Ghost Town Writers Retreat Schedule

May be subject to minor changes

Thursday, August 3rd

11am – Hang out at the Mountain Inn Con Suite

Noon – Lunch on your own

1pm – Tesla Electric Plant Tour – Georgetown Energy Museum

1:30pm – Train Ride and Mine Tour – Georgetown Loop Railroad

2pm – Writers Coffee Klatch – Kaffehuset 612 6th Street Atrium, Georgetown, CO 80444

3pm – Writing Sprints – Georgetown Community Center

4pm – Haunts and Nachos Panel – Georgetown Community Center
Hauntings, the rage of the spirits, spirit bindings, Our panel of Authors takes on the restless dead, and serves them up with a limited supply of nachos for your afternoon’s snack.

5pm – Grill and Greet at the Georgetown Community Center
Meet the locals and enjoy food courtesy of Frontière Natural Meats. Vegetarian option available.

6:45pm – Fate Core RPG System for WritersMountain Inn Con Suite
The Fate core system is the gold standard in RPGs that keep the rules out of the way of story. It can be used as both a tool in collaboration, and enriching supporting characters. The rules are available as a pay what you like download at the link above.

7pm-? – Board Games and D&D – Mountain Inn Con Suite and Beyond
Bring your own, or use Board games available. Lunch Money. Epic Spell Wars of the Battle Wizards, Gloom, Awful green things from outer space, Zombies, and Colt Express
Unfortunately for civilization, the C.L.O.W.N.S. outbreak happened a mere six months ago, and everything has gone to shit. Rogue bands of C.L.O.W.N.S. still roam the streets. Clean up of the mindless flesh-eaters is still underway by the brave groups of Hunters, and Engineers are diligently working to restore basic services to the city of Pittsburgh. Military forces have quarantined the city, and nothing gets in or out without federal
government approval.
It’s early spring in Pittsburgh and the group of Hunters has been tasked to find a lost girl near a deserted traveling carnival. How the girl managed to get out into the city alone, no one is sure, but the reports have set the Hunters at the entrance to the carnival in the middle of the night. Only the presence of the girl has forced the Hunters outside the safety of their base with the sun down. Normal hunting happens during the daylight hours when the C.L.O.W.N.S. are typically blinded by the brilliance of the sun.
Can the Hunters find the little girl among the wreckage of the dormant carnival rides before the carnivorous C.L.O.W.N.S. reach her? Will they make it out alive and return to their home base? Only the dice know the future….

Friday, August 4th

Friday 10am – Lemonade with Megibow (small group pitch session critique) [Sara Megibow] – Georgetown Library Amphitheater

Friday 11am
– Lemonade with Megibow (small group pitch session critique) [Sara Megibow] – Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Agent/Editor Session 1: Don D’Auria Georgetown Library

Friday 12pm – Lunch on your own

Friday 1pm
– Building Your Author Platform [Melody Jones and Sami Lien] – Heritage Center Room 1
One of the most influential ways to make a splash in the literary scene is by word of mouth. But how do you reach some of the most voracious readers and book buyers online when the very task of targeting so many outlets and managing social media is so overwhelming? The trick is to learn how to manage your approach to get the most out of your time and hard work.

Melody Jones (Social Media Management) and Sami Lien (Roger Charlie) will focus on different strategies authors can use themselves to support their release with publicity, as well as the four key ingredients to building your social media platform and how it can support your efforts. You’ll leave with tips and resources you can use right away to up your own promotional and social media game.

– Show, Don’t Tell Workshop [Michelle Johnson] – Heritage Center Room 2
An interactive workshop that illustrates simple, effective ways to paint a picture with words. Using examples from published works, and having writers participate in finding new ways to show “telling” statements, this workshop will help to lift the veil of confusion surround the feedback of “Show, don’t tell.”

– Lemonade with Megibow (small group pitch session critique) [Sara Megibow] – Georgetown Library Ampitheater

– Agent/Editor Session 2: Don D’AuriaGeorgetown Library

Friday 2pm
– Building Your Author Platform (cont.) [Melody Jones and Sami Lien] – Heritage Center Room 1

– Trade Secrets for Successful “Independent” Publishing of YOUR Book to meet YOUR Goals [Mike Daniels] – Heritage Center Room 2
Learn the essentials necessary to “professionally” publish your book from a tenured industry expert who knows how the game is played within every facet of the business. You’ll learn the difference between independent, subsidy and traditional publishing and whether one or another is the best fit for you and your book. In addition, regardless of which path you choose, you’ll have a better understanding of what you need to expect and look for from a designer, editor, printer (digital or offset), eBook converter, audiobook producer and/or agent and who, if anyone, you should engage to market your book based on what they can and actually will do for you. You’ll also gain a sense of what you should pay for these services and how to get the most bang for your buck based on your needs, goals and budget. Once armed with the information and tools required for successful independent publishing you can win the game by strategically and creatively playing your hand and Mike will offer some ideas on how best to do that as well.

– Evil in Pop Culture [] – Heritage Center Room 3
The desire to rewrite the truth about the dark side of humanity is evident in the sensational stories of mayhem and murder which satisfy the appetite for gruesome violence while avoiding ugly truths about humankind. Evil is often portrayed as an external enemy rather than an internal impulse. Human beings are transformed into killers by the bite of a werewolf, demonic possession, or even divine direction. Pop culture also absorbs real life crimes and horrors in a repackaged and more palatable form. When confronted by its reflection, society seeks to sanitize its sins and recast its villains. As the nature of evil evolves, so does pop culture and its ability to adapt and absorb even the most hideous of human faces. In the process of re-packaging evil for public consumption, pop culture blames demons and other sinister forces, but the footprints found at the scene of the crime are always those of a human being.

– Mary/Shelley’s Mad Tea party at the Dusty Rose [Shelley Adina and Mary SanGiovanni]
Talk about tea and writing with Authors Shelley Adina and Mary SanGiovanni. This event takes place at the Dusty Rose Tea House– consumables purchased at additional expense as desired.

– Agent/Editor Session 3: Don D’AuriaGeorgetown Library

Friday 2:30pm – All the Colors of the Dark [] – Heritage Center Room 1
Your introduction to all our weekend’s events, lead off with a discussion of the importance of the spectrum of dark fiction.

Friday 3pm
– Making Time to Write [Keith R.A. DeCandido] – Heritage Center Room 1
New writers often say “I can’t find time to write,” as if it rolled under the couch or something. Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses time management and how to carve out time to get those words cranking.

– An Intimate Moment with Stephen Graham JonesHeritage Center Room 2
We dim the lights, and play soft music for a no holds barred Question and answer with the author of Mongrels, and Flushboy. Pajamas, Sixlets, and box wine optional

– Tarot as Muse [Joy Vernon and Sheley Rayne] – Heritage Center Room 3
The mysterious images of the tarot spark the imagination and open up new perspectives. In this workshop we’ll introduce the basic symbolism of the cards, play with intuitive interpretations, and brainstorm with the oracular image. We’ll provide a variety of tarot spreads for writers, and we’ll practice a spread based on an old actor’s technique that will propel dull scenes into tense drama. Climb out of your rut and channel your muse by writing with tarot as your guide.

– Agent Session 4: Michelle JohnsonGeorgetown Library

Friday 4pm
– Top 20 Ways to Market Your Book [] – Heritage Center Room 1

Book marketing can range from $0 to $tratosphere. So how do you know what is best for you, and when it’s just chasing the shiny gold objects? The beauty today is that not only are there oodles of ways to market your book, but many of them are FREE! In this class Top 20 Ways to Market Your Book we’re going to review the most proven and cost-effective way to get your book into the hands of your readers. PS: We’ll also review the Top 5 ways NOT to market your book. Oy, what a waste of money.

– The Zodiac Killer [Michael Butterfield] – Heritage Center Room 2
From 1968 to 1974, “the Zodiac” wounded two people, killed five others, called police to report his crimes, mailed taunting letters with pieces of a victim’s bloodstained shirt, wore a bizarre hooded costume, quoted from the Gilbert and Sullivan musical The Mikado, sent complex ciphers, and terrified the people of the San Francisco Bay Area for decades. The Zodiac was never identified or captured and he became a true crime legend which inspired the movie Dirty Harry and three copycat killers as far as Japan. Countless theories accuse various suspects, claim the killer knew his victims, and link the Zodiac to other unsolved crimes and satanic conspiracies. The popular image of the Zodiac endures, but the facts tell a very different story.

– Writing the Insane and Demented [Jon Bassoff and Sean Eads] – Heritage Center Room 3
Our Panel discusses how to get in, and out of damaged characters without staying there yourself. We will site examples from fiction, and select case studies

– Agent Session 5: Michelle JohnsonGeorgetown Library

Friday 5pm – Book Signing Event – Heritage Center Rooms 1, 2, & 3

Friday 5:30pm – Through the Looking Glass Dinner and Benefit Auction
Come treat yourself to dinner with friends on the Hamill House Lawn. Enjoy great food, drinks, games, and live entertainment. Browse through our silent and live auction items and make your bids. Proceeds to benefit the Hamill House Museum. Tickets are only $35 and must be purchased in advance.

Friday 7pm – Music Night and Beer Release Party – Guanella Pass Brewery 501 Rose St, Georgetown
Plume Varia, a noted darkwave band from Denver, will be playing for your entertainment. They will have their new album, Fact|Fiction, produced by David J of Bauhaus, for purchase. Free admission.

Saturday, August 5th

Saturday 9am
– Promoting Your Book with Video [] – Heritage Center Room 1
This panel is intended to explore how video can add more life to your writing. We’ll discuss how it has the ability to help promote your novel by working to build a community surrounding it, and how it can add a visual element to your novel, something  that is becoming more essential in our technocentric age. We want to help you tap into a new demographic.

– Old Time Radio for Dark Authors [] – Heritage Center Room 2
For half a century, radio was the dominate form of entertainment; now it is an often forgotten treasure trove of inspiration for writing. This panel will get you started with some of the best series, ideas for using some of the techniques in audio books/podcasts, and the legacy of the medium.

Saturday 10am
– Adapting Your Work for Screens [Jeffery Reddick] – Heritage Center Room 1
Join Jeffery Reddick in a discussion of the challenges of getting your work faithfully adapted to screens. We will include challenges and rewards of development hell, how to mitigate your expectations, and make the case for your vision.

– Mystical Traditions [] – Heritage Center Room 2

– Working with Artists [DEAD Academy Katy L. Wood Josh Viola] – Heritage Center Room 3
Our panel discusses what it takes what it takes to start and maintain a productive and mutually rewarding relationship with artists. Hear horror stories from the artists perspective.

Saturday 10:30am
– Readings 1: Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Small Group Printed Pages Review [Kate Testerman] – Georgetown Library

Saturday 11am
– READY TO RUMBLE [Betsy Dornbusch] – Heritage Center Room 1
No matter the genre, characters often end up in a physical fight. These blatantly conflict-driven scenes deserve the same care and consideration as any scene: they must show the world, reveal character, and further plot. This session will cover everything to consider when writing physical combat, and inform our (mostly) peaceful writers what they need to know to write a realistic fight.

– Weird Westerns [] – Heritage Center Room 2
Who are the authors that defined the weird western, What are the characteristics that define weird western, How do you define the spirit of the west, What is the future of the genre?

– Spotlight on Hex Publishers [Moderated by David Boop] – Heritage Center Room 3

– Readings 2: Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Small Group Printed Pages Review [Kate Testerman] – Georgetown Library

Saturday 11:30am
– Reading 3: Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Small Group Printed Pages Review [Kate Testerman] – Georgetown Library

Saturday noon – Readings 4: Georgetown Library Amphitheater

Saturday 1pm
– Great Dames of Dark fiction
Heritage Center Room 1
Mary Shelley, Shirley Jackson, and all the exceptionally talented contemporaries, we ask who are the great dames of Horror in Several categories

– Screenwriting Two [] – Heritage Center Room 2

– Giving Your Book a Voice – Audiobook Creation [Richard Rieman] – Heritage Center Room 3
If you are considering creating an audiobook, this session is for you! You will get the critical elements on what steps you need to take; what costs to expect; how to produce your audiobook; a variety of resources; how to work with Amazon’s ACX and other providers; and of course, plenty of insider tips and tricks of the trade including · Essential steps to create an audiobook, reducing the costs of production, The history of promoting and marketing.

– Other Mountain Jams: Musical Performance [Gary Jorgenson and Claudia Cupp] – Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Small Group Printed Pages Review [Kate Testerman] – Georgetown Library

Saturday 2pm
– Podcasting For Authors [mod. Daniel Sharner]- Heritage Center Room 1
Learn the basics of producing a quality podcast in terms of equipment, software, hosting, and marketing. We will take audience questions.

– In Memory of Tom Piccirilli [mod. Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, and Don D’Auria] – Heritage Center Room 2
A discussion on the life, work, craft, impact, and legacy of multiple genre-spanning, award-winning Colorado novelist Tom Piccirilli.

– Steampunk Library: Where Did All These Books Come From and Where Does Mine Fit? [Shelley Adina] – Heritage Center Room 3
Lots of readers have never heard of steampunk, but they’re familiar with Frankenstein, with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the books of Jules Verne. Join Shelley Adina to compare notes about how steampunk fits into the gothic tradition and its focus on and value in creating emotion in the reader. What books do this best? What can writers today take from those who have gone before? How can we put a fresh twist on our own work? What has the female sensibility brought to the table, especially in the work of Cherie Priest, Gail Carriger, and Lindsay Buroker? Let’s decide together on the essential steampunk library, and make our own books part of it!

Saturday 3pm
– Supernatural World Building [] – Heritage Center Room 1
Get ideas on creating lively and layered stories by choosing the use of magic, and the supernatural in your world. our panel will discuss methods, and examples.

– New Pulp and Weird Menace [mod. David Boop] – Heritage Center Room 2
From the shudder pulps to today’s revivalists, our panel discusses the aesthetics and iconography of pulps old and new.

– It’s a Career Whether You Make Money or Not [Keith R.A. DeCandido] – Heritage Center Room 3
A professional writer is also a single-person small business. Keith R.A. DeCandido explains what that means, what the pitfalls are, and how you have to manage your career as a writer, regardless of whether or not you make your living at it.

– Mountain Jams: Rob Soloman and Friends Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Editor/Agent Session 7: Don D’AuriaGeorgetown Library

Saturday 4pm
– Critiki Party [Travis Heermann] – Heritage Center Room 1
Join the hosts of the Critiki Party Podcast Saturday, August 5, at 4:00 for a special live recording of our Georgetown episode! For this episode, we will be doing live, anonymous reads of participants’ first two pages. If you would like to participate, bring a printout of the first two pages of your work in progress (double spaced, 1″ margins, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier New, 24-25 lines of text on each page). We will collect the pages before we begin recording, and then during the recording, we will draw submissions at random to read aloud and critique on the spot. Depending on the number of participants, we may or may not have time to get through all the submissions. Questions? Please email Travis Heermann at

– Researching the Myth [Charmaine Ortega Getz] – Heritage Center Room 2
The odd, quirky, and outright bizarre provide great inspiration and can often be found in our own local stories and little-known history. And the truth is often stranger than the fiction that has grown up around it. So, how do you research the stuff with gaps you can’t fill from the Internet, staid history books, and memories? Charmaine Ortega Getz, journalist and author of “Weird Colorado: Your Travel Guide to Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets,” will show you where and how to dig.

– Creature Design Challenge: Improbable Yet Possible [] – Heritage Center Room 3
After an introduction to creature design concepts, and rules, you will work with your team to create the most original creature. The winning team gets special pins for their badges, and mentioned in the following years program

– Mountain Jam – Georgetown Library Amphitheater

– Agent Session 8: Michelle JohnsonGeorgetown Library

Saturday 5pm
– Know Thou Character [Desi D] – Heritage Center Room 1
How to create a strong first appearance with any character is about learning who your character is. I will go over a couple of examples of published authors characters that make an excellent first appearance. The importance of backstory and how to use it without info dumping. There will be five activities where participants will learn by doing.

– Rememberin’ Ed [in memory of Ed Bryant] – Heritage Center Room 2
Join our panel as they discuss their favorite memories Of author and mentor Ed Bryant. Ed was a giant of the Colorado genre fiction scene who mentored such luminaries as Connie Willis, and Dan Simmons

– Horror Promotion Stunts [] – Heritage Center Room 3

– Agent Session 9: Becky LeJeuneGeorgetown Library

Saturday 6pm
– Event Marketing: How to Make Your Book the Star of the Show [Dr. Ingrid Pyka (pronounced “Peeka”)] – – Heritage Center Room 1
Book signings, shows…it’s really about how to get you and your books in front of crowds of your readers, make bigger sales, and get even more results from events. We will talk about picking the right events for you and making them the celebrations people want to attend – and buy your books.

When Ingrid saw businesses letting money slip through their fingers and clients not getting the service they deserved, she turned her passion for business strategy into her own consulting firm. She has held high-level management roles, repeatedly turning failing businesses to positive cash flow models.

Dr. Pyka – yes, Ingrid is a small animal veterinarian – who, now consults for corporate, non-profit and entrepreneurs. Her special niche is helping authors reach their audience. She coaches her clients to develop innovative and affordable marketing strategies, and, fine-tunes messaging, special talents, branding and online identity. Ingrid is known for discovering unexpected opportunities for her clients.

She is herself a multi-award-winning publisher and has authored her own business how-to book, “Stop, Step Back and Grow: The 3 Keys to Long Term & Repeatable Success.”

She is a TEDx Speaker and currently serves as President of the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association.

– Playing in Someone Else’s Sandbox [Keith R.A. DeCandido] – Heritage Center Room 2
Keith R.A. DeCandido has been writing and editing licensed fiction and shared universes for 25 years, and he shares insights on how the creative process differs when someone else created the world you’re writing in.

– Lake Monsters, Feathered Serpents, and Obsidian Presentation Mirrors–Aztec Myth and Magic [] – Heritage Center Room 3

– Agent Session 10: Becky LeJeuneGeorgetown Library

Saturday 7pm
– Scenes and Plotting [Travis Heermann] – Heritage Center Room 1
The bones. The BONES! Those things that support the flesh and the movement, without which we would be just squishy blobs. Plot and scene structure are the bones! of your story, the frame that supports all the cool stuff that’s happening. But like any good grave robber anatomist, you need to know how everything fits together. Join Travis Heermann for techniques on structuring your stories and scenes for greatest impact. And bring your skeletons from the closet.

– Query Crafting Workshop [] – Heritage Center Room 2
Hands-on feedback with your queries and pitch materials to let you know what works, and what doesn’t. We’ll go over format, crafting, and spend individual time critiquing each query with many tips along the way.

– Lake Monsters, Feathered Serpents, and Obsidian Mirrors [T. L. Morganfield] – Heritage Center Room 3
explore one of the most complex and diverse mythologies of the Americas, and how it influenced everything from the politics of the Empire to the daily life of every citizen from birth to death.

– Tossin One Back at the Lucha [Brian Keene and Mario Acevedo] – Lucha Cantina
Hangout with our faculty members as they shares the recipes for some of their favorite beverages, and tell the story of the trouble they caused, drinks are optional, and the bar will be expect compensation. This event takes place in the basement of the Lucha Cantina

Saturday 8pm – Movie Night with Dead Awake and When Susurrus StirsHeritage Center Room 1

Sunday, August 6th

Sunday 9am
– TBA [] – Heritage Center Room 1
– TBA [] – Heritage Center Room 2
– TBA [] – Heritage Center Room 3

Sunday 10am
– Most Twisted Writer Championship [] – Heritage Center Room 1
Writers attempt to produce the most disturbing tale in 10 minutes, and our judges pick the winner. The champion gets mentioned in the following years program, and gets to drink form the skull of glory at the closing ceremonies.

– Steampunk Worlds: Do I Have to Set My Book in Victorian London? [Shelley Adina and Mario Acevedo] – Heritage Center Room 2
Join Shelley Adina and Mario Acevedo for a discussion of steampunk and alt-history world-building in places other than the crowded London of Queen Victoria. While this is a popular setting, it’s not the only one. What would steampunk look like in 19th-century India or Africa without the British Empire? What do South Asian writers think it looks like? Can we write the Weird West without colonialism lurking in the background? A journey to the horizons of our imaginations awaits!

– Occult and Dream Symbols [] – Heritage Center Room 3

Sunday 11am
– Navigating the Submissions Minefield [Keith R.A. DeCandido] – Heritage Center Room 1
Okay, you just finished your story or novel. Now what? Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses the many options and routes to publication.

– Witches in Fiction [mod. Nick Kimbro and Stephen Graham Jones] – Heritage Center Room 2
This panel will examine how the figure of the witch functions in popular horror. By first placing her in historical context, we will discuss the various ways the witch operates in film and literature, meanwhile seeking to distinguish her from other popular villains–vampires, monsters, etc. Our goal will be to pinpoint and to understand the unique source of the witch’s terror, as well as how to harness and manipulate it to produce stories which are both frightening and distinctly “witchy.”

– The Nuts and Bolts of Blood and Guts: Trauma Tales and Q & A with an ER Nurse [Catherine Spader] – Heritage Center Room 3
What damage does an iron maiden inflict on the human body? How long will you live after a psycho cuts off your arm with a chainsaw? When it comes to blood and guts, fact can be juicier than fiction. Get inspired, ask your most grisly questions, and enjoy some chilling tales and gallows humor from the ER.

Catherine Spader is a registered nurse who specialized in ER and trauma care for twenty years in Illinois and Colorado. She is also medical writer and editor and has published over 1,000 articles. She is the author of the critically acclaimed dark fantasy, Feast of the Raven. Book two in the series, Return of the Wulfhedinn, will be released this summer.

Sunday 1pmHamill House Tour

Sunday 1:30pm – Train Ride and Mine Tour – Georgetown Loop Railroad

Sunday 3pm – Closing Ceremonies Ghost Town 2018/ World Horror Con 2019 Preview – Georgetown Heritage Center

Sunday 3-5PM – Good-bye Party, Workshop Encore/Open Slots

Sunday 5pm – Ghost Tour – Downtown Georgetown

Sunday 7-9pm – Dead Dog Party at the Mountain Inn Picnic Area