2019 Keynote Speakers
Erika T. Wurth
Erika T. Wurth’s publications include a novel, Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, two collections of poetry, Indian Trains and One Thousand Horses Out to Sea, and a collection of short stories, Buckskin Cocaine. Her novel You Who Enter Here is forthcoming from SUNY.
A writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, she teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and has been a guest writer at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in numerous journals including Boulevard, The Writer’s Chronicle, Waxwing and The Kenyon Review. She is Apache/Chickasaw/Cherokee and was raised outside of Denver.
Buckskin Cocaine (2017) is a wild, beautiful ride into the seedy underworld of Native American film. These are stories about men maddened by fame, actors desperate for their next buckskin gig, directors grown cynical and cruel, and dancers who leave everything behind in order to make it, only to realize at thirty that there is nothing left. Poetic and strange, Wurth’s characters and vivid language will burn themselves into your mind, and linger.
You Who Enter Here (forthcoming) Matthew has grown up in hell. His father is gone, and his mother drinks and hooks up with men who abuse Matthew and his sister. He finally decides to hit the streets of Farmington to get away and to drink himself to death—in his mind, his destiny. He meets Chris, who saves him, takes him home, cleans him up, gets him sober, and initiates Matthew into one of Albuquerque’s Native American gangs, the 505s. The 505s have been around for generations. They now sell heroin, and it’s their subservience to the Mexican gangs that has allowed them to survive. However, Chris decides that his little Native American gang deserves to be as big as the Mexican gangs in Albuquerque, bringing in new business from deep inside Indigenous communities in Mexico. Then, Matthew falls in love with Chris’s girlfriend. Matthew’s story is one of terrible darkness, but also, unexpected beauty and tenderness.
Go to Erika’s website for more information.
David is the author of the debut novel, White Plains, published by Conundrum Press in 2017, and a finalist for the Colorado Book Awards (2018). Excerpts from the novel have been published as short stories in Glimmer Train, Colorado Review, Specs, Saranac Review, and South Dakota Review, along with other stellar journals. David and his wife Cynthia live in Colorado, with his adult children Stephen and Caitlin close by.
He is a professor at Regis University, where he also co-directs the Mile-High MFA program. He is represented by Victoria Skurnick of the Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency.
David Hicks grew up in Harrison, NY (about ten miles north of the Bronx) and attended Nazareth College of Rochester (BA), Saint Bonaventure University (MA), and NYU (PhD). He has been an English professor for many years, but in his forties he decided to stop writing about writers and start being a writer himself.Since then, he has published many short stories and written White Plains, published by Conundrum Press in 2017. He is currently hard at work completing a new novel, called The Gospel According to Danny.
White Plains Flynn Hawkins is a graduate assistant at a prestigious university, on his way to greatness and wisdom. But in the aftermath of 9/11, Flynn leaves his unhappy marriage and beloved children, resigns his teaching position and heads west, only to get lost in his guilt in the mountains of Colorado. When he ends up stuck overnight in a snow drift during a blizzard on the Continental Divide, he realizes he needs to remake himself into the kind of man his children need him to be.Go to David’s website for more information.
Erika Krouse is the author of two books of fiction: Contenders (novel) and Come Up and See Me Sometime (stories). Two new books are forthcoming with Flatiron Books/Macmillan: Tell Me Everything: Memoir of a Private Eye, and Save Me: stories. Erika’s work has previously been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Esquire.com, Ploughshares, One Story, Granta.com, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Erika teaches fiction and mentors for the Book Project at the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver.
More on Erika’s work[Forthcoming:] Tell Me Everything: Memoir of a Private Eye—do you want a synopsis of this one? (It won’t be out in time for the conference.) Just drop me a note if you want jacket copy and I’ll make some up.
Contenders (2015): “Nina was a thief, technically, although she never defined herself that way. Stealing was sponsorship. Fighting was the passion.” Street-fighter Nina Black lives by her fists in Denver, stealing wallets and taking advantage of men who try to take advantage of her. This symbiosis is upended when one of her marks, a cop and MMA comeback contender, wants his wallet—and his dignity—back. Avoiding retribution is difficult enough alone, but it becomes impossible once Nina gets unexpected custody of an orphaned eight-year- old niece she didn’t know existed, accompanied by her long-lost (and ever-vigilant) childhood flame, Isaac. When the situation implodes, only one person can help Nina earn back her life, and prepare her for the fight that might end it.
Go to Erika’s website for more information.
We are now taking applications for presenters at GEOCON 2019! If you would like to be a presenter, please complete the form below.
2019 GEOCON Programming TBA
Georgetown Indie Con REGISTER NOW!
Where indie books are born and indie writers thrive.
June 8 – 10, 2018 in Georgetown Colorado
GEOCON Keynote Speakers
Mark Stevens: Award winning author of The Allison Coil Mystery Series, Mark Stevens is currently the president of Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America. Awards include: 2015 Colorado Authors League in Genre Fiction, Winner of the 2015 Colorado Book Award Mystery Category and 2016 Colorado Book Award Finalist, just to name a few.
He worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor in Boston and Los Angeles; as a City Hall reporter for The Rocky Mountain News in Denver; as a national field producer for The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (PBS) and as an education reporter for The Denver Post.
Mark is also a member of Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Authors League, Pikes Peaks Writers, and Western Writers of America.
Ian Neligh: Award winning journalist and author of Gold!: Madness, Murder, and Mayhem in the Colorado Rockies, Ian Neligh developed his passion for storytelling growing up in Colorado where, around the family dinner table he learned a good story must be captivating – and if possible hilarious.
More than anything Neligh enjoys finding and telling a good story and often that has brought him to the strangest of places including crime scenes, jails, avalanches, gold mines, alligator farms and ghost towns.
Ian is currently editor of the Clear Creek Courant newspaper. He has won many state and national journalism awards for his writing and reporting including first place for online in-depth reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, first place for investigative reporting from the Colorado Press Association, he has also won numerous awards for his humorous writing. As a journalist, Neligh has flown airplanes, been dog sledding, horseback riding, run with burros, dressed up as mascots, taken part in Civil War reenactments, climbed mountains, investigated corruption, interviewed mayors, senators, governors and famous film directors – all on deadline.
Gary Barns: TEDx speaker and author Gary Barnes is a popular national and international speaker and award winning #1 Amazon best-selling author of 7 books including How a Beaver Saved my Life (his own personal triumph over adversity story about when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis). He has been featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS and TEDx.
Married over 40 years, with adult sons,— He has completed a world class 40-foot firewalk, flown a World War II P-51 fighter, flown on a trapeze, driven in a Destruction Derby (his car was the Purple Passion); completed a 75foot bungee jump; and climbed 14,000 foot mountains. He’s a drummer and a Police Academy Graduate.
Gary is an inspirational speaker and business mastery coach who is guaranteed to help you move through the fog of any writer’s block you may think you have!
Breakout Session Presenters and Topics
Writing Real Life as Fiction
Sonja S. Mongar, MFA
When Truman Capote coined the term “faction,” he was referring to the true tale of a 1959 murder in his novel, In Cold Blood. It caused a backlash because he had broken the rules of objective journalism. But because of the need to find new ways to tell stories in our chaotic world, breaking the rules is more commonplace and accepted, giving rise to cross-genres such as autofiction and novoir.
Sonja will discuss her novoir writing experience and other topics such as: novoir vs. CNF, plot vs. NF narrative, truth vs. fact, subject vs. character, writing race and gender, dialect/dialogue among others. Q & A to follow.
Sonja Mongar is author of the newly released novel Two Spoons of Bitter. She currently teaches creative non-fiction, memoir and life narrative for Western Connecticut State University’s MFA writing program.
Book ’em, Danno!, Jami Carpenter
Let’s face it. Getting published can be frustrating. With a nod to traditional, boutique, and indie publishers, this presentation focuses on the plethora of POD publishing options, discussing the benefits of “self” publishing and demystifying the self-publishing process, giving writers the tools they need to get their great American novels (or memoirs or mysteries or …) in print.
Jami is a professional editor who works with traditional and boutique publishers, self-publishing writers, advertising agencies, educational foundations, and non-profit organizations. She is a frequent presenter at writing conferences, author groups, libraries, and bookstores, sharing her love of good grammar, spelling, and punctuation (and serial commas).
How do Judges Choose Book Winners for Literary Awards?, Jules Marie
Avoid common writing and publishing pitfalls and discover what judges are looking for when reading and reviewing books submitted for literary awards. Are books really judged by their cover or title? Do grammar and editing really matter? Will graphs, charts or illustrations help or hinder a book award? What’s the best layout for the interior? Should you use transitions, sub-heads, chapter breaks? Jules Marie is a word chef and judge for a number of literary award competitions.
Tough Talk: Writing Effective DialogueTough Talk: Writing Effective Dialogue, Laurie Marr Wasmund
Dialogue is a powerful writing tool. But literary dialogue isn’t the same as day-to-day speech. Learn how to develop effective dialogue, including how to use dialogue to ratchet up tension; where to place dialogue “tags;” and how to make dialogue sound realistic to your readers’ ears.
Laurie has thirty years of experience in the area of writing, coaching, and mentoring writers. She has worked as a researcher, editor, ghost writer, freelance writer, and college instructor, and she has both participated in and led writing critique groups. She often appears at writers’ conferences, where she offers sound advice to both beginning and advanced writers.
Book Design 101, Peggy Sands
Find out why you should hire a designer or what to do if you just can’t afford it . Peggy will discuss what to expect in terms of working with a designer, what they actually do: what’s involved, how you can optimize working with them, interfacing with your editor and designer. Learn how competent cover design sells your book, what to expect / consider when hiring a designer and how to know if this designer actually knows what they’re doing (designer is a pretty loose term these days) . Discover the basic ins and outs of designing and genre styles and more.
These days Sands calls Boulder home. She paints, teaches, freelances as a graphic designer and illustrator and makes artists books. She is a published children’s book author / illustrator and her murals appear in public buildings in Sedona and Boulder. Sands has juried art shows, painted commissions, received grants and won awards. Her work has appeared in national and international publications.
Creating Characters with Depth, Shawn McGuire
Whether starting with character first or plot first, stories need characters. Whether that story is a short, a novella, or a novel authors need to make sure those characters are well-rounded and interesting, they need to have depth, and they need to securely fit into the story being told. This workshop will use exercises, visual aids, and tips that really help attendants get to know their characters.
Starting with the vital stats that tell us little more than what we know about a stranger on the street, we’ll add layers, details, and backstory that make the story practically start writing itself. Attendants will see how these details will not only bring the characters to life, but make the story more vibrant as well. By really getting to know their characters, attendants will learn how much easier it is to write scenes that are believable and make sense to the story. I will have a character I’ve already sketched out. I’ll reveal the character slowly, step by step using the outline below, and encourage the group to do this along with me, creating their own character.
Fantasy and suspense author Shawn McGuire started writing after seeing the first Star Wars movie (that’s episode IV) as a kid. She couldn’t wait for the next installment to come out so wrote her own. Sadly, those notebooks are long lost, but her desire to tell a tale is as strong now as it was then. She grew up in the beautiful Mississippi River town of Winona, Minnesota, called the Milwaukee area of Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!) home for many years, and now lives in Colorado.
Preparing the Children/Teen novel for use in the Classroom to Inspire Reading & Writing, Cheryl Carpinello
Learn how to put your writing knowledge into a format that teachers and students will love when you visit classrooms. Areas to be covered include the use of the components of fiction writing to outline students’ stories, short story writing, poetry, and visual aids.
Attendees will learn about creating writing workshops for the classroom (K-8). We will go over the different types of writing and stories for early elementary grades (K-3) and the upper elementary/middle school grades (4-8). We will take a look at the different types of visuals to use in the classroom and how to get the permission for that use. Attendees will learn how to use their specific novels in classrooms. They will also be introduced to using storytelling in their classroom visits.
Cheryl is a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, teaching introduced her to writings and authors from times long past. Through her studies and teaching, She fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, she hopes to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through her Tales and Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds.
Cowbell, Darlings and Lampshades: The Vocabulary of Critique, Kate Jonuska
We cannot understand a subject unless we know the language with which to discuss it, and in few places is this more true than when you enter the world of writing critique for the first time. This workshop aims to familiarize newer writers with the Dictionary of Fiction Critique, composed based on my 10+ years experience in creative writing. Some terms comes from my days as a university workshop student, such as “Chekov’s Gun” and “dues ex machina.” Other vocabulary was honed in the critique groups I currently lead, such as “ten-page syndrome,” “put a lampshade on it,” and “underpainting.” This vocabulary can not only help you discuss and improve other writers’ work. Understanding these concepts can also help you understand what’s successful and unsuccessful in your own work and seriously up-level your skills. Free e-book Critique Dictionary included.
With more than a decade of experience in newspapers and magazines, I’ve written for a variety of publications up and down the Front Range, including the Denver Post, the Daily Camera (Boulder), Boulder Magazine and The Gazette (Colorado Springs). My specialties include restaurants — I was restaurant critic at The Gazette, 2011-2012 — food, health, fitness and travel.
My passion, however, has always been for fiction and I’ve seen success in that arena, as well. With a writing style best described as Margaret Atwood meets Amy Schumer, my short fiction was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize (“Desire Designed,” BROAD Magazine), and my first novel, Transference, published August 2017. Colorado Book Review called Transference “a punchy, bright read” and said, “Kate Jonuska has a keen, witty, unique voice that will likely only get more incisive and vivid with time.”
Networking Dinner at Coopers on the Creek! Join us at Cooper’s on The Creek for a special networking event. Dinner and iced tea are included in your ticket, drinks are available for purchase separately, limited to 35 people, vegetarian and gluten free options available, $25.
12-6pm Registration & Vendor Tables
5-6pm Wine & Cheese Cocktail/Networking Hour
6-7pm Opening Remarks, Keynote Speaker Mark Stevens
8-9am Building Opens/Late Registration
9-10am Keynote Speaker-Ian Neligh
10:15-11:15 Breakout Session #1 (Jami Carpenter & Kate Jonuska)
11:30-12:30pm Breakout Session #2 (Sonja Mongar, Shawn McGuire)
12:30-2:00pm LUNCH (in town, free time)
2-3:00pm Breakout Session #3 (Laurie Marr Wasmund, Cheryl Carpinello)
3:15-4:15pm Breakout Session #4 (Jules Marie & Peggy Sands)
6:00-8:00pm Optional Catered Dinner at Cooper’s
8am-9am Building Opens
9am-2pm Vendor Tables
9am-11am Panel, succesful indie writers
11:15-12:30pm Keynote Speaker, Gary Barnes