I attended the 2016 Pikes Peak Writers Conference in Colorado last week and I have to say that it knocked my socks off.
I taught six hours there; a three hour prequel and three one hour classes, two of which included the number “8” in their start times so you can imagine the stress these lazy bones were under. But it all came off swimmingly. My audiences were awesome, the staff welcoming and warm. The venue and space, the bar, even the weather—a dramatic Spring blizzard all seemed to come together to make the time I spent in Colorado Springs memorable and meaningful.
I’ll return there one day. They promised. I have them on tape with witnesses saying so. I can’t wait. PPWC is one of the premier writing conferences, one of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to attend. Congratulations to every one, and humble thanks to all my new fans who bought out my books at the bookstore.
Warren Hammond, one of the first people to welcome me by reminding me we were old friends. Warren was at The Blog Mansion for the infamous bridge interview. Glad he survived. Good people!
The Master of Ceremonies herself, Becky Clark, a funny energetic force I was lucky to meet right off. She taught me a new word: "Douchecanoe."*
*(not directed at me - just overheard it. I'm going to steal it!)
|I was a table host which meant I got a sign to warn off the weak and easily startled. They didn't get my genres right so I took it upon myself to edit.|
|A selfie with agent Alec Shane from Writers House who'd sent me a rejection just a week before (his second). This is the moment just before I told him.|
|Bar Con: the time spent in the hotel bar after the conference ends for the day. A magic time. here is keynote speaker Jeff Lindsay playing guitar for the good folks.|
|More editing of my dinner sign. Art is never finished, only abandoned.|
|Hanging with the big boys: Kevin J. Anderson, Joe R. Lansdale and me.|
|Jennifer Letwack (Thomas Dunne Books), me and Annie Berger (Sourcebooks) - The editors I wanted to meet. I got pretty close but only pitched to one. Annie declined to read more. I cried.|
|The media equated this storm to the end of the world. It snowed.|
|Me and M.B. Partlow an instant friend and kidnapper who led me to her mini-van with promises of candy. Good times. If the hat fits, wear it.|
|There were some familiar faces in Colorado. Steffi Floch and me doing stuff.|
|This dessert was a work of art, but I was on a diet and couldn't eat it. I ate some anyway.|
|I met my doppelganger while I was there. It was uncanny how much we had in common. Here we are, me Aaron Michael Ritchey and more Kevin J. Anderson, keynote speaker and machine!|
|One of the nicest big named authors I've ever met. The wonderful Wendy Corsi Staub, keynote speaker.|
|A personal moment of with Jeff Lindsay, keynote speaker and author of the DEXTER books. It's rewarding to see him so impressed/awed/terrified? of the hat.|
|The physical toll the conference took on me. My bad knee reminding me that there's a bionic replacement in my future.|
There were so many other great people I met. I don't know how I got home without a picture of me hanging with J.T. Evans, Angie Hodapp, Anita Mumm, Andra Watkins, Angel Smits, Jason Henry, Karen Fox, Hillary Dodge, or Kevin Ikenberry. Love all you guys! Miss you already.
Put this one on your bucket list. PPWC is the real deal.