June 8th Meeting
The next RMMWA monthly meeting will be held June 8, 2023 at the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association (290 Speer Boulevard in Denver) and we’ll also broadcast a live, interactive hybrid meeting via Zoom. Please join us in-person or via Zoom for a talk by RMMWA member Matthew Porter on the Basics of Lock Picking for Mystery Writers.
The meeting at CADA will start at 6:15 p.m. (MDT) with drinks and networking, and dinner will be served at 6:30. Zoom attendees may sign on shortly before 7:00 for the start of the program. See the full agenda below.
To register to attend in person, please use the link below. Please sign up before Monday, June 5th to reserve your spot.
Zoom attendance is free and there is no need to register. Members will receive the meeting link via email. Non-members, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request access.
- Sautéed Chicken and Garlic in a rich and creamy Sweet pepper Onion Sauce
- Basmati Rice
- Vegetable of the day
- Seasonal greens salad
- Baked rolls and butter
- Selection of bite-sized deserts
- Tea, coffee, and water included. Wine and beer are available for a suggested cash donation of $3.00 per drink.
Note: Please contact our Caterer Director directly if you have allergies or specific food issues. We will try to accommodate you if we can.
- 6:15 Networking and drinks
- 6:30 Dinner
- 7:00 Introductions and Member News
- 7:30 Mystery Minute
- 7:40 Program
How Did You Get In Here?
Basics of Lock Picking for Mystery Writers
For as long as there have been locks, people have devised ways to get past them. And for as long as there has been crime fiction, it has reflected our fascination with picking locks and getting into places we shouldn’t.
Join us as writer, podcaster and locksport hobbyist Matthew Porter talks about the history of locks, the basics of lock picking, and ways to include realistic lock picking in your fiction.
Matthew Porter writes detective stories, 20th Century historical mysteries, and is working on a cozy mystery featuring a locksmith with a shady past. He is also a Colorado attorney and a consultant on managing digital evidence.
Online, Matthew talks about retro pop culture as co-host of the Inter-Millennium Media Project podcast (www.IMMProject.com) and reviews movies and movie theaters on YouTube (www.YouTube.com/@ByMatthewPorter). When he’s not trying to improve his lock picking skills, he can be found driving a MINI Cooper on twisty mountain roads. You can keep up with Matthew’s projects at ByMatthewPorter.com.
Video from the latest
2022 6-Word Mystery Winners!
The results of the 2022 Six-Word Mystery Contest sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America (RMMWA) have been announced.
Magician escapes gallows when witness vanishes
This entry, written by Rita Popp of Fort Collins, Colorado, was voted the winner over 25 final entries voted on by RMMWA’s members and announced at the chapter’s Mystery and Mistletoe holiday party held December 8th.
This year’s contest attracted 266 entries from 19 states. Writers submitted entries in five mystery categories including Hard Boiled or Noir; Cozy Mystery; Thriller Mystery; Police Procedural Mystery; and/or a Romance or Lust. Four contestants made the finals in more than one category.
According to legend, the first six-word novel was born in the 1920s when Ernest Hemingway at New York’s Algonquin Hotel or Luchow’s restaurant (depending on whom you ask) won a $10 bet by writing a six-word story. His dark and dramatic submission was: “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” Urban legend or no, memorable, heart-breaking and sublime six-word stories have been penned ever since.
RMMWA Chapter President Lori Lacefield said, “This year’s creative entries on the fine art of whodunnit and how ranged from kissing to cat poison, to a folded fitted sheet, and to a prized blueberry pie. The entries made our judges laugh and groan. This year’s contest was great fun all the way around.”
Judges for this year’s contest included Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine Editor Linda Landrigan; New York Times best-selling author Anne Hillerman; award-winning author, lawyer and activist Manuel Ramos; literary agent Terrie Wolf, owner of AKA Literary Management, and John Charles of The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Popp won $100 for her winning entry and all category finalists received $25. All finalists will have their six-word stories featured on the RMMWA website and published in both Deadlines, RMMWA’s newsletter, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.
Read on for the finalists and winners in all five categories. Category winners are indicated in bold:
News and Notes
Member Profile – Jeffrey Lockwood
Wyoming Representative and Chair of the 6-Word Mystery Contest
Jeffrey Lockwood grew up in New Mexico and spent youthful afternoons enchanted by feeding grasshoppers to black widow spiders in his backyard. This might account for both his scientific and literary affinities.
He earned a doctorate in entomology from Louisiana State University and worked for 15 years as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming. He became a world-renowned assassin, developing a method for efficiently killing billions of insects (mostly pests but there’s always the innocent bystander during a hit). This contact with death drew him into questions of justice, violence, and evil.
He metamorphosed into an appointment in the department of philosophy and the program in creative writing. Unable to escape his childhood, he’s written many award-winning works including a collection of essays titled Grasshopper Dreaming: Reflections on Killing and Loving (Skinner House, 2002), along with non-fiction books about the devastation of the West by locust swarms, the use of insects to wage biological warfare, and the terror humans experience during six-legged home invasions.
Pondering the dark side of humanity led him to the realm of the murder mystery. These days, he explores how the anti-hero of crime noir sheds existentialist light on the human condition. He has published a three-book noir mystery series featuring an ex-cop-turned-exterminator (Poisoned Justice, Murder on the Fly, and Lethal Fetish with Pen-L press). Most recently, he has published several Holmesian pastiches in various magazines.
His strangest venture into the realm of mystery was through writing the libretto for a chamber opera that tells the story of “North America’s greatest ecological mystery”—the disappearance of the Rocky Mountain locust, an insect that blackened the skies of the West, until something or someone caused its sudden demise. The three scenes of this continental-scale whodunit can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/L_4xzj7gAjA, https://youtu.be/KyK4jQwcfcw, and https://youtu.be/tuq1U815e6Q.
Review from RMMWA VP—this is an awesome production, be sure to watch it!
AND, check out Lockwood’s recently release podcast, “Once Upon a Meadow”–a series of stories for 4 to 9-year-olds (and for grownups with children, grandchildren, or an inner child) that integrate tales of diverse animals figuring out how to live together despite their differences (you can imagine the implicit elements of social and environmental justice, without our being pedantic because we figure that children are plenty smart with being told “the moral of the story”). I wrote the stories and provided the audio narration: https://www.onceuponameadow.com/
Why I’m involved in RMMWA
I’m involved in RMMWA for the same reason that mystery readers become drawn into a story. It’s not the cover art, plot, setting, or dialogue that keeps you going—it’s the characters. The people of RMMWA are tremendously creative, unwaveringly supportive, and wickedly capable. I’m not a best-selling mystery writer; I’m a lover of mystery writing (and reading, of course). And RMMWA warmly welcomes the unpublished, self-published, short story published, small publisher published, and big-time publisher published with equal enthusiasm. This chapter of the MWA is a genuine community, where characters of all sorts (and there are some “characters”) celebrate writing, whether it’s a six-word mystery (Lockwood chairs the esteemed 6-Word Mystery Contest) or a six-book contract.