Colorado Authors League announces 2021 writing awards finalists


This month, the finalists were named in the long-running Colorado Authors League (CAL) writing competition. Celebrating its 90th anniversary this year, the organization supports and promotes published writers. CAL recognizes several works published in several different genres in fiction and non-fiction. This year, more than 120 members participated in the published works competition.

Each year, the group honors a member with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Joe Nigg is the winner this year. A past president of CAL, Nigg’s books have won numerous awards and have been translated into over twenty languages. Jeff VanderMeer, The New York Review of Science Fiction, said of Joe: “Nigg did for the fantastic beast world what Joseph Campbell did for the myth world more generally.

Colorado Authors League celebrates readers. They donate books to Little Libraries and other organizations to benefit child and adult literacy. In 202O, CAL members came together to help with distance learning by creating writing prompts for young readers to spark story ideas and creative writing.

I’m a member of CAL and entered the contest for my Essential Denver book, which was shortlisted in the Non-Fiction category: Lifestyle, Health and Fitness, Travel, How-to, Cookbook. The winners will be announced in a virtual celebration on July 17th.

Former CAL President Joe Nigg

If you’re looking for your next read and want to support a Colorado author, check out the list of all finalists.

List of finalists

Novel: general public, literary

  • Stephanie Harper: Wesley Yorstead goes outside
  • Grégory Seth Harris: The perfect stranger
  • Pierre Meech: Billy the kid)

Novel: Mystery (Cozy)

  • Judilee Butler and GaGa Gabardi: The Last Hurray: A Phoebe Korneal Mystery
  • Kate M. Lansing: Killer chardonnay
  • Irv Sternberg: The Mervin Gardens Murders

Novel: Mystery (Crime, Suspense)

  • Marguerite Mizushima: Hanging Falls: A Timber Creek Mystery
  • Barbara Nickless: Gone into darkness
  • Sheri Cobb South: Brother, can you spare a crime?

Novel: Action, Adventure

  • Jodi Bowersox: The Diamond Diva Vendetta
  • Sheri Cobb South: Brother, can you spare a crime?
  • Robert G. Williscroft: Operation Icebreaker: A Mac McDowell Mission

Historical novel

  • Bronwyn Long Borne: Guardian of Spirits
  • David M. Jessup: Mariano’s wife
  • Pat Benedict Jurgens: Falling Forward: A Woman’s Journey West

Novel: Romance

  • Jodi Bowersox: The Diamond Diva Vendetta
  • Jodi Bowersox: The heir to Mars
  • Pete Carlson: Tearza

Novel: Science-Fiction

  • R. Gary Raham: A twice-dead genius behaving with misunderstood abominations
  • Jodi Bowersox: The heir to Mars
  • LV Ditchkus: The Sasquatch series

Novel: Fantasy

  • Todd Fahnstock: Tower of the Four
  • Jo Fontana: Gods of the Bay
  • Sherri Cobb South: Nowhere man

Novel: Supernatural, Horror

  • Iona Morrison: Key to the past
  • Sherri Cobb South: Nowhere man
  • Claryn Vaile: Ghost visit


  • Kristin Paris: The beauty of the ashes
  • James Van Pelt: The best of James Van Pelt
  • Catherine Winograd: Slow arrow: dig up fragile children

Poetry (Collection)

  • Kika Dorsey: Busy: Vienna is a broken man and hungry girl
  • Carol D. Guerrero-Murphy: Luminous Path Dark River
  • Valérie A. Szarek: Soar Ready: Medicine Poems for a Changing World

Non-fiction: Biography, Memory

  • Robert V. Dodge: Grand Mal: ​​a life with late epilepsy
  • Cary Unkelbach: Heartbreak Kennel: The True Story of Max and his Breeder
  • Sarah Byrn Rickman: Betty Gillies WAFS Pilot: The Days and Flights of a WWII Squadron Leader

Non-fiction: history, research and science

  • Louis Kraft: Sand Creek and the tragic end of a way of life
  • Jeffrey B. Miller: Yanks Behind the Lines: How the Belgian Relief Commission saved millions from starvation in WWI
  • Susan A. Fletcher: Explore the history of childhood and play through 50 historical treasures
  • Jody L. Pritzl: This championship year

Non-Fiction: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness, Travel, How To, Cookbook

“Essential Denver” by Lisa J. Shultz
  • Becky Clark: Eight weeks for a complete novel
  • Laurel McHargue and Nadine Collier: Piece-piece peace: 10 lessons from a puzzle!
  • Lisa J. Shultz: Essential Denver: Guide to Discovery and Exploration

Fiction / Non-fiction: Young adult

  • Todd Fahnestock: The summer of the hunt
  • Matthew John Meagher: Irish town
  • Sarah Byrn Rickman: Betty Gillies WAFS Pilot: The Days and Flights of a WWII Squadron Leader
  • Wendy Terrien: The Forge of Links

Fiction / Non-fiction: Intermediate level

  • Mr. J. Evans: Mr. Figgletoes’ toy store
  • Teresa R. Funke; trans. Gloria García Díaz: V of victoria
  • Sonja K. Solter: When you know what i know

Fiction / non-fiction: picture book or chapter book

  • Nancy Bo flood: I’m going to dance
  • Lisa Reinicke: Wings and feet activity book
  • Virginia K. White (Author) and Gaspar Sabater (Illustrator): How would you like a giant ginger garbula?

Fictional short film

  • Daniel Ginsberg: Molly
  • Barb Lundy: Wild tales
  • Daniel A. Willis: Farhi and the Crystal Dome

Poetry 1-3 poems

  • Carolyn Evans Campbell: Darwin and me and the sea, hop-along hunter
  • Valérie A. Szarek: Fly away, there’s no room, Christmas cactus
  • Catherine Winograd: To the three ducks flying under the dog star

Non-fiction articles

  • Mimi Pockross: Two Colorado Women and an Invisible Rabbit
  • Irv Sternberg: Chosin Reservoir Campaign: Battle Perspectives of the Marines There
  • Mary Taylor Young: Strange Bird Parts

Essays, Opinion, Humor, Inspiration, Personal, Memory

  • Lou Dean: my pegasus
  • Gary Raham: The viral life of plants … and everything in between
  • Carol Ann Wilson: The Coca Girl

Book cover design

  • Cristina Béjan: Green horses on the walls
  • Jodi Bowersox: The Diamond Diva Vendetta
  • Matthew John Meagher: Irish town

Blog post

  • Eliza Croix: Lame history class, meet OJ and my judgment with racism
  • Buffy Gilfoil: An elegant haunt
  • Sheri Cobb South: Mad about quagmire!

To learn more about CAL, visit


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