General Fiction

Harrelson, Lael

Harrelson, Lael
Birth Year (-Died Year): 
1968
Birth City: 
Los Angeles
Birth State: 
CA
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author
Biography: 

Raised by a fun loving, atheist single mom who struggled with depression and mental illness, I spent my childhood backpacking around Europe, visiting yoga communes, eating vegan, living on a houseboat, then an old pony express outpost in the backwoods of Montana.

My teen years took a drastic turn when my mom got saved, got married, and joined an ultra-conservative Mennonite church. Faith, step parents and unquestioning obedience is a dangerous combination when mixed with mental illness, legalism, and heavy handed physical correction.

I became a confused believer with a heart for Jesus but drowning under a sea of rules, regulations, and legalism. I became a missionary teacher and then a nurse and escaped to the mission field, the one avenue open to single women. I taught VBS on Indian reservations, led school for missionary children in Haiti and Africa. All around me was heartache and disease and glaring need. I longed to make a difference but was limited to working on the mission compound – teaching, cooking, cleaning. Work outside the walls of the compound was reserved for the men.

On a furlough, I met my future husband – a new believer who wasn’t looking for a door mat in a wife but a partner. As he grew in his faith, I reexamined mine and what Biblical womanhood looked like. Timidly at first,
but then eagerly as I discovered a new relationship with Jesus Christ based on grace and not performance.

I left the Mennonite church and married the love of my life twenty years ago. We have made our home in Colorado Springs at the base of the Rocky Mountains for the last eleven years. We have five beautiful teenagers, two by birth and three through adoption from Haiti. My husband is adopted and God used the time in Haiti to prepare me to understand my children’s culture and language and ease their transitions home.

Two people in my family have mild Asperger’s and one has Reactive Attachment disorder, PTSD, and ODD. Our house is not a quiet, well greased machine but a chaotic, happy, crazy, nerve racking, love filled oasis where we all try to help each other grow and thrive.

I am so thankful for my life – the good and the bad. I feel blessed to have experienced so many unique situations and to love and be loved by so many wonderful and eccentric people. It is from these experiences I draw the fiction stories I write. I like to think of them as fiction with grit – fast paced and entertaining stories that make you want to read till the very last page while at the same time tackling real life issues – Legalism, abuse, divorce, adoption, Asperger syndrome, mental illness, etc.

I hope you’ll pull up a chair and stay a while. Drop me a line and share your own story. I’d love to hear it.

Organizations: 
American Christian Fiction Writers
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Adoption - Transitioning from a Mennonite lifestyle to a contemporary one - Aspergers
Local Authors Genres: 

Wilson, Neil

Birth City: 
Tampa
Birth State: 
FL
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
US Air Force
Biography: 

Serving America in the US Air Force for 20+ years; spent 12+ years overseas (Korea and Germany) but now living/stationed in Colorado Springs. Interests include books (reading/writing - of course), travel, art, Asian languages, Asian food...my kids.

Speaker Availability: 
No

O'Byrne, D.M.

O'Byrne, D.M.
Birth Year (-Died Year): 
1956
Birth City: 
New York City
Birth State: 
NY
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author
Biography: 

D.M. O’Byrne’s first job was as a waitress. Now she’s a writer of mystery novels. In between, jobs included English teacher, racehorse exerciser, jockey, accountant, golf resort assistant manager, writer, and editor. Her places of residence ranged from the Jersey Shore to a lengthy sojourn in California, and finally to the Colorado Rockies. Each profession, each location was rife with life lessons, fascinating characters, potential plot lines, and wide-ranging experiences. Sooner or later, they will all end up on the written page.

O’Byrne is the author of Dangerous Turf, available on amazon.com, and the sequel, Three to One Odds, was released May 2018. She is now writing a series called the Ryn Lowell Colorado Mysteries published by Black Opal Books. The first book in the series, Death in Trout Fork, was released in October 2018. The second book, The Mountaintop Murders, will be released in May 2019 and the third book, A Killing in Vail, will be released in the fall of 2019. Visit www.blackopalbooks.com for more information.

D.M. lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and their cat, Warnie. They spend much of their time riding bikes and enjoying the scenery. Warnie spends his time watching the bunnies out the window, lounging on the sofa, and trying to catch his tail.

Education/Training: 
B.A. in English
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Mystery writing - Cozy mysteries - Plotting the novel - Developing characters
Local Authors Genres: 

Riley, Gina

Riley, Gina
Birth City: 
Detroit
Birth State: 
MI
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Former librarian and teacher - Cherokee Two-Spirit Shaman
Biography: 

I was still living as a man when I moved to in the year 2000. Having been outed as transgender, and fired at the Prep-School where I had been working, I was recruited at the National Librarians' Conference to be the Coordinator of Information and Technology at Mitchell High School, where I was again outed and fired.

In 2007, after being outed and fired at CollegeAmerica, I transitioned to living full time as a woman. My storytelling-performances in The Story Project in Colorado Springs and for The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers are viewable on YouTube. I also sing karaoke and do an occasional standup open-mike.

Awards/Honors: 
First Place - Bowling This Month, Amateur Bowling Writers Contest
First Place - Best Creative Non-Fiction 2013, Loyola Maryland University Literary EZine
Education/Training: 
Master's Degree in Library Science - Bachelor's Degree in English, Wayne State University, Michigan
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Storytelling - Transgender - Theory of Mind - Education

Arrington, Bradley

Arrington, Bradley
Pseudonym: 
Bradley Firebird
Birth City: 
New York City
Birth State: 
NY
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Customer service and office clerk
Biography: 

Born in Brooklyn, Long Island, New York, I have been a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado since November 2011. I have written over 100 original stories (short stories, poems, indie screenplays, stage plays) and audio (radio) plays & skits (audio short stories) of several genres: Twilight Zone-type stories, science fiction, horror, comedy, satire, and drama.

I am currently working on a sci-fi novel that is a cross between Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. A former homeless veteran (U.S. Army), I am now student at Pikes Peak Community College.

Awards/Honors: 
2016 - APPR Writing Center Contest, dramatic reading of my short audio play "The Day the Music Lived"
Education/Training: 
A.A. degree in General Studies, Suffolk Community College, Long Island, NY, 1977 - Army Admin School, Fort Jackson, 1980 - Cal Simmons Travel Agent School, Alexandria, VA, 1985
Organizations: 
Pikes Peak Community College Radio Theater Club - Pikes Peak Community College Entrepreneurs Club
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Radio Theater - How to Start a Radio Theater Club - How to Write a Radio Play or Script

Torreano, Mike

Torreano, Mike
Birth City: 
Flint
Birth State: 
MI
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Writer
Biography: 

Mike Torreano has lived in Colorado Springs since 1977. A retired Colonel, USAF,
he is also a retired financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual of 35 years.

Education/Training: 
MA, Mass Communications, University of Denver - BA, International Affairs, United States Air Force Academy
Organizations: 
Western Writers of America - The Historical Novel Society - Western Fictioneers
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
The Old West - The Civil War

Cox, Jodi

Cox, Jodi
Birth City: 
Union City
Birth State: 
IN
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author - Illustrator - Graphic Designer
Biography: 

Jodi Cox is an American dieselpunk author born on April 10, 1979 in Union City, Indiana. She graduated from Simon Kenton High School in 1997. Later she went on to graduate with a BFA from the College of Mount Saint Joseph, now known as the University of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After college, Jodi started writing for Citybeat magazine. Later she went on to become a pioneer in internet graphics and website development. After spending nearly ten years writing for everything from tax websites to poetry, Jodi began developing the world of the Nether After, unbeknownst to her that steampunk and dieselpunk was turning into a literary genre.

Jodi enjoys all things speculative fiction, but has a pension for the weird and unusual. She describes herself as a comic book snob. She is often found with a stack of Japanese and American graphic novels in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. She enjoys drawing and painting, as well as writing. Her hours not spent on writing are devoted to geeking out over new computer hardware, or the latest video games. She loves ripping into electronics to see how they work, as well as cooking and developing new recipes.

As a writer Jodi has been writing steampunk, dieselpunk, and fantasy of all types. She has even dipped her toe into science fiction.

Education/Training: 
BFA, Mt. St. Joseph University
Organizations: 
Pikes Peak Writers - Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers - Tesla Writers
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Dieselpunk - Steampunk - Self publishing - Book layout and design - Web comics - High fantasy world building - Fantasy & pop culture tropes and how not to use them - Minority heroes - Ghost stories for kids - Comics in the new digital age - Comics in the classroom - Pop culture fandom

Daniels, Avery

Daniels, Avery
Birth City: 
Colorado Springs
Birth State: 
CO
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Biography: 

Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado Springs, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and the Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units.

She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a local 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.

Education/Training: 
BSBA University of Phoenix
Organizations: 
Sisters in Crime - Women Fiction Writers of America
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Writing murder mysteries
Local Authors Genres: 

Hawkins, Julie

Hawkins, Julie
Birth City: 
Sioux City, IA
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Writer
Biography: 

I have written a series and a nonfiction book about the Civil War. Most are award winners. My husband and I reside in Colorado Springs and have lived in Colorado most of our lives.

Awards/Honors: 
A Beautiful Glittering Lie - winner of 2014 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award, B.R.A.G. Medallion, and honorable mention at LA Book Festival
A Rebel Among Us - winner of 2017 John Esten Cooke Fiction Award
Education/Training: 
I have a degree in journalism and have worked as a writer and editor for numerous publications.
Organizations: 
Pikes Peak Writers - Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers - International Women's Writing Guild - United Daughters of the Confederacy (associate member)
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
My writing process, my books, the Civil War, personal experiences and how they influence my stories.

Cutting, Atwood

Cutting, Atwood
Birth City: 
Los Altos
Birth State: 
CA
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author - Photographer - Publisher - Vocalist
Biography: 

This local author is both Kate Peters, (raised in California and Hawaii, a solo adventurer to Fairbanks, Alaska “to see a winter,” the pioneering wife and protagonist of Sleeping Moose Saga,) as well as Atwood Cutting, the fictionalized daughter and actual author of several books, including the historical fiction series about Alaska, and photo essay books designed "for areas of waiting."

After leaving Alaska, and living in the Midwest for a quarter century, Kate Peters came to the Pikes Peak region in 2012, to re-immerse herself in the arts, and wade in some streams. Since retiring and moving to Colorado Springs with Tim, her husband of 40+ years, Kate has pursued her goal of producing a tome worthy of space on public library shelves. As Atwood Cutting, she is achieving it.

Awards/Honors: 
Phi Beta Kappa, University of Hawaii, 1972
Phi Kappa Phi, University of Hawaii, 1967
Gold Medal Soloist, Hawaii Music Educators' Awards, 1966
Education/Training: 
Stanford Elementary School; Punahou School Academy; Univ. British Columbia; Univ. Hawaii, BA 1972 Performing arts (Phi Beta Kappa); Univ. Alaska Fairbanks, art and music; Trans-Alaska Pipeline Construction Camp Bullcook; Homesteader on Kenai Peninsula; Alaska Pacific Univ. MLA 1986 (cum laude) Liberal Arts, Museum Education, Aesthetic Expression.
Organizations: 
Writers' Group at Brookdale Skyline Senior Living - Concrete Couch community art outreach
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Geared for the general public, Kate is happy to share stories and answer questions about pioneering in "bush" Alaska before there were cellphones. Topics might include: off-road transportation, construction without electricity, life without running water, rural communications, wildflowers, and the "end-of-the-road" syndrome. Geared for high school teachers and librarians, she would also be pleased to discuss her "Bildungsroman" as a personal venture into Emerson's vision of self-reliance and Transcendentalism, the art of memoir, personifying the women's movement before there was a women's movement, and "seeing the elephant" of American pioneering lore.

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