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Fall Arts Preview '09: A stack mountain high

Colorado authors will fill the bookshelves with pigskin, pot and more this autumn

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With annual conferences like the Pikes Peak Writers Conference each April, the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers' Colorado Gold Writers Conference in September and Author Fest of the Rockies in October, Colorado offers numerous opportunities for writers to work on their craft, learn about the business and schmooze big-name editors and agents.

And this type of support has paid off: The state is home to scores of published writers, including New York Times bestselling authors like Stephen White, Diana Mott Davidson and Gus Lee.

Unfortunately, it's not always easy to find Colorado authors when clicking through amazon.com or shopping the shelves of a big-box bookstore. (At independent shops, you can often find local author shelves.) To get you started on a literary journey around the state, here's a short guide to some upcoming home-grown writing.

August

Football season is upon us, and The Denver Broncos: The Complete Illustrated History, by Jim Saccomano (MVP Books, $30/hardcover, Aug. 29) comes just in time. Saccomano, the Broncos' vice president of public relations, has taken his 32 years of working with the organization and turned it into an in-depth insider's tale. The big wins and losses, from 1960 to today — they're all covered in nearly 200 full-color pages. And, of course, a "complete" history wouldn't be complete without a foreword from No. 7, John Elway.

September

Murder has struck Wyoming's Wind River Reservation in The Silent Spirit by New York Times bestselling Boulder author Margaret Coel (Berkley Hardcover, $24.95/hardcover, Sept. 1). And with the investigation comes Coel's regulars, Jesuit priest John O'Malley and Arapaho lawyer Vicky Holden. Coel, a five-time Colorado Book Award winner, weaves tales of 1920s Hollywood and today's drug underworld into this 13th installment of her Wind River mystery series.

Colorado Springs author Weldon Long spent 20 years "drinking, drugging, robbing and lying" and more than a decade "in prisons, jails and halfway houses." In his autobiography, The Upside of Fear: How One Man Broke the Cycle of Prison, Poverty, and Addiction (Greenleaf Book Group Press, $19.95/hardcover, Sept. 1), Long candidly shares these experiences, and his road from ex-con to CEO of a multimillion-dollar business — Wright Total Indoor Comfort, one of the largest home heating and cooling contractors in the Springs.

If you've ever heard the "Marijuana is Safer than Alcohol" message (and been intrigued by it), then Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? (Chelsea Green Publishing, $14.95/paperback, Sept. 15) might be just the book you've been seeking. Mason Tvert, co-founder and executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), and a member of Denver's Marijuana Policy Review Panel (appointed by Mayor John Hickenlooper), has written a tome, along with Steve Fox and Paul Armentano, that addresses why our nation has been pushed toward alcohol and away from cannabis, and why law reform is needed.

October

Jessy Randall spends her weekdays as Colorado College's curator of special collections. But when not amid Tutt Library's stacks, Randall writes. The poet and author's newest title, The Wandora Unit (Ghost Road Press, $17.95/hardcover, Oct. 5), is a young adult story about high school best friends (who also happen to be poets), and the changes that naturally arise with adolescent growth.

Finally, romance, mystery and a sprinkling of paranormal elements — what more could a reader want? The Gift, the 12th full-length novel by Palmer Lake author Deb Stover (Love Spell, $6.99/paperback, Oct. 27), wraps all these elements up in the tale of a woman who relives murder victims' last moments, and the man she's destined to confront. (The "too hot to be true" man. There is romance involved, after all.)

kakens@csindy.com

Click here for the complete Fall Arts Preview 2009 table of contents!

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