"Start before you’re ready." --Steven Pressfield


Welcome to
CC Writers Exchange!





CCWE Members receive these extras

for only $15 this year ...

​>  Workshop discounts​

>  Monthly Critique sessions

>  November NaNoWriMo Mentoring

​>  WE Write sessions

​>  Links to your website​​

​>  End of year Book Exchange

>  Members only year-end writing session

Join now on our Membership Page!

Contact Membership Chair Laurel McHargue with questions

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Free News & Updates

Join our email list to receive updates and notifications about upcoming writing sessions, workshops, twice monthly critique sessions, November NaNoWriMo mentoring, Members' new book releases, Salida Art Walk community event participation, links from our website to your published book(s).

Contact us!

Based in Central Colorado since 1995, the CC Writers Exchange fosters writing and encourages publication through the sharing of resources critique sessions, and information. (more)

We are on Zoom!

Join us for our free and open to the public WE Write (WW) Sessions!

These WW sessions usually meet on the Zoom platform. Each session has time allotted at start for general discussion, writing updates, events. We start the WW sessions at 6 p.m. (MT) and are always done by 8 p.m..


Plan for a 15 minute "head start" for technical set-up before the start time.

The opportunity to read your writing is encouraged with no critique! (more) See our Event Calendar for dates, times. Zoom connection information is sent day before the session. Be sure to RSVP!

Join WE Write (WW) Zoom Session Here!

Contact Laurel McHargue to volunteer for a session facilitator! Memberchair@CCWritersExchange.org

Subscribe to CCWE to stay current with our schedule of events!

Youth Writing Contest
CC Writers Exchange Membership
CCWE Writers In the News
linda taylor.jpg

Check out a new way to read Linda Taylor’s Comings and Goings! She’s got the Kindle version out on Amazon for just $2.99 and it’s already bringing in top ratings.

Here’s what Linda has to say:

“I know some of you may have already purchased/read this exceptional novel. But for those who haven’t, it is the perfect gift for yourself and for all those friends of yours who haven’t had a moment to take a breath, curl up on their couch and read a high-quality book filled with surprising twists and turns, adventure, love, mystery and a natural disaster that galvanizes the characters into action.

As summer approaches, I know you are beginning to think about your summer reads. Comings and Goings is just the ticket. It’s a story within a story, alternating between past and present, and full of likable, humorous, complex characters trying to find their way through the maze of life, just as all of us are doing.

Reward yourself and your loved ones with a Paperback or Kindle copy of Comings and Goings. Buy several copies and narrow down that shopping list.


Please note that all proceeds from Comings and Goings will be donated to animal rescue organizations in Colorado.

What a great gift! You help the orphaned animals, you treat your friends to an uplifting book and you help me spread the word about Comings and Goings. But more importantly, you treat yourself to a great summer read, curled up under a shade tree, sipping on a glass of lemonade”

Linda will be in Salida with the rest of our CCWE authors this coming weekend. Stop by and say hi (and buy books!)

Writing Critique Sessions
Salida Art Walk
24-26 June

Want feedback on your writing from other authors? Having trouble finding beta readers? Want to learn about writing craft by reviewing other authors’ work?

Join the FREE CCWE Critique Group – for CCWE members only.

This on-line group meets twice per month on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 to about 8:00 (see the CCWE calendar for dates). By Sunday prior to the meeting, post your submission (3,000 words maximum) to Google Docs. You have three days to review/provide written feedback on three submissions and, in return, you will receive three reviews on your work. At Wednesday’s on-line meeting, you will give/receive additional feedback.

If you’re not a Google Docs user – NO WORRIES! Our facilitators will walk you through how to upload and download documents like a pro.

If you want to find out more? Please contact Author and CCWE Board Member, Linda Ditchkus. Contact Linda Ditchkus HERE! or call her at 720-985-8450.

We're excited to let you know the CCWE is sponsoring a few events over Salida's Art Walk weekend (June 24-26, 2022)—after all, authors are artists, too!.


  • On Friday, from 2:00-4:00, CCWE is sponsoring a Free Youth Writing Workshop at the Salida Library (405 E St in Salida). Cam Torrens and Bill Hatcher will lead this workshop designed to help young writers navigate the editing process. If you know of some local youths (middle grade through high school) who might be interested, please let them know to join the fun. No reservations needed, but come early because there is limited space in the room.


  • On Friday (10:00-7:00), Saturday (10:00-7:00), and Sunday (10:00-4:00), CCWE member authors will be at our Author Gallery at the Book Haven (109 N. F St in Salida) to promote their books and talk about writing topics. Here's the schedule:

Pam Carothers: Fri: 10-1; Sat: 1-4 

Thomas K. Carpenter: Fri: 1-7; Sat: 1-4

Lawton Eddy: Fri: 1-4; Sat: 10-1

LV Ditchkus: Sun: 1-4

Gaga Gabardi: Sat: 4-7; Sun: 10-4

Bill Hatcher: Fri: 10-1, 4-7

DR Kiss: Sat: 10-1; 4-7; Sun: 10-1

Laurel McHargue: Fri: 10-1, 4-7; Sat/Sun: 1-4

Kristen Moeller: Fri: 1-4

Kathy Taylor: Sat: 10-1, 4-7

Linda Taylor: Fri: 1-4; Sat/Sun: 10-1

Cary Unkelbach: Fri: 10-1; Sat:4-7; Sun: 1-4

Monica Young: Fri: 4-7; Sat: 1-4; Sun: 10-1

  • On Saturday (1:00-4:00), CCWE authors will be doing Short Readings at the Salida Library on the hour. Here's the schedule:


1:00: L.V. Ditchkus reading from Crimes of the Sasquatch and Linda Taylor from Comings and Goings 

2:00: D.R. Kiss reading from Seeing With Your Eyes Closed: Energy's Magic Book One  and Kathy Taylor from Trees and Other Witnesses 

3:00: Gaga Gabardi reading from The Last Hurrah: A Phoebe Korneal Mystery and Cary Unkelbach from Heartbreak Kennel: The True Story of Max and His Breeder 


Questions, contact Member-At-Large Linda Ditchkus HERE.  


“I want to do something with this money, and I want to get youth involved in writing.”


These were the goals Jean Gabardi, local author, and new president of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange (CCWE), stated as she took the club’s leadership reins two years ago. The COVID pandemic had increased the organization’s membership with Zoom as the new venue for meeting. But with face-to-face events on hold, the club was no longer spending annual dues money on author events. “It wasn’t a ton of money. But it was enough to do something.”


Gabardi put her vice president, writer Cam Torrens, on the task. After pitching scholarship ideas to the local schools in Salida and Buena Vista, he brought back a different concept and presented it to the CCWE board.


“The teachers and librarians in Chaffee County all agreed that another $1000 high school scholarship requiring an essay was not the best way to motivate local youth to write,” Torrens explained. “They suggested the contest. They suggested short fiction to inspire creativity. And they also predicted interest in the middle school age range, as well as high school…especially with cash prizes.


CCWE advertised the contest in January: two age-group categories representing middle school and high school and a common theme for the short stories: It Happened Near Here. The submission window ran from mid-February to the end of March and for a few weeks the contest looked like it might be a bust.


“We had four entries submitted with about two weeks until the contest closed out,” Torrens said. “It wasn’t looking like much of a contest.”


But as the suspense neared, the submissions started pouring in. By March 31st, the contest collected 36 young author submissions from 5 counties and 8 different towns. And the number of submissions wasn’t what was impressing the 21 CCWE members and other writing volunteers who evaluated the pieces through two rounds of judging. It was the quality.


“It was hard to pick a top piece out of the finalist round,” author Nancy Oswald noted. “The thing that stood out among the best stories was the way they dazzled the reader at the beginning and tied up all the loose ends for a satisfying conclusion.”


Torrens and Membership Chair, Laurel McHargue, presented the awards to the top writers at a ceremony in Buena Vista, Colorado, on May 5th.


Senior Division

Best Entry: Henry Dodson of Chaffee County High School with his story The Trees ($400)

Honorable Mention: Grace Bunch, homeschooled in Leadville. Dandelions ($150)

Honorable Mention: Tal Sheleg, Lake County High School. Where They Belong ($150)


Junior Division

Best Entry: Benjamin Bishop of Salida, schooled at Classical Conversations in Buena Vista. The Egg ($400)

Honorable Mention: Alexis “Lexie” Davis, homeschooled in Buena Vista. The Legend of Lily and Luna ($150)

Honorable Mention: Lauren Cartner, homeschooled in Silverthorne. Framed at Thirteen. ($150)


President Gabardi praised local educators, librarians, and sponsors. “The Buena Vista and Salida schools really spelled out what they thought would work…and they were right. The libraries in both towns not only helped sponsor the prize money but also collected submissions from the authors. And New Bees Thrift Store of Buena Vista and Walmart of Salida were contributors to the prize money.”


Besides the prizes, winners receive a professional edit of their work and an interview with Laurel McHargue on her podcast Alligator Preserves.

Workshop "2-fer"!