Upcoming Meetings

April 13th Meeting

The next RMMWA monthly meeting will be held April 13, 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 panel on Independent Publishing

The meeting at CADA will start at 6:15 p.m. (MT) 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, April 10th 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 chapterpres@rmmwa.org to request access.

Dinner menu:

  • To Be Announced

Note: Please contact our Caterer Director directly if you have allergies or specific food issues. We will try to accommodate you if we can. 

Meeting Agenda:

  • 6:15 Networking and drinks
  • 6:30 Dinner
  • 7:00 Introductions and Member News
  • 7:30 Mystery Minute
  • 7:40 Program

April 2023 Meeting

Meeting Program:

Independent Publishing Panel

Sue Hinkin Author Photo Tom Farrell Author Photo Jodi Burnett Author Photo Lori Lacefield Author Photo

Fifteen years ago, the only way to publish a book was through a literary agent and atraditional publishing house. It was a highly competitive market, saturated with thousands of query letters and writers hoping their bulky piles of paper manuscripts would stand out from the crowd.

Today, we have more options–the current major ones being:

  • traditional agent and publishing contract through the Big 5
  • traditional publishing via an array of indie presses (some require agents, others do not, buyer beware)
  • self-publishing which usually means doing it all yourself
  • hybrid publishing which includes sub-contracting out aspects of editing and production. Writers who to both traditional and self-publishing can also be referred to as hybrid authors

95% of the book market is self-published with about 20M books in print (40x more than 1990) but only about 30K volumes are in bookstores at any given time. 90% of the self-published books are sold online. Adult non-fiction is twice the market of adult fiction, by the way.

Looking further into the future, we can follow an author on Twitter or Medium or Substack, then go read their book on Royal Road or Wattpad or Kindle, then review it on Amazon or Goodreads. We can interact with an author on Discord and support them via Kickstarter or Patreon or Buy Me a Coffee. Okay, maybe too much information to digest, but keep these options on your radar.

Join RMMWA authors, Lori Lacefield, Tom Farrell, Jodi Burnett and Sue Hinkin to hear about their publishing journeys and answer questions as to the pros and cons of choices and surviving and  thriving in the publishing fray.

Presenter Bios

Sue Hinkin
Voted Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Writer of the Year for 2021-22, Sue Hinkin was raised in Chicago and is a former college teacher and administrator, TV news photographer, and NBC-TV art department manager. She was also a Cinematography Fellow at the American Film Institute. Her thrillers, featuring Los Angeles TV news journalist Bea Jackson and photographer Lucia Vega, have been recognized with multiple awards including the Colorado Book Award for Best Thriller, The Colorado Author’s League Best Thriller and The Foreword Indies Best Mystery. Book 5 in the Vega and Middleton series, The Rx for Murder, has recently been released. See more at www.suehinkin.com. Sue Hinkin now lives in Littleton, Colorado where she is the new grandmother of twin girls who already love a good book.

Tom Farrell
Tom Farrell is the author of Wager Easy, A Sports Betting Mystery Thriller and Wager Tough. Both books received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews. Wager Tough was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Indie Books of 2021 and one of the Best Indie Mystery Thrillers of 2021.

Jodi Burnett
Jodi Burnett is a Colorado native and a mountain girl at heart. She loves writing Mystery and Suspense Thrillers from her small ranch southeast of Denver where she dotes on her horses, complains about her cows, and writes to create a home for her imaginings. She is the author of the three series: Flint River, FBI K9 Thrillers, and Tin Star K9, and this year Jodi is starting a new US Marshal Thriller series. Her books are available in paperback, eBook and audiobook formats. Inspired by life in the country, Jodi fosters her creative side by writing, watercolor painting, quilting, and crafting stained-glass. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. and Sisters In Crime.

Lori Lacefield
Lori began her writing journey at the age of 14, making up stories about teens navigating the precarious world between childhood and adulthood. Her inspiration was S.E. Hinton and the troubles Ponyboy and the gang encountered in The Outsiders. Those troubles seem tame compared to the entanglements her characters find themselves in now. Whether hunting serial killers, taking on outlaw motorcycle gangs, or facing a threat from the Russian mob, her characters are guaranteed to bring you hours of suspense.

Lori attended her first writing conference more than twenty years ago, and since has studied the art and craft of fiction writing through reading many a book, picking the brains of best-selling authors, and of course, a whole lot of writing and editing. Lori is a lover of coffee, books, music, yoga, pilates, wine, travel, and most of all, dogs. She lives in Centennial, CO with three adorable Pomeranians.


Video from the latest
RMMWA Meeting

Special Announcements

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.

Overall winner:


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:

read more…

RMMWA Member
News and Notes

Member Profile – Margaret Mizushima

Author Margaret Mizushima with her dogs and a copy her novel STRIKING RANGE

When I started writing fiction twenty years ago, I tried my hand at mainstream and other genres before attempting to write a mystery. I thought at that time that plotting a mystery was going to be hard, and well—as you know—it really is!

Luckily I attended a workshop during Colorado Gold and learned some basics from a mystery writer who was a member of RMMWA. Soon afterward, I joined Mystery Writers of America too and was assigned to my local Rocky Mountain Chapter. There I met like-minded people who knew all about writing mysteries, suspense, and thrillers.

RMMWA offers monthly programs on topics related to crime fiction. The camaraderie is exceptional. This group shares knowledge, friendship, and support with writers at all stages of their publishing journey. I’m so very grateful for all I’ve learned and the fun I’ve had by being a member of RMMWA.

My next Timber Creek K-9 Mystery will launch on March 7th, 2023. Standing Dead, the eighth episode in the series, features Deputy Mattie Cobb, her K-9 partner Robo, and veterinarian Cole Walker. They work together with Mattie’s law enforcement colleagues to provide backup when Mattie goes deep under cover into a killer’s lair to save her family—or die trying.


Margaret Mizushima writes the award winning and internationally published Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries. She serves as past president of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and was elected 2019 Writer of the Year by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She and her husband recently moved from Colorado, where they raised two daughters and a multitude of animals, to a home in the Pacific Northwest. Find her on Facebook/AuthorMargaretMizushima, Twitter @margmizu, Instagram @margmizu, and her website www.margaretmizushima.com.


The Study of Secrets cover art

Lefty Nomination for Cynthia Kuhn

The Study of Secrets, the fifth installment in Cynthia Kuhn's Lila Maclean Academic Mystery series, has been nominated for a 2021 Lefty Award in the Best Humorous Mystery category. For a full list of this year's Lefty nominees, see the Left Coast Crime website.
Deadly Options cover art


The newest installment of Terry Odell's Mapleton Mystery series, Deadly Options. arrives February 24th. All Mapleton Police Chief Gordon Hepler wants is to enjoy a rare quiet moment and have a peaceful lunch. Before he can finish his sandwich, Angie, his wife, calls...

Lise McClendon’s Birds of a Feather series

Lise McClendon is in the midst of her second trilogy spinoff of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries. Following last year's Dead Flat series featuring wine fraud detective Pascal d’Onscon, this year sees the release of a new series Birds of a Feather. The first installment,...
The Tattoo Artist cover art

THE TATTOO ARTIST by Lori Lacefield

The Tattoo Artist, the 3rd book in Lori Lacefield's Women of Redemption suspense series, has been released. Nine years after her mother’s still unsolved murder, former homeless teen Zoë Cruse has found stability with a husband, child, and a career as a tattoo artist....

Dual Award Nominations for David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s WINTER COUNTS

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden has been nominated for the 2021 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery Novel, and the 2021 Edgar award for Best First Novel!

A PAIRING TO DIE FOR by Kate Lansing

In Kate Lansing's novel A Pairing To Die For, the second installment in her cozy Colorado Wine Mystery series, a young winemaker is over a barrel when her new boyfriend is accused of murder. It's fall in Boulder, Colorado, and the leaves aren't the only things...
Alfred Hitchcock's Jan-Feb issue

Leslie Budewitz’s “Coming Clean” in Alfred Hitchcock’s

Leslie Budewitz’s third “Stagecoach Mary” Fields story, “Coming Clean,” appears in the January-February 2021 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. In 1885, at St. Peter’s Mission in Montana Territory, Mary Fields untangles a web of secrets that surface when a...

ANGELS IN THE WIND by Manuel Ramos

Manuel Ramos' eleventh novel Angels in the Wind, the fourth in the Gus Corral series, is scheduled for publication in April 2021 by Arte Público Press (University of Houston) This time around, Gus, the Chicano private eye, is on the hunt for his cousin's missing...
Our Song, Memento Mori cover art


PG Lengsfelder’s psychological suspense novel Our Song, Memento Mori is available from (Woodsmoke Publishing. Faith and absolution have escaped him. Will this priest’s probe into a dark mystery bring redemption… or death? Father Jamie “Blu” Bluterre struggles with...
Coast to Coast Noir cover art

Colleen Collins “Look Your Last” anthologized

Colleen Collins's noir short story "Look Your Last" is in the anthology "Coast to Coast: Noir from Sea to Shining Sea" published by Down & Out Books.
Puzzling Ink cover art

PUZZLING INK by Becky Clark

Quinn Carr wishes her life could be more like a crossword puzzle: neat, orderly, and perfectly arranged. At least her passion for puzzles, flair for words—and mild case of OCD—have landed her a gig creating crosswords for the local paper. But if she ever hopes to move...
Lost in Lavender cover art

LOST IN LAVENDER by Lise McClendon

Lise McClendon's Lost in Lavender,  the 13th installment of the Bennett Sisters Mysteries, is now available. In this installment the adventures of the youngest sister, Elise, take center stage. At a career and personal crossroads she decamps for France— as one does—...
The Solace of Bay Leaves cover art


The Solace of Bay Leaves, the fifth Spice Shop mystery by Leslie Budewitz (Seventh St. Books), is available in paperback, ebook and audio. Pepper Reece never expected to find her life’s passion in running the Seattle Spice Shop. But when evidence links a friend’s...
AUTOMAT - cover art

AUTOMAT by Stephanie Kane

Stephanie Kane’s Automat, is the sequel to A Perfect Eye and the second crime novel starring Lily Sparks. Who is the enigmatic woman in Edward Hopper’s famous painting, Automat? When the young actress playing her is brutally murdered at the launch of The Denver Art...


Kate Lansing shared the cover for Book 2 of her Colorado Wine Mystery series, A Pairing To Die For, coming January 26, 2021 from Berkley. It's available for pre-order and to add on Goodreads. More information on her website: http://katelansing.com/.

Margaret Mizushima’s HANGING FALLS

Margaret Mizushima is pleased to announce the September 8th release of Hanging Falls, the sixth Timber Creek K-9 Mystery. In this episode, Deputy Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo investigate the death of a man they found floating in a mountain lake, while Mattie...

99 TRUTHS from Lori Lacefield

99 Truths, the first book in Lori Lacefield's new FBI Local Profiler series, is available now. After a recent mistake, FBI special agent Frankie Johnson is desperate to prove she has what it takes to become a lead profiler with the Bureau’s Charlotte, NC field office....


Fleur Bradley's mystery for kids, Midnight At The Barclay Hotel, is out now from Viking Books for Young Readers. Kirkus called the book "a quirky, kid-friendly introduction to the murder mystery."

The Beethoven Sequence

From the pen of Gerald Elias, author of the critically-acclaimed Daniel Jacobus mystery series, comes his first thriller. The Beethoven Sequence, the story of a mentally imbalanced political outsider who makes an unlikely ascent to the presidency of the United States,...

The Fire Thief by Debra Bokur

The Fire Thief, the first in the Dark Paradise Mystery series by Debra Bokur, launched on May 26, to strong reviews both Publisher's Weekly and Criminal Elements. Set in Hawaii, the series features Detective Kali Māhoe, who uses her knowledge of Hawaiian spiritual...

March 2023 Mystery Minute

by ZJ Czupor

He Wrote Big Novels About Complicated Lives

From his early days as a gag writer for the most popular radio show of the 1930s, to a stint in the Navy after Pearl Harbor, this internationally bestselling and award-winning author earned fame and fortune for his historical novels of war. But he also wrote science fiction, wrote about his religious beliefs, and ventured into new territory with a serious woman’s novel. Some of his works could easily be classified as riveting thrillers.

And yet, while he was a bestselling author with a popular following, literary critics often spurned him.

Herman Wouk [pronounced: WOKE] (1915-2019) was born May 27, 1915 in the Bronx to Abraham and Ester (Levine) Wouk. His father was a Russian immigrant who started as a laundry sorter making $3 a week but would become president of an industrial steam-laundry business in New York.

Wouk’s introduction to literature was due to his mother’s purchasing a set of Mark Twain (1835-1910) novels from a door-to-door salesman. He devoured them and said, “Now I knew what literature was, where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do with my life.” read more…