Welcome to www.arallyofwriters.com

 Coming up:

The 30th Year of


April 8, 2017

Join our 2017 keynote speaker Lori Nelson Spielman, international bestselling author of The Life List and Sweet Forgiveness, and 10 Michigan authors and educators for 15 breakout sessions and workshops on all aspects of writing, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, screenwriting, the Nuts & Bolts of manuscript submissions, and more.

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

plus PDF downloads of sessions, presenters and the mail-in registration form

Register online via

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.


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.

Question: You really do a great job of staying in contact and dialoguing with readers using social media. Why did you decide to engage?

Answer: Interacting on social media lets you rub shoulders with other writers and venture into the places where readers gather like Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads etc.  My sales began climbing once I opened a FB page and grew even more as I learned to navigate Twitter. Readers want to know their authors: what your days are like, when pre-ordering is live and what’s in the pipeline. You get to decide how much or how little you want to share, but I find social media and what it can offer exciting. If you’re not on social media seriously consider doing so.  

Question: Do you always start a novel with the character or are you fully a plot-driven novelist?

Answer: Each story is different. Sometimes they begin with a character, and other times it’s sparked by a piece of history.

Question: In addition to writing and reading romance, we know you also love science fiction. Who inspires you? And can we expect to see you dip your toe in the Science Fiction writing pool soon?

Answer: I love sci-fi but my heart beats for fantasy.  I fan girl over Jim Butcher, Ilona Andrews and Patricia Briggs. I’ve always wanted to do my own stories so, later this year I’ll stick my toe in the water with a novella titled: Transformation. We’ll see how it goes.

Andrea King Collier
Freelance Journalist and Author
For A Rally of Writers 2017


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