A Rally of Writers 2014

Can you hear it?  Go ahead listen to it.

That’s right!  Its, the knock-out anthem that precedes a major triumph.  It invigorates, and catapults’ the tenacity needed to defeat the most harrowing enemies. This theme is what declares the line has been drawn and victory is at hand.  And this is the theme overwhelmingly experienced while in attendance at the  Rally of Writers’ Conference in Lansing, Michigan.

This year the conference was held at the Lansing Community College West Campus on April 12, 2014.  The Conference ran from 8:30 to 4:20.  The Rally began with key-note  speaker Fleda Brown presenting “Madness and Responsibility-The Writer’s Contrary Companions”.  The presentation was enlightening, reflective, and relatable.  Brown also offered some practical advice on how to rein in the madness to produce the work.


Next, writers had the option to choose from over 12 different small group break out sessions throughout the course of the day. Each session featured a published author working within a variety of genres.  Featured authors included Andrea King Collier, Teresa Crumpton, George Dila, Denise Hill, Beverly Jenkins, Jen McConnel, Rick Murcer, Lev Raphael, Lori Nelson Spielman, and Jeff VandeZande.  Some of these authors I knew and actually owned a book or two of theirs, but best of all was most were unfamiliar to me and I was able to become a fan and even a friend with one or two.

I attended the “Landing An Agent” session presented by Lori Nelson Spielman.  She and I became fast friends. Her information was thorough and accurate and the presentation became a grand conversation amongst writers which is always an indication of a quality presentation.  As a teacher, Spielman produced great handouts along with a powerpoint packed full of information that she was even willing to email to share with others.  Educators are always gauging their lessons based on student interest and the engagement was definitely witnessed as hands constantly were raised to gleam from her vast resources.   Well done, Lori, you get an A+.

photo_2 (3)


{check out upcoming post reviewing her book, The Life List!}

After a lovely lunch networking with Lori and her friend discussing our commonalities and our writings, I then attended Beverly Jenkins’ session “Characters Who Breathe”.

I initially wasn’t planning to attend her session simply because as a writing teacher I felt I understood all there is to know about characterization.  I expound about characters everyday in my literature classes and have fallen in love with breathing characters since the beginning of my reading experience.  In particular, Margaret being one of the first, from Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Are you there God

A true favorite and a classic!

However when I went to the book table to purchase Lori’s book, The Life List!  (Yes, shameless plug to purchase The Life List)


I noticed an author by the name of Beverly Jenkins had about seven books on the table. I purchased one and then was sold several more by recommendation.

It’s a good thing my husband doesn’t read this blog much because at this point in the conference I’m hemorrhaging money I don’t have buying books. Yet it’s like the odd cashier said, “hey its better than buying Coke (and not the kind you drink) because you don’t end up in jail.”  I felt she was actually living those words and they spurred me to purchase more.

Based on Beverly’s writing chops, I decided I had to experience her live and in person.  Perhaps some of her writing favor could rub off on me if I sat close enough.  And honestly, I believe it did.  Her presentation was thoroughly enjoyable and I learned so much.


Beverly Jenkins helped me understand that I needed to have conversations with my characters.  She also spoke of how characters may not be for today, but if you file them away and cherish the memory of them, they often speak when it’s time to tell their story and ta-da a new book emerges.  Her humor riddled with cuss words and great writer quotes was more entertaining than a Hallmark movie. But more than just the entertainment factor, she is prolific with over 30 books in print and awards that could fill Phil Jackson’s trophy case.   photo_3 (1)

I was impressed.

(check out A Rally of Writers Conference Quotes to Remember posting)

The last session I attended was Jen McConnel’s YA/NA: What’s the Big Deal?  I chose this session to garner information about the difference in the genres and perhaps help my daughter who is launching a digital media company in a month connect some dots.  The session was excellent because it allowed writers to WRITE!  McConnel gave several writing exercises to help participants understand the difference between the two genres.  They were effective, I now understand.  I completely enjoyed each one of the sessions I attended and I know this is true for the others as well. The laughter and  reactions could be heard between the walls and throughout the halls.

A Rally of Writers wrapped up with the same theme of triumph and motivation ever echoing throughout the conference:

  • Read
  • Place butt in seat
  •  write
  • Complete
  • Read
  • Place butt in seat
  • write
  • Complete …………………….Writer’s Victory!

I even walked away with a door prize.    Basically, for $90 dollars I received invaluable writing support, profound author connections, lunch and an endless supply of  coffee/tea/ and cookies.  Now counting the additional million needed to support the authors by purchasing books, the Rally of Writers’ Conference grand total was Priceless.

2 thoughts on “A Rally of Writers 2014

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