The 31st year of

April 14, 2018

Conference Center, West Campus, LCC
5708 Cornerstone Drive, Delta Township
Lansing MI 48917

Download, save and print as needed all 2018 Rally forms in Adobe PDF format

Download 2018 PDF Session Schedule here!

Download 2018 PDF Presenter Bios page here!

Download 2018 PDF Mail-In Registration Form here!

Rally Speakers for 2018

Terry Blackhawk, Keynote:
Poet, essayist, teacher, founder of InsideOut Literary Arts Project
Greg Baldino: Ethics in YA NF Books
Michael Byers: Short stories, novels – Percival’s Planet
Desiree Cooper: Journalist, flash-fiction novel – Know the Mother
Karen Dionne: Psychological suspense thrillers – The Marsh King’s Daughter
Colleen Gleason: Fantasy, historical, paranormal….
Lisa Grady: Screenwriting
Patrice Johnson: Creative NF book – The Fall and Rise of Tyler Johnson
Linda Peckham: The Clumping Theory
Lev Raphael: Writing Mysteries
John Smolens: Writing the Novel – Wolf’s Mouth
Alice Speilburg & Elana Roth Parker: Agents, First Page
Whitney Spotts: Book Promotion
David Stricklen: MG Books – Blackwater Pond series


Terry Blackhawk, Keynote · Teacher, poet, and essayist, Terry is the founder of Detroit’s InsideOut Literary Arts Project in poetry that serves 5000 youth each year. She has won the John Ciardi and the Pablo Neruda prizes for poetry. She was named Creative Writing Educator and Detroit Bookwoman of the Year (2007), and holds a Humanities Award from Wayne County Arts, History, and Humanities. She serves on AWP and WITS (Writers in the School) Alliance.


Greg Baldino · Greg is the author of books for teens on Investigating the Boston Marathon Bombings; The Early History of the Gay Rights Movement; and Art, Technology and Language Across the Middle East. He also has written articles on folk music, Italian cooking, graphic novels, queer sexuality, experimental psychology, anti-fascist activism and art history. Twitter: @gregbaldino

Michael Byers · U-M author of two novels, Long for This World and Percival’s Planet, and the story collection The Coast of Good Intentions, Michael’s fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards. His novella The Broken Man was a finalist for the World Fantasy Awards.

Desiree Cooper · Des is a former attorney, Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist, and Detroit community activist. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Callaloo, Detroit Noir, and Best African American Fiction 2010, among others in print and online. She was a founder of Cave Canem, and her flash fiction, Know The Mother (WSU Press 2016), was a Michigan Notable Book selection.

Karen Dionne · Karen’s international bestselling psychological suspense novel, The Marsh King’s Daughter (Putnam’s Sons), is a 2018 Michigan Notable Book, and won Suspense Magazine’s Crimson Scribe Award and a Best Book of 2017 by Hudson Booksellers and Library Journal. She is cofounder of the writers’ community Backspace and a member of the International Thriller Writers, where she served on the board of directors. (Photo credit: John Andresen/Juritzen Publishing)


Colleen Gleason · A New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, Colleen has written over 40 novels as mysteries, historical, romance, paranormal, YA, and thriller, with NAL/ Penguin, HarperCollins, Chronicle Books, and Harlequin/ MIRA. A “hybrid author,” she writes for a traditional publisher and also indie-publishes both backlist and frontlist titles.

Lisa Grady · This Michigan native studied acting in NYC, then booked several bit parts in Los Angeles on shows like Mad Men and Criminal Minds. She has written stage plays, scripts and her own web series, “Lisa and Her Brain.” In 2017 she produced a YouTube talk show, “Bit Part Stars.”

Patrice Johnson · Author of The Fall and Rise of Tyler Johnson, 2017, Patrice taught college writing, then spent 16 years in the computer industry where she founded three companies and served as vice-president for a Fortune 500 company. Her weekly articles in the industry’s largest trade publication received six first-place awards from Michigan Press Women. She’s editor of the Stockbridge Community News.

Elana Roth Parker · An agent with the Laura Dail Literary Agency, Elana specializes in children’s and YA fiction. Clients include Kiera Cass, Vern Kousky and Alexa Donne. Degrees from Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary in English literature and the Bible add up to her love of books that combine the timely and the timeless.

Linda Peckham · A retired writing professor from LCC, Linda had articles published in Michigan History, the Historical Society of Greater Lansing, the TETYC journal, Controlled Burn, and others. She also co-authored Saw Mills and Sleigh Bells, creative nonfiction stories of mid-Michigan pioneers for children, and The Pocket Hotline, a handbook for writers. She is a co-founder of Rally.

Lev Raphael · Lev is the author of 25 books in genres from memoir to mystery. He is best known in Michigan for his Nick Hoffman academic mystery series set in the town of Michiganopolis. Reviewer and blogger at The Huffington Post, he teaches creative writing and other courses at MSU and had his own radio show on WLNZ.

John Smolens · Former head of Creative Writing at Northern Michigan U, John has published ten works of fiction, most recently Wolf’s Mouth, a 2017 Michigan Notable Book selection. Four of his earlier novels were reissued in paperback in 2017 by the MSU Press. In 2010, he received the Michigan Author of the Year Award from the Michigan Library Association.

Alice Speilburg · The founding agent of Speilburg Literary Agency, Alice has worked in publishing since 2008. She’s a member of Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, SCBWI, and serves on the board of Louisville Literary Arts. She represents narrative nonfiction and commercial fiction for adult and YA readers.

Whitney Spotts · A member of Schuler Books marketing department for 12 years, Whitney is currently Author Tours Coordinator for all three locations and has worked with such authors as Caroline Kennedy, Mitch Albom, Khaled Hosseini, and David Sedaris. On weekends she sings in the ’80s band “Starfarm.” Google: Whitney Spotts

David Stricklen · David was an airport police chief with 30 years in law enforcement. Now he has written three middle-grade fantasy adventure books in the Blackwater Pond series. His books and school visits are filled with magic and creativity. David is an active SCBWI advisory committee member.

or 517-372-3385

Funded in part by Lansing Community College, the MSU Press, the WSU Press, and the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities