Guest Post: Daven Anderson “I survived Colorado Gold, and you can, too!”

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Blog Guest Post:
Daven Anderson “I survived Colorado Gold, and you can, too!”

By Daven Anderson

As we find ourselves enjoying another lovely fall season in colorful Colorado, some of you reading this may be lamenting that the only “Colorado Gold” you won last month were the fallen leaves you raked from your backyard.

You didn’t win. You didn’t final. Agents aren’t camping out in your backyard, contracts in hand.

Fear not, my literary friends, for I am here to tell you that you have not reached the end of your story.

Quite the opposite, in fact. You have reached the beginning.

The true prize from the Colorado Gold is not to win or final, but to learn. To learn to listen objectively, instead of taking constructive criticism personally. To learn that professional writing is a journey of the soul, not just a process. And to learn that the true skill a professional writer must demonstrate, on a daily basis, is perseverance. The best writer in the world is equal to the worst writer in the world, when both are writing nothing.

I still apply the many lessons I learned from my three-year Colorado Gold odyssey. One of which is that the qualities which make your odyssey personal are the oddities no one else can ever gain insight from. The criticisms you received are unique to you, your work, and the judges’ mood the evening they read your entry.

Some of you may choose not to re-enter a particular work in future years if it did not win or final in Colorado Gold. But those who can persevere, and learn from the criticisms, can make their work much stronger than it was before.

I entered the same novel in Colorado Gold three years in a row, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The latter two entries incorporated many hard-won revisions, in line with the insightful criticisms I received for my previous entries.

Re-reading my 2010 entry filled me with the urge to put a bag over my head. I am frankly shocked it scored as well as it did. After the 2010 contest, I was filled with the motivation to hone my skills.

In 2011, I entered Colorado Gold flush with confidence, knowing that my entry’s prose had improved a seeming ten-fold, compared to the foppish tones of its predecessor. The comments were much more positive overall, yet my score was only four points higher than the year before. In gearhead terms, my “new Mustang GT” barely beat my “clapped-out Pinto” when the final scores were tallied.

Ah, what to do for 2012? Maybe the judges were confused about the juxtapostion between my prologue and Chapter One. And I had heard much talk of prologues being anathema to agents and editors. So, for my 2012 Colorado Gold entry, time to broom the prologue and start with Chapter One.

Of course, my hard work in 2012 was rewarded with my lowest score yet. Yes, even my rank amateur 2010 entry outscored its 2012 successor. Yet the comments and critiques I received for the 2012 entry were notably more positive than for either of my previous entries. Even within the small world of Colorado Gold entries, the scores alone don’t tell the whole story. And this was the most important lesson I learned from that year’s contest.

Yes, my novel “Vampire Syndrome” failed to win or even final in Colorado Gold, for three years in a row. The only thing “Vampire Syndrome” had won by the end of 2012 was a publishing contract. I am far from being a unique example here, as a fair number of my fellow RMFW members also have released traditionally-published novels that did not win or final in Colorado Gold.

So, in summation, lament not your “loss” in Colorado Gold. Those who learn and persevere have what it takes to win the writing game. You may lose the “battle” of Colorado Gold, but the lessons you learn can lead you to your true victory. The triumph of prose, and the self.

This Blog Sucks (and so does my re-blog, LoL)

I disagree that your blog “sucks,” Brian McKinley! It’s very well done. I must agree, however, that “author” is a much different skill set than “blogger”, and only a relative few authors such as Kristen Lamb have truly mastered the art of “pro-level” blogging. The best strategy for the rest of us is to concentrate on quality over quantity. Blogging at the Kristen Lamb level requires a mastery of various social skills that are NOT necessary for writing great novels (just ask J.D. Salinger!). Even most #1 NYT best-selling authors’ blogs lack the social engagement of Kristen Lamb’s Warrior Writers blog (and many of them have less followers than Lamb does!)

The Ravings of a Sick Mind

I’m going to be brutally honest here: I don’t really get blogs.


I’m only doing this because I want to sell you books. According to popular wisdom, blogs create a platform, which supposedly translates into sales. I’m not quite sure I buy that. Most of my friends and family who really know me and care about me don’t buy my books, so why should I expect you to just because I wrote some snappy article and posted it on a blog?

Blogs are supposed to let readers get to know you and feel a connection, but that doesn’t always make sense to me either. I read Stephen King, Jim Butcher, P.N. Elrod and others because I love their stories and characters. I don’t give a shit what Stephen King bought at the grocery store today or any of the other random garbage that pops up in blogs. I’ve never understood…

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The Liebster Award – Answers to my Questions

Thank you Jason Thayer for nominating me for the Liebster Award!
I will now answer his interview questions. 😀

What is the worst (fiction) book you’ve ever read?

  • “Fifty Shades Of Grey” by E.L. James

What is the best (fiction) book you’ve ever read?

If you could own any fictional car, what would it be and why?

  • Damien’s 1960 Plymouth Fury coupe. Do I have to explain why? 😉

1960 Fury at Modern house

What creature from mythology do you wish existed?

  • Besides vampires?
    Dragons, no contest!

What song do you think best describes your philosophy and why?

What’s your favorite verse from the Bible and why?

  • Matthew 7:1 – “Judge not, lest ye not be judged.” The best reminder that we are not God.

A time-traveler has offered to take you to any point in history, so long as you do not attempt to invoke the “butterfly effect”. What event would you wish to visit, and why?

  • The day the meteor hit the Yucatan peninsula and caused the extinction of the dinosaurs (from inside a spacecraft that would protect me). I’d be the first human to witness it.

Who are your favorite musicians?

  • Among others; Nicolo Paganini, Hildegard von Bingen, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Jimi Hendrix, Wesley Willis and all the Aborigines playing didgeridoos in the Australian desert

What is your favorite animal?

Electric Mayhem

Name three musicians you feel deserve a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame who have yet to be nominated.

  • Devo, The Runaways, Deep Purple

A Look Back at the Evolution of Publishing, Predictions That Came True & What This Means for YOU

Thank you Kristen Lamb for blogging all of your great advice just when I most needed it!

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Ah, a New Year is before us. What is the future of publishing? What lies ahead for writers? Will Snooki have another baby? After consulting my team of advisors, those being the voices in my head, I’ll toss my predictions in the ring tomorrow. Granted, much of what I predicted last year has come to pass. A lot of it, I think still will happen but I have a history of being so far ahead of the game, people think I’m bonkers (ok, I am).

Note to Self: Perhaps wearing tinfoil hat impairs professional credibility.

Before I give any predictions for 2014, I figured it might be fun to take a quick look at the past nine years before we finish out my decade of Publishing Prognostication and Social Media Soothsaying. More fun than cleaning the house, right?

I’ve been very blessed to be right more times than I…

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My interview on Chris Devlin’s Blog

Guest Author Daven Anderson on Vampires, Classic Cars, and Forks

Devlin: Where’s the best place to eat in Forks?

Daven: Outside the city, in the dense forest, when the Twi-hards are out at night looking for vampires.
“Pardon me, young ladies. It appears you’re looking for vampires. Forgive my impertinence for asking this question, but what exactly were you planning to do if you found one?”


Chiseled in Rock: What’s New from Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers?

Next Big Thing interview questions

Tagged by Deadly Ever After blog.

What is the title of your book?
Vampire Syndrome

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I finished reading the four Twilight books, and thought I could write something better. A special-needs vampire protagonist hero was the first thing that came to mind.

What genre does your book fall under?
Two versions, young adult and “erotica”.
I wrote one little vampire wife swap scene and I get tagged “erotica”! Geez Louise… 😉

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
An unknown young male actor with Down Syndrome as Jack
Christian Bale as Damien
Jessica Chastain as Lilith
Minka Kelly as Zetania
Alan Cumming as Les

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Can Down Syndrome vampire Jack Wendell overcome his fellow vampires’ prejudice against his kind and take his rightful place in the vampire community?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m signed to PDMI Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft in omniscent POV = six months. Ground-up re-write in limited-multi first-person POV’s = another year and a half!

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My book is truly unique in its genre. There are no other books I know of that feature a special-needs vampire. Basically, if you take the mawkish sentimentality out of Forrest Gump, then add vampires, sex, violence and aliens, you have “Vampire Syndrome”. 😈

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The special-needs individuals I’ve worked with for the past two decades inspired me to create a dignified, wise special-needs hero that they could be proud of! 😀

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I invented a whole new vampire mythos that makes sense in both scientific and folkloric terms. There are two types of vampires in my story, humans and “Pures” (the latter are humanoid carnivorous predators of extra-terrestrial origin). Pures’ skin burns in sunlight, due to their home plant having full cloud cover, and they are averse to garlic/onions because no acidic plants exist on their home planet. Pures also have inner gravity (enabling them to cling to walls and ceilings) and are “immortal” (ie: no “end-of-life” sequence in their DNA).

The interesting factor here is that the human vampires traditionally view special-needs vampires as a liability, but the fearsome Pures see the potential in Jack. 😉

My blog turns two

Today, Oct. 16th, is the two-year anniversary of my Vampire Syndrome blog. And thanks to the magic of YouTube, I can invite Beth Gibbons to sing at my blog’s “birthday party.” 😎

“For time is but a memory”

I am thrilled to announce that Vampire Syndrome will be a featured title during Fangs And Hearts Week, October 24-31 on Emily 😀

This is my blog’s birthday, but you get a present. Click here, log in (or register for free first), enter code RC29W and pick up your free copy of Vampire Syndrome. This promo code is good now through November 4th. 🙂

A big thank you to all my readers!