relationships.” Her awards include the Silver Falchion, the International Digital Awards, and the HOLT Medallion. A Los Angeles native, she moved to Florida where she spent thirty years in the heat and humidity. She now enjoys life with her husband and rescue dog in the cooler, dryer climate of the Colorado Rockies, where she watches wildlife from her windows.

You can learn more about her and her books at her website, or her blog Terry’s Place.


Kim Olgren is the author of the internationally-selling cozy mystery, Flipped – A Jillian McElroy Flipping Mystery (written as Kimberly Olgren). Flipping houses can be murder. As Jillian soon finds out when she buys her first house for renovation, setting off a powder keg of murder, kidnapping, and worst of all, the necessity to hire infamous womanizer, Nathan Strong as her general contractor. When not writing Kim can be found in her local community renovating houses with her husband, volunteering with her local writers’ organization, or camping somewhere in the Rocky Mountains.

Find out more at her blog site



About Pikes Peak Writers

The non-profit organization, Pikes Peak Writers, began as a conference founded in 1993 by author Jimmie Butler under the auspices and sponsorship of the Friends of Pikes Peak Library. The inaugural conference centered on “Useful Tips for Writing Commercial Fiction,” and enjoyed sponsorship by the Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District and The Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration. The conference has achieved a top ten ranking among U.S. writers conferences by Writers Digest Magazine. After many years of successful conferences, a core group of volunteers formed the parent organization, Pikes Peak Writers, as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality education for writers year-round. Since Pikes Peak Writers’ founding in 2001, non-conference events have blossomed to more than 40 free and low-cost events, including monthly Write Brain sessions, writing workshops, and a host of other fun and educational meetings and events. PPW has also published two outstanding anthologies featuring stories by members.   Membership in PPW is over 2,000 and growing. The organization is piloted by President Kim Olgren, governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors, and maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.

Mission Statement: Pikes Peak Writers (a 501(c)(3) organization) is committed to helping writers grow and thrive through education, outreach, and community.

Kathleen E. Owings is a business owner, financial advisor and #1 Bestselling Author of Put Your Money to Work: A Woman’s Guide to Financial Confidence. Kathleen wrote her book to help empower women with their finances and gain confidence through easy-to-follow action steps and personal insights from her career in financial services.

Kathleen graduated from the United States Military Academy in 2000 with a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations. She served as a Corps of Engineer officer and was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and Fort Carson, Colorado. In 2003 Kathleen deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in a combat zone.

Kathleen began her career in the financial services industry in 2007. Kathleen and her business partner formed Westbilt Financial Group in 2014. Kathleen has always been involved in the Colorado Springs community with various organizations to include the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) Board of Trustees, PPLD Foundation, Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Homefront Military Network.

Kathleen and her family have called Colorado Springs home since 2004. Kathleen enjoys spending time with her husband, Michael, and their daughter. Their favorite activities are skiing, hiking, and running in some of the region’s most daunting races, like the Pikes Peak Ascent.

Visit her website at and her book can also be purchased at Amazon.

2023 Showcase Authors - P to Z

Susan Joy Paul has traveled around the United States and beyond to forty-seven hot springs, more than one hundred lakes and 150 waterfalls, and to the summits of more than 700 peaks. Her memorable adventures include hikes and climbs on the Keyhole Route on Longs Peak, the Knife-edge on Capitol Peak, the Maroon Bells Traverse, the Mountaineer’s Route on Mount Whitney, the East Arête on Mount Russell, Otto’s Route on Independence Monument, the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier, the Gooseneck Glacier on Gannett Peak, the Jamapa Glacier on Pico de Orizaba, the Ayoloco Glacier on Iztaccihuatl, and the Whymper Route on Chimborazo.  

Susan’s books include Touring Colorado Hot Springs (second and third editions), Hiking Waterfalls Colorado (first and second editions), Climbing Colorado’s Mountains, Best Lake Hikes Colorado, and Woman in the Wild: The Everywoman’s Guide to Hiking, Camping, and Backcountry Travel

She is also a sought-after ghostwriter with more than forty nonfiction books to her credit published by traditional, independent, and self-publishers, with two books appearing on the Wall Street Journal Bestsellers list. Susan lives independently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 


Carla R. is a married, mom of two that loves to read a good love story. She got it in her head one day that she could write one too, and so she did. She loves to write about strong independent women and the sexy men that love them.

When she's not writing, she's usually spending time with her hubby, kids and dogs or binge watching The Office ...again. She's a stay-at-home mom with a caffeine addiction, a part-time hairstylist, and a full-time smartass.

Find out more at Carla R.

Dr. Raymond James Raymond is a retired British diplomat. He is now an adjunct professor in the department of social sciences, United States Military Academy, adjunct fellow of the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, Newport, Rhode Island, and professor emeritus of government and history at the State University of New York campus at Stone Ridge.  

His book, Elite Souls: Portraits of Valor in Iraq and Afghanistan​​​​,  outlines the importance of building and developing moral character in military leaders, while arguing that a rigorous academic education is also essential in creating young officers capable of the kind of creative and critical thinking necessary in the complicated wars of the twenty-first century.  Dr. Raymond suggests that West Point’s servant-leader model is critical in fostering the kind of intense selflessness ideally seen between junior officers, their NCOs, and soldiers. Finally, Elite Souls  makes the case that inspirational commanding officers are also key.

Find out more about Dr. Raymond and his book at Naval Institute Press.

DIAN CURTIS REGAN is the author of 60 books for young readers, ranging from picture books to young adult novels and anthology stories. Her books have won many honors, and have been translated into German, French, Korean, Danish, and Finnish.

She is a former “Member of the Year” of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI.) She was inducted into the Oklahoma Professional Writers’ Hall of Fame, and a library was named after her in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela.

Dian grew up in Colorado Springs. She graduated from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and taught school in Denver before becoming a full-time author.

Her Space Boy books have won a Crystal Kite Award from SCBWI and have been finalists for both the Colorado Book Award and the Colorado Authors’ League Award.

She is a recent recipient of the Golden Quill Award for her body of work, presented by Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District, and she's a current nominee for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Authors' League.

Dian's newest project is bringing back previously-published titles as ebooks, print book and novellas via Her partner in France has provided all new covers and interior artwork.

Visit Dian's website

Sarah Byrn Rickman knew at five she wanted to write books. At 13, she read about Amelia Earhart and wanted to fly. A 20-plus year career in journalism — reporter/ columnist for The Detroit News and later editor of the Centerville-Bellbrook (Ohio) Times — put her on the brink. Add a master’s degree in creative writing then the 2001 publication of The Originals: The Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron of World War II.  

Twelve books later, Sarah writes upbeat biographies — about the women pilots who flew in World War II — for today’s young women ages 11-15.

Visit her website


Sammantha Saffell is a paranormal mystery writer that has been an indie author for the past four years. She is the author of The Hellborn Series which currently has seven books published.  Sammantha also writes under the name S.K. O’Brien with her husband Kyle as her co-author. Their series, The Daemon Brothers, is a brand new dark romance series with the first book Anguish set to release in spring of this year.  Her upcoming projects include two anthologies that are set to release next spring: Red's Familiar and Realm Queens.  Not only has she written books, but also several articles for the Pittsburgh Press Author Magazine, including being featured on the cover of the April 2023 edition.  You can find all of her books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.  






Taylor Stanecek has spent most of his life in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He's currently a commercial property manager with a drive to write in his spare time. His passion for writing sparked in grade school with the help of a motivational teacher, and has pushed him to continue to strive for creativity through short stories and poetry over the years, finally moving into fictional novels that help to depict the harsh experiences in life. Identifying as gay, Taylor has focused his first coming of age trilogy on LGBT culture.


Mike Torreano is an award-winning author with a military background and a particular interest in American history and the Old West.

His debut western mystery, The Reckoning, set in South Park, Colorado in 1868, was released in 2016 by The Wild Rose Press. The sequel, The Renewal, also in South Park, 1872, was released in 2018, with a third western mystery, A Score To Settle, set in New Mexico Territory in 1870 released October 2020. White Sands Gold is his latest western mystery, also set in New Mexico Territory, 1890 and released by Wild Rose in September 2022. He has a coming-of-age novel due out summer 2023, Fireflies At Dusk, which is set during the Civil War. His short story, The Trade, a tale of the Yukon Gold Rush, was his first published work in 2014.

Mike’s written for magazines and newspapers for many years. An experienced editor, he’s taught English and Journalism at both the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

He’s a member of the Historical Novel Society, Pikes Peak Writers, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Western Writers of America and several other writing groups. He has appeared on the British broadcast On The Record, and he recently guested on LA Talk Radio’s Rendezvous With A Writer and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ podcast.

His novels have received the Firebird Book Award for western fiction, American Book Award finalist for mystery/suspense, and a gold award for fiction from Literary Titan.

He brings his readers back in time with him as he recreates life in mid-to-late nineteenth century America. He and his wife, Anne, live in Colorado Springs.

Visit his website


Durthy A. Washington—a former English professor, technical writer, and writing center director—is the founder of LitUnlocked, which provides workshops and seminars on the art of mindful, culturally responsive reading. Each course centers on the LIST Paradigm, a unique, guided approach to literary analysis that can help readers “unlock” a text with four keys to culture: Language, Identity, Space, and Time.

Durthy has developed four Literary Study Guides (Cliffs Notes) on the works of African American authors: Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon; Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl; Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man; and Ernest Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying. Her writings include numerous critical essays, book reviews, and book chapters.

Her book, Culturally Responsive Reading: Teaching Literature for Social Justice was published in March 2023 by Teachers College Press.

Durthy is currently at work on her second book, Black Voices at the Peak: Profiles, Essays, and Interviews, 1992 to 1999, scheduled for release February 2024 by local publisher Rhyolite Press.

Click here to read a Q&A with Durthy from Teachers College Press. 



Marie Whittatker is an award-winning essayist and author of horror, fantasy, children’s books and supernatural thrillers. She works as a publisher at WordFire Press and is the director of Superstars Writing Seminars. She is the creator of The Adventures of Lola Hopscotch, a children’s book series created to get sensitive childhood issues out in the open between children and adults. Many of her short stories appear in numerous anthologies and publications, including Weird Tales. She is currently working on a new paranormal mystery titled (working) Little Boy Lost. In 2021, she co-founded the popular epic fantasy world of Eldros Legacy. She loves to crochet and garden in her downtime and habitually adopts rescue animals.

Visit her website