Welcome to www.arallyofwriters.com

 The 31st Year of


April 14, 2018

Stand by for information about our next Rally


Click on the Conference tab in the menu above for the full lineup of 2017 Presenters

Scroll down for interviews with our presenters!

“Rally is the warmest, longest-running conference in Michigan. Great speakers, great company, and pretty good cookies.”


For news of writing events, seminars and conferences, check in at The Skaaldic Society website and click on the WRITING EVENTS tab. I will be making updates there as news comes in. For information about local Michigan writing groups click on the Skaalds LINKS tab.

For more information on writing groups, check out the (invisible) Resources page here.


Rally Warm-Up

Rally Warm-Up
7:00pm Friday, April 7, 2017

Free and Open to the Public


The Truth Will Set You Free
 Several Super Storytellers
Dan Lince (former Moth story hour person, Ann Arbor)
Dedria Barker
Rina Risper
Shirley Bradley
Winston Williams
In participation with WKAR

Q&A with Lori Nelson Spielman

We asked our keynote speaker for A Rally of Writers, Lori Nelson Spielman a few questions about being a part of the close knit community of writers and her work.  She will be joining us on April 8, for her keynote and a session on novel writing.

Q: You have been a part of the Lansing area community of writers for a long time. What do you think being connected in this way does for a writer? And specifically what do you think it has done for you?

A: I have an incredibly supportive spouse and family, along with great friends who cheer me on. But nothing beats the camaraderie among authors, people working towards the same goal, suffering the same rejections and insecurities, struggling with deadlines and day jobs. It’s invaluable, being part of Lansing’s community of writers, and I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say how fortunate we are to have Linda Peckham at the helm.

Q&A with Landis Lain

Landis began her writing career in the first grade, went on to graduate from MSU, and then snagged a law degree because her mother told her, “Writers starve so get a real job.” Now a judge, and an avid romance and mystery reader, she writes fiction and nonfiction for varied ages. Daddy’s Baby is her debut YA novel.

Q: You have been a part of the Lansing area community of writers for a long time. What do you think being connected in this way does for a writer? And specifically what do you think it has done for you?

A: The Lansing Area has been an extremely nurturing atmosphere for me as a writer because it is a close knit community of people from every background under the sun. We all have a story to tell. Lansing is small, but packed with rich cultural experience. I was able to work, spend time with my hubby, raise children and still keep up with my writing because Lansing Community College had an excellent writing program and caring, helpful writing instructors. It gave me a safe place to hone my craft. Through the writing program, I met lots of great writers and ended up with a fierce critique group, who are not only my friends but provide emotional support and honest, helpful suggestions about how to make my writing better. They keep me grounded but are also my biggest supporters

Q&A with Terry Wooten

Terry has been called “an everyday Homer writing as a modern Bard for ordinary heroes.” He is an award-winning poet, creator of the Elders Project, and builder and host of the Stone Circle, the longest outdoor poetry venue in Michigan and the focus of an international documentary film, due in 2017. His collected works, Stone Circle Poems, won a 2016 Michigan Notable Book Award.
Q: How important is it to have a supportive community as a writer? 
A: To me it’s important because my wife and I host a poetry, storytelling and song gathering every Saturday night during the summer called Stone Circle. It’s an actual Stone Circle of 88 boulders that I built in the meadow behind our home, arranged in three concentric circles. It’s important that we draw an audience, which we do. This summer will be our 34th year. I think it’s up to the writer to create his or her audience.

Q&S with Barb Modrack

by Andrea King Collier

Barb Mordrack is a journalist and talented short story writer. She will be joining us at A Rally of Writers on April 8, 2017. She has been writing and finding her way through the world of short fiction for years. We asked her about being a part of a community of writers and how she finds her footing in short story.

Q: You have been a part of the Lansing area community of writers for a long time. What do you think being connected in this way does for a writer? And specifically what do you think it has done for you?

A: There is nothing like being connected to other writers. Years ago the best way was to be in a writing group or club, or to go to conference. Those are still great. When I am on my way to a writing conference I get the same feeling of excitement I suspect a nerdy teenager feels on the way to ComicCom. I know I will be among people who “get” me, even if they don’t know me well. It provides a feeling of relief that, wow, I’m not crazy. This is valid.

Q&A with Beverly Jenkins

by Andrea King Collier

Beverly Jenkins is both a historical and contemporary romance novelist. She made her name on historical romance focused on African Americans. She was recently featured by CBS This Morning, talking about the impact of romance novels. She will be joining us again for A Rally of Writers. She checked in with us to answer a few questions. www.beverlyjenkins.net

Question: Why are conferences like A Rally of Writers, that bring Michigan writers together important?

Answer: I think one of the highlights of a community based writing conference is being with your tribe. Writers are odd; not everyone gets us but other writers do. Being able to spend a day not only honing your craft but interacting with people who speak your language and understand your goals and aspirations can be inspiring.

Q&A with Alice Speilberg

by Andrea King Collier

Finding the right agent to represent you and your work can be the magic piece of the puzzle for writers looking to get their books published Agent Alice Speilburg will be joining us at A Rally of Writers to talk about the relationship between author and agent and finding the perfect fit for you. We asked her a few questions about the process. Check out her website for more info at www.speilburgliterary.com

Q: What do you look for in a client? Or in the material they send you?

A: In potential clients, ​I look for professionalism. I want to have a sense that you are dedicated to your writing craft, that you can set realistic goals, and that we’ll be able to work together to achieve those goals. Once an author makes a book deal, all sorts of unexpected circumstances pop up — the cover is fundamentally wrong for your book, your amazing editor just left the company, or a prominent review suddenly puts an uncomfortable spotlight on you — and we’ll need that professional foundation to work through those issues. In the manuscript, I’m always looking for a unique voice​,

Q&A with Jess Wells

by Andrea King Collier
Jess Wells is a talented historical and contemporary fiction author. She e will be joining us for A Rally of Writers on April 8, 2017.  Jess answered a few questions for us. To learn more about Jess and her work go to http://www.jesswells.com/

Q: Where do you go for inspiration for your work?

A: When I write historical fiction it’s because a particular watershed moment in time has caught my attention: the first woman to make a living as a writer as in The Slender Tether; the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe, as in The Mandrake Broom. But in all instances I’m trying to make sure that I have something to say, a unique angle on a universal truth about ambition, disillusionment, love, freedom, control etc. and the book is an opportunity to explore as many facets of that issue as I can imagine.

Q&A with J. Gabriel Gates

by Andrea King Collier

J. Gabriel Gates will be joining us for two sessions at A Rally of Writers. One is on ghostwriting and the other is on screenwriting. Here’s what he has to say about his work. To learn more about him go to www.jgabrielgates.com

Q: What do you most remember about your first ghostwriting project?

A: The most amazing thing, to me, was how well I was able to intuit what my client wanted to say. I was writing a fictionalized version of one of the most difficult times in my client’s life. It involved intimate details of a marital betrayal, and to top it off, the client was the opposite gender from me. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to capture her experience. Of course a ghostwriter interviews his client to glean as many details as possible, but during the writing process, the writer invariably ends up filling a lot of gaps with details and feelings that he invents along the way.

Q&A with Julie Timmer

by Andrea King Collier

Ann Arbor based author Julie Lawson Timmer is the author of the novels Five Days Left and her newest Untethered. Her third novel, Mrs. Saint and the Defectives, will be in bookstores in August, 2017. We are pleased that she will be joining us at A Rally of Writers this year. We asked her a few questions about her writing process.

Q: Where do you go for support and connection as a writer? Do you belong to a group? What do you think being connected in this way does for a writer? And specifically what do you think it has done for you?

A: First, to my husband, who is my first-line editor, go-to advisor about character and plot issues and biggest supporter. Next, to close writer friends, particularly Lansing’s own Lori Nelson Spielman, whose friendship is the single greatest