Author: Allison Grace

Hope Prose Podcast Launch!

Hope Prose Podcast Launch!

 

The Hope Prose podcast is dedicated YA Christian books – the authors who write them and the readers they inspire. We upload new episodes once every two weeks and hope to leave our listens with sparks that ignite their own stories–whether their own or fictional. We want our podcast to be a place that inspires you to live a life of creative purpose through reading, writing or maybe even singing. Words are kinda our thing, and communication is one of the most powerful gifts God has given us and we want to stoke the fire in your own faith and creative journey.

 

About the host(s):

Tara K Ross Hope Prose Podcast

 

Tara K. Ross is a perpetual Toronto suburbanite, despite her best efforts to escape. She works as a school speech-language pathologist and mentors with local youth programs. She is blessed with a ridiculously supportive family that grants her time to create stories which tackle the interplay of faith and mental health. Her debut novel, FADE TO WHITE, will be published in the spring 2020. When Tara is not writing or reading all things YA, you can find her rock climbing the Ontario escarpment, planning her family’s next jungle trek or blogging.

 

Rebekah Black Hope Prose Podcast

Rebekah Black is a young writer from Southern California who is a lover of all things bacon and books. She is the co-founder of The Wilting Rose Project, an online girls’ ministry, contributor to The Rebelution, Fervr, Top Christian Books, and is a staff writer for TheLife.com. Her love for books borders on an obsession, but she regrets nothing. When she is not reading you’ll most likely find her either playing piano or guitar, working on her next novel, baking up healthy treats for her insanely supportive family, or fangirling over her favorite band, BTS

 


I know Rebekah Black through The Young Writer’s Workshop and I’m super excited about this podcast! I love listening to podcasts (or audiobooks) while crocheting and with this one being about Christian YA books, what could be better? I’ll definitely be tuning in for new episodes when it launches on July 8th!

Listen on iHeart Radio!

Hope Prose Podcast

 

Habakkuk: Everyone’s Favorite Minor Prophet!

Habakkuk: Everyone’s Favorite Minor Prophet!

Nestled between Nahum and Zephaniah, there is a little book called Habakkuk. It’s only three chapters long (56 verses), but very powerful. My dad once called it “everyone’s favorite minor prophet,” but it’s actually my favorite!

Our church just finished a four week series on Habakkuk. I’d like to share three things I learned with you.

1. There’s conflict between what we see happening in the world and our beliefs about God’s character.

When God told Habakkuk He was going to use the Chaldeans (the Babylonians) to judge Israel, the prophet was shocked. How could God use an evil and wicked nation to judge His people? Habakkuk said:

Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
Why do You look with favor
On those who deal treacherously [the Chaldeans]?
Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up
Those more righteous than they?
1:13

But God’s ways are often mysterious to us. We can’t always see how He’s working. But He still is.

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
Or as His counselor has informed Him?
With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding?
And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge
And informed Him of the way of understanding?
Isaiah 40:13-14

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the LORD.
Isaiah 55:8

2. God welcomes our questions.

Never once in the book of Habakkuk is the prophet rebuked for questioning what God was doing. In fact, the name “Habakkuk” actually means “to wrestle.”

The prophet never tells God what He should be doing, he simply asks why God is doing what He is because of what Habakkuk knew of His character. Habakkuk wasn’t trying to take control, he was seeking to understand what God was doing.

 

3. Remember God’s faithfulness in times past.

The Bible isn’t just a book of stories, it’s a record of God’s work. When we worry that things won’t work out for our good, we need only to open the Scriptures to remember what God has done.

Chapter three of Habakkuk is a song written by the prophet, remembering what God had done for Israel in the past.

We can also look to our own lives for examples of God’s work. We’ve all experienced it–God’s providence, answered prayer, His blessing upon us, etc.

 

Finally, my favorite passage in Habakkuk are the closing verses:

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
and there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the LORD,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord GOD is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ [type of mountain deer] feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.
3:17-19

All Scripture references taken from NASB.

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

Big News+Sneak Peek into Checkmate!

Big News+Sneak Peek into Checkmate!

On June 22, 2019, I officially graduated high school.

I’ve been homeschooled since kindergarten, so this is a big change for me.

Allison Grace Graduates

You might be wondering, “What’s next? Are you going to college? Getting a job?”

Well, my plan is to get a part-time job and focus on more writing. I’m really hoping there will be an opening at my local library when I start applying places.

Don’t worry, my blog isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I’m working on honing the vision and purpose of this blog. (Something I learned about at the 2019 YDubs Conference.) I’ll be posting more about this in a few weeks.

 

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The Sneak Peak Into Checkmate!

For those of you who don’t know, Checkmate is my YA fantasy novel that I’ve been working on for just over two years. You can read more about it here.

Last Thursday, I finished the third draft!

*cue confetti*

Before upcoming edits, the word count stands at 83,421. That’s 249 Word doc pages (8″x11″).

I’m pretty happy with how this draft came out. It’s a million times better than the previous one. My family still teases me about the ending of Draft 2.

To celebrate, I tried very hard to find some non-spoiler snippets to share with you. Enjoy!

 


He stared at the bodies for a minute, moisture welling in his eyes and a lump creeping up his throat. He swallowed hard as he knelt beside his mother.

He ran a hand gently over her flaxen hair as he had done many a time as a child, brushing it away from her face. A tear slipped unchecked down his cheek. She always had a smile for him, no matter what. Her blue eyes would twinkle and her lips quirk in the most delightful way that made everything seem okay. But now her eyes were closed and her pale lips slightly parted, as if she were sleeping.

He squeezed his eyes shut for a second, pressing his fingers to the bridge of his nose again. Then he reached for her right hand and carefully removed the white opal ring she always wore. Apa had given it to her one year on their anniversary. She never took it off except on wash days. Then she wore it on a chain around her neck until the clothes were on the lines and the dirty water dumped.

He held it tightly in his hand, the gold fittings that held the stone digging into his palm.

***

“You hungry? I haven’t eaten dinner yet.”

Aris smiled. Leave it to Trev to think of food.

***

“We have gathered here to celebrate another year of peace. But, alas, Avendor is not at rest. Rebels attack and burn our villages. They kill innocent children.”

The crowd murmured. Kare grabbed the hilt of his sword. Liar.

“I have reason to believe that rebels are here, right now.”

Everyone gasped, then stared at each other, as if their neighbor’s mask hid a killer.

“Rest assured,” Dargrin said, raising his voice and motioning for silence with a hand, “there will be no incidents tonight. My men are prepared for any attack the rebels might have planned.” His gaze swept over the crowd and lingered on Kare for a second.

***

One word echoed above them all.

Run.

***

Brenson reached for his cloak, but it wasn’t there. Strange.

Then he noticed what the horse was eating.

“Give that back!” He snatched his black cloak away and eyed the gaping hole. “I have a mind to leave you alone over here.” He waved the fabric in front of the horse’s nose.

The stallion tried to eat it again.

***

So, why did you come? 

Because they needed hope. 

It hurt to admit it, even silently to himself. He was living a lie, pretending to be someone he was not. He was no king. He never would be.


Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale learns piano
Inspired by the music at the YDubs Conference, Glendale has decided to take up piano.

 

Glendale playing piano
Though I’ve never seen it done this way before.

 

The YDubs Conference 2019

The YDubs Conference 2019

(Featured image and this photo credit: Amie)

I still can’t believe that I actually got to go to the debut YDubs conference in North Carolina last week. It was a dream come true. (If you don’t know what YDubs is, go here to check it out!

If I had to describe it in one word I’d say: SPLENDIFEROUS!

Everything about it was so inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting. For the first two days there was nothing but laughter and smiles (and lots of hugs). The last day included more laughing, smiling, and hugging, but also some tears.

But enough words, let’s have some pictures!

Simon in my backpack
While I was packing, Simon decided my backpack would be a good place to nap.

Day One: June 11

It took us 8.5 hours to drive down. Thankfully I had plenty of books to read and my laptop so I could write a bit. My brother and I watched “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

Allison Grace
My face is glowing with excitement as we near the JAARS campus.

As soon as I walked in, I was attacked hugged by one of my best YDubber friends, Chloe!

Allison and Chloe
(I’m on the right. Photo credit: Chloe)

 

 

Then I got to talk to Josiah DeGraaf, one of YDubs writing instructors and editor of Story Embers! I was really nervous, but managed to not make a fool of myself.

Josiah DeGraaf and Allison Grace
(Thanks, Julia, for taking the photo!)

 

After playing an ice-breaker game, we all settled down for the conference.

Tessa Emily Hall
This is Tessa Emily Hall, author and agent.

 

Kara Swanson and Allison Grace
Between sessions, I got the chance to talk to Kara Swanson, YA author and YDubs instructor! She signed my copy of “The Girl Who Could See”!

 

Josiah DeGraaf
A blurry picture of Josiah talking passionately about creating emotions with your words.

 

Pizza!
We had Little Caesar’s pizza for dinner! I took all my notes with that pen and notebook.

 

Amie, Chloe, and Allison
Two of my dinner buddies! Amie and Chloe!
Cupcake
For dessert, I had this adorable typewriter cupcake! The frosting was even YDubs blue!

 

Pyramid

After dinner, I stayed inside and tried to write. (I wound up watching two YDubbers both named Sam trying to get another YDubber’s little sister to play with them. XD) Meanwhile, the rest of the group was building a writer pyramid. (Photo credit: Leah)

 

Group
From left to right: Me, Saige, Robin, Savannah, and Olivia.

 

Day Two: June 12

Wednesday was the only full day of the conference, and boy, was it a blast.

 

Kara Swanson
Isn’t Kara’s laptop sticker cute?

 

Tessa Emily Hall and Kara Swanson
Real life author and agent duo, Kara Swanson and Tessa Emily Hall!

During the lunch break, Julia (violin), Maddie (flute), Parker (piano), and Sam (viola) had an impromptu concert. They played “In Christ Alone.” It was amazing!

YDubs Concert

 

Savannah, Chloe, and Allison
My lovely lunch buddies! Savannah and Chloe! (Amie ate with us too, but she playing violin with Julia at this point.)

Before we ate, Savannah and I explored the JAARS campus gift shop and I bought some handmade earrings from Uganda, a couple gourd animals from Mexico, and a couple postcards. I went back later and got a purse I had my eye on. 😀

 

Q and A
Q. and A. session with Marita Wilson, Tessa Emily Hall, Josiah DeGraaf, and Kara Swanson.

 

During the dinner break, we had another concert and this time I got to play!

It started with Parker playing hymns on the piano. Ever so slowly, everyone in the auditorium gathered around, taking pictures and videos. He’s a phenomenal pianist.

When Sam and Julia got back from dinner, they got out their instruments and started to play. I asked Maddie if I could borrow her flute and she let me!

The four of us played “It Is Well” in the key of D by ear. I think we did pretty good for never having practiced together, plus no music!

The “concert” might be my favorite part of the conference. Music has a way of drawing people together.

Concert
Sam was pretending his bow was a sword and attacking Julia.

 

Alexis and Allison
This is me and my new friend Alexis while we listened to the concert before I joined in.

 

Allison Grace at YDubs Conference
Me! (Photo credit: Alexis)

 

It was raining, so we couldn’t take our group picture outside.

Group Photo
I believe it was Addison who brought the photo mats for all of us to sign (a fantabulous idea). I’m in the very front row in the middle with the blue shirt that says “YWW.” And yes, if you count there are only 6 guys in the huge mass of girls.

 

Day Three: June 13

While this day was as fun as the others, it was also very sad. I think we all would have gladly stayed another few days (or months) and kept writing, playing music, and laughing together.

Marita Wilson
Me with Marita Wilson (a.k.a. an incredible person), another YDubs writing instructor. (Thanks, Addison, for taking the photo!)

 

Tessa Emily Hall and Allison Grace
Me and Tessa Emily Hall. She signed my copy of “Coffee Shop Devos”!

 

Costume Day
Thursday was also costume day. I didn’t dress up, though. (It also stopped raining so we did get a group picture outside! I don’t know how it came out yet.)

 

Cami, Maddie, and Chloe
Cami, Maddie, and Chloe in their costumes! (Photo credit: Maddie)

 

Allison Grace
A wacky selfie I took while no one was paying attention.

 

YDubs Conference
I took this photo just before the last session. I almost cried through the whole thing.

 

 

The conference has been the highlight of my year so far and I really hope if there’s one next year that I can go again. It was so much fun and I made many wonderful memories. (And next time, I’ll bring my flute. XD)

 

Where’s Glendale?

So, I brought Glendale with me and he sat in my backpack during the entire conference. Did I remember to get him out and take a picture with him?

No. Of course not.

So here is Glendale, in the line for an Arby’s in West Virginia on the way home. (They gave us 22 ketchup packets for four sandwiches.)

Glendale in West Virginia

Arby's Ketchup

A Silence in the Shadows Book Release! Reviews and Author Interview!

A Silence in the Shadows Book Release! Reviews and Author Interview!

On Monday, Caleb E. King’s debut novel, A Silence in the Shadows, released!

Since I’m on Caleb’s street team, I go to read an ARC (advanced reader copy) before it was published. My younger brother also read it and wrote a review of his own.

Now I have several things to share in this post, so let’s start with the interview! As usual, my questions are in bold and Caleb’s responses are in regular text.

Caleb E. King
Caleb E. King

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m a homeschooled teen and a grateful child of God. I started writing when I was eight and haven’t stopped since. Besides writing I love reading, drawing, and hanging out with my friends.

You’ve been writing much longer than I have! When did you start writing A Silence in the Shadows?

July 23rd, 2016

Wow! It’s impressive you remember the exact date! What inspired it?

Well, I remember wanting to make a story with the main characters cool ninja-like people, and have them infiltrating castles and fighting their enemies. That’s basically what it sparked from, and then the story just unfolded from there!

Do you have a favorite memory from writing A Silence in the Shadows?

Hmm, I actually don’t remember a lot of the writing process of it…some of the dialogue was really fun to write though.

Dialogue is always fun to write! Which authors have inspired you the most?

J. R. R. Tolkien, Chuck Black, and Andrew Peterson!

I’ve read at least one thing by all of those authors! Do you like to listen to music while you write?

I used too, but not so much anymore. I haven’t tried it in a while though…I may try it again.

What is your favorite Bible passage (or verse)?

I don’t think I really have a certain favorite, but I like Psalms 100 and 111 a lot!

I know! It’s so hard to choose! Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

Yep! I enjoy reading, drawing, making my own comic books, and creating 2-D animations! I also make films with my friends!

That’s awesome! What’s next on your writing journey?

TAKE A BREAK. Then I think I’m going to re-write a couple short stories I wrote a while ago. After that, it’ll be on to the next book!

Enjoy your break, Caleb! Thank you for letting me interview you!

 

Want to know more about Caleb? Follow him on his blog! www.calebeking.wordpress.com

Order A Silence in the Shadows here!

(Keep scrolling for book reviews!)

A Silence In The Shadows

 

Book Review Time!

 

My Thoughts

When the Willii brothers, Jered and Faal, discover a close friend is actually a wizard in disguise, they are thrown into a conflict bigger than they ever imagined. Sure, they knew the tax collectors were evil, but they didn’t know they oppressed more than just the Willii’s village.

They also didn’t know their friend’s ex-apprentice is the man behind it all.

And they are the only two people who can stop him.

After the tax collectors burn the brother’s village, the two boys join the Silents—masters of stealth and hand-to-hand combat—in order to find a way to defeat the tyrannical reign of the rouge wizard.

***

Overall, I thought this was a good story. I haven’t read middle-grade in a while, so please note my comments come from the perspective of a YA author and reader. 😊

I enjoyed the relationship between the two brothers, Jered and Faal. It felt realistic—they neither hated each other nor got along all the time. I can’t decide which brother I like better—serious Jered or mischievous Faal.

My favorite character was actually Belak. He seemed to have an interesting backstory and I would have liked to learn a bit more about him.

I really liked all the fantasy creatures Caleb created. I could picture them really well.

If I could be in this book, I’d be a Silent. They’re basically like ninjas and ninjas are cool. And magical ninjas are even cooler. 🐱‍👤

The ending was really good. I didn’t expect it, but it was awesome!

A few things I didn’t like:

  • There were too many fight scenes. Every few pages it seemed like the characters were fighting the tax collectors.
  • The point-of-view character shifted a bunch. It made it hard to follow, particularly during action scenes.
  • The side characters were a bit hard to tell apart and flat.

 

Content

There was a lot of fighting, but I don’t think there was anything graphic. A few mentions of blood. Lots of bad guys die. (Someone explodes at the end.)

Since Jered and Faal have wizard powers, there is magic. They don’t use it very much and it’s more like “using the Force” than spell and potion magic. It’s not anywhere close to witchcraft. The main villain did cast a spell on his minions, but that’s all.

There was no romance whatsoever, which was nice, so the reader can focus more on the brothers’ relationship.

It was completely free of language!

 

Book Review Two!

This review was written by my brother!

In “A Silence In the Shadows” by Caleb E. King, Jered and Faal Willii are plunged into a desperate battle against the evil rejected wizard apprentice, Ath, after their old friend Flogii tells them that they have the potential to become wizards.

They will meet and receive powers from an old hermit wizard in the mountains, and will discover who the so-called “tax collectors” really are.  When the odds become too great for the two boys, they are rescued by a masked warrior…  and plunged into the world of the resistance fighters, the Silents.

They train hard and become fast friends with members of the Silents such as Crater, Belak, and Angela.  They race in a desperate rush to stop Ath from being able to control everyone with the Melker stone.  It comes down to a final battle between the boys and Ath to determine whether the world is broken or saved.  But you have to read the book to find out who wins!

Personally, my favorite person was Jered.  I thought the relationship between the two boys was interesting, and Flogii being a wizard was very surprising.   My favorite parts were the battles , and that the Silents were basically ninjas (of course, being a boy, I’m more prone to like things like that than others).  Something I really appreciated was that there wasn’t any romance (barf!).  Overall I’d give this a 5-star rating.

 

Want to buy A Silence in the Shadows? Click here! 

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Here are the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog. (Thank you for tagging me, Fe! https://theunshaken.blog/)
  2. Answer the questions provided by the blogger who nominated you (11 maximum).
  3. Nominate new bloggers and make up 11 questions for them to answer.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger logo in your post.

 

Fe’s questions are in bold and my answers are in regular text.

 

  1. What’s your favorite book of all time? (Yes, I just went there.)

This is actually an easy question for me. Of course, now that I said that, a million different books flew into my mind declaring they are my favorites.

But my most favorite book is either Resistance or Samara’s Peril both books from Jaye L. Knight’s The Ilyon Chronicles.

 

  1. Do you play sports? If so, which one?

I don’t play any sports, but I love watching baseball.

 

  1. What’s your favorite type of music?

I like soundtracks, almost anything by The Piano Guys, and Casting Crowns. It depends on the day, and what I’m trying to do when I’m listening to it.

 

  1. What is your favorite Bible Verse?

My favorite passage is Romans 8:38-39.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

  1. Do you have any siblings?

Yup! I have one younger brother.

 

  1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

The ability to work really fast. I tend to commit to too many things, so being able to fly through my projects, while still doing a good job, would be super helpful. 😉

 

  1. What is your favorite joke? (I hope you have one. I love jokes. Especially corny ones with puns.)

It’s more of a riddle, but here you go:

Paul’s parents have four children: Matthew, Mark, and Luke. What is the name of the fourth child?

 

  1. What’s your favorite quote?

I don’t have one, I’m afraid.

 

  1. Do you have any advice for all of us Christian teens?

Yes! I just read something in one of Chapel Library’s “Free Grace Broadcasters” (Thoughts for Young People, Issue 212, page 21) that hit me. “There is not one duty of true godliness binding upon you in future years that does not rest with all its authority upon you [now]. Is youth the season for sinful pleasure then? Is this best and most influential portion of your existence to be deliberately given up to vice? That is a dreadful idea, repugnant alike to reason and revelation.” ~John Angell James

 

  1. If you could go back in time, what would you change?

This is hard. Because there are so many things I’d like to change, but if I changed them, I wouldn’t be who I am today. So I guess I wouldn’t change anything.

 

  1. And now for the MOST PROFOUND QUESTION IN THE BOOK OF SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT QUESTIONS… Drum roll please… what is your favorite color? XD

Blue. Particularly very dark navy blue. =D

 

 

My 11 questions for you!

  1. Christmas candy or Easter candy?
  2. Do you like to read non-fiction or fiction better?
  3. Have you ever seen the ocean? If so, which one(s)?
  4. Ice cream in a bowl or on a cone?
  5. What’s your favorite movie?
  6. Can you whistle?
  7. At an amusement park, are you the cautious type or the reckless type?
  8. Do you like butterflies?
  9. What is your favorite book of the Bible?
  10. Flip-flops, yea or nay?
  11. What is the first thing you remember yourself as a kid wanting “to do when I grow up”?

 

I don’t know very many bloggers, and I just did a blog tag not that long ago, so if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged. 😀

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale the troll
Meet Glendale the troll. I hope you don’t have nightmares. ;D

 

 

 

 

English Sonnets and Baseball Games

English Sonnets and Baseball Games

My last semester of high school, I studied Shakespeare’s tragedies (Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Macbeth, King Lear) and various sonnets. One of my assignments was to write my own English sonnet.

I was inspired by the Irish tune “The Foggy Dew.” It’s beautifully haunting and one of my favorite pieces to play on my flute.

 

 

Midsummer’s day looked over war,
And now the soft shadow of night doth fall
Where long grass once rolled with heath of the moor.
Now death’s gentle cry rings out a chill call.
The haunting pipes long since ceased weeping,
Éire’s bold colors no longer sway proud.
And yet the fog comes quietly creeping
As if its dew could become the dead’s shroud.
Some hardly men from mother’s hearts torn,
Young they were, yet this world undeserving,
For many more dark nights their lovers mourn,
For true courage is always unswerving.
The dead have left this trembling jar of clay,
To live, to fight, to face another day.


Next week, I’ll be at a writing conference! When I return, I’ll share some photos and things I learned while there.

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Where’s Glendale?

 

Glendale at Progressive Field
Glendale got to attend his first baseball game at Progressive Field (home to the Cleveland Indians) on Wednesday! While we couldn’t stay for the entire game, we watched most of it. The Indians wound up winning! (Hooray!)

 

Popcorn
As we left during the rain delay, we passed this statue. There’s a spider web over the guy’s face. Someone apparently thought it would be a good idea to stick a piece of popcorn in it! I don’t think the spider is too happy about it. XD

 

 

 

The Ultimate Writing Conference Guide: You’re Finally Here–What To Do At The Conference

The Ultimate Writing Conference Guide: You’re Finally Here–What To Do At The Conference

You walk in the door of the conference and are instantly surrounded by the buzz of conversation and clusters of strangers with name tags.

Oh boy. What was I thinking? I can’t do this thing. Maybe I should go back to the car.

But you paid for it, so you decide to stick it out for the afternoon. Maybe you won’t come back tomorrow.

 

Most writers are introverts. (I am!) Conferences are scary. There are a bunch of strangers and most of them seem to know each other, leaving you by yourself.

Going to a writer’s conference gives you the chance to rebel against the stereotype. You get to leave the introvert at home. You finally get to see what it’s like to be your super extroverted character.

In reality, pretending to be extroverted is hard. Exhausting even.

Trust me, you aren’t the only introverted writer wishing the ground would swallow them up. Someone else is lonely and afraid. Your closest writing friend just might be the girl sitting by herself at lunch. You’ll never know if you don’t talk to her.

That brings us to the first point.

 

Don’t skip the meals

It’s tempting, I know, to just eat a cold sandwich in your hotel room instead of coming to the cafeteria for warm bacon and eggs. The food isn’t as good in your room, but there aren’t other people around.

But meals are a wonderful time for you to network. It’s not as intimidating as it might sound. Networking is just meeting other writers and building relationships. And it’s not just meeting other writers, it’s anyone you meet—your family, friends, co-workers, etc. If people know who you are and what you do, they might be able to pass on an opportunity to you. Then you do the same for them. Relationships aren’t just one-sided.

Besides, you might get to eat dinner with a faculty member! Just don’t shove your way to the table where the author is sitting. Don’t be pushy or obnoxious about it.

 

So, I’ve (hopefully) convinced you to join the dinner crowd. Now what?

Ask the Golden question, “What are you writing?”

That is almost guaranteed to get people talking. Everyone here at the conference is a writer. And often you even write the same genre (sci-fi, fantasy, historical, etc.) or category (non-fiction, Christian fiction, secular fiction, etc.). You’re among kindred spirits.

This is when you’ll need to know what you are writing about.

Sometimes, people hesitate to share their ideas, thinking someone is going to steal it. While you certainly don’t want to share every little detail of your work-in-progress, you don’t want to sit there in silence.

Sure, people might steal your idea. But most writers have tons of other ideas that they came up with that they would rather focus on. And if you just share the basic premise or themes, even if they take your idea, the stolen story won’t be the same as your original idea. Besides, they’d have to pour hours into fleshing out your idea and writing it.

 

Don’t forget to exchange contact info!

If you meet someone really interesting over lunch or maybe in line for the bathroom, exchange emails. Be sure to write your name on a slip of paper along with your contact information, particularly if your email is something like ilovecookies@myemail.com. Or if you brought business cards, use those!

It might be a good idea for you to take note where you met the person and if you were supposed to email them something, like your first chapter or links to your blog and social media.

You might find long-lasting writing friendships this way!

(Tip: Contact everyone you exchanged info with as soon as you get home. They’ll have a better chance of remembering you that way. This is a good place to say, “Hey, we sat next to each other during DiAnn Mills’ keynote and talked about YA fantasy.” Just remind them who you are, and include anything you were supposed to. This shows you are responsible and eager to interact with them. Don’t be upset if you don’t get a response. It’s happened to me.)

 

Above all, remember to be kind.

Sit with the lonely people. Talk with the people no one else is.

Show yourself to be a different kind of person.

People remember kind words and actions more than you realize.

 

A final word before I wrap up this series. I’m not saying you have to be friends with everyone at the conference, exchange emails with everyone at your lunch table, or that you have to attend every activity.

What I am saying is that you need to break out of your comfort zone. Set little goals for yourself before you go. For my first conference, I set the goal of “talk to at least two or three people.” You could decide to try and ask a question in at least two sessions.

Having little goals like that can help you to get the most out of your conference experience.

 

Writing conferences are exciting steps in your journey as a writer. Going to one shows you are committed to your craft and that you are eager to learn and make connections.

They are nerve-wracking, and sometimes occasionally horrible experiences. But don’t give up on them. Every time you will learn something new.

Just remember to have fun. Go with the flow and don’t get upset if you make a mistake or miss a session.

Good luck!

 

 

Did you miss the previous posts in this series? Find them here!

How To Pick A Conference

How To Prepare–What To Do Before You Go

What To Pack–The Essential Tools

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale with "The Way of Kings"
Glendale with my latest achievement–The Way of Kings. It’s 1258 pages long! And yes, I did accidentally crack the spine. ;D
The Ultimate Guide To Writing Conferences: What To Pack–The Essential Tools You’ll Need at a Writing Conference

The Ultimate Guide To Writing Conferences: What To Pack–The Essential Tools You’ll Need at a Writing Conference

It’s time! The conference is almost upon you and it’s time to start packing. But you freeze, unsure of what to take. You certainly don’t want to forget anything.

Here are some of the essentials:

 

Backpack or other sturdy bag

You’ll want a nice big bag to carry your papers and books around in at the conference. Take something that zips so you don’t dump your stuff all over the floor.

 

Comfortable shoes

Wear some shoes you don’t mind running in. (i.e. not high heels) You’ll often be cutting it close to get to sessions (particularly if they are in different buildings) and you don’t want to be tripping over yourself.

 

Nice clothes

It’s a good idea to dress up a bit for a conference, but it depends on the event. Some are definitely dressier and with others, like Realm Makers, you can get away with being a bit more casual. Generally, you don’t want to wear T-shirts, sweatshirts, leggings, or ratty jeans. The best thing to do is see if there are any pictures on the site of previous conferences. You’ll want to imitate what others are wearing.

If you still aren’t sure, a nice top with jeans is a good middle ground. For girls, a skirt is also a good choice.

You’ll be around authors, agents, editors, and other writers. You want to leave a good impression.

Dress in layers and take a jacket. You never know if the air conditioning will be broken or turned up way too high. Or it might be raining as you run from one building to another. Be prepared for anything.

 

Camera

You’ll want to capture your experiences at the conference. The camera on your phone is a good choice.

 

Paper and Pencils/Pens

I know some people like to take notes on their laptops or tablets, but it’s a good idea to take some paper just in case your battery dies. Or your tech breaks down. (Totally never happens.)

 

Business Cards

If you have business cards, you’ll want to take them. You can exchange them with fellow writers or even with an author!

 

Folder and/or envelope

This will keep all the handouts, flyers, and business cards organized instead of in a scattered pile at the bottom of your bag. (Tip: pick up all the free things. You can sort them when you get home. You’ll never know what you might pick up!)

 

Books you want autographed

If an author you love is going to be there, by all means take their book! They’d be happy to sign it. (Don’t forget to ask if you can get a picture with them!)

 

Money to buy more books

Conferences have tables of books written by the faculty and sometimes by other attendees. Take cash (they might only accept cash or their credit card machine might break) so you don’t spend your entire checking account. Create a budget and stick to it!

 

Take a sample of your writing

It’s a great idea to take the first chapter of your work-in-progress with you. If you don’t have a first chapter, take an article you wrote, a blog post, or even an outline! Then if you’re talking to someone and they say, “Hey, that’s an awesome idea. I’d love to read it someday,” you can reply, “I actually have the first chapter with me. Want to read it?”

Be sure you take at least two hard copies with you. That way if someone forgets to give it back or they write on it, you have another copy.

 

I know that’s a lot to remember, so here is a free, downloadable packing list!

Click the link to download! Writing Conference Packing List

 

Allison Grace blogs at allisongracewrites.com

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale with Simon
Simon wasn’t very thrilled to be drafted into posing with Glendale. Particularly as it interrupted his nap.

 

Reese
Reese was jealous of Simon getting all the attention. So I had to take a picture of her too.
The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: How To Prepare–What To Do Before You Go

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: How To Prepare–What To Do Before You Go

Welcome back! Today we’re talking about preparing for a writing conference. If you missed last week’s post, you can find it here: How to pick a conference

After you have picked the conference you wish to attend and registered, there are a few things you should do before you arrive.

 

Conference Schedule

Print off the conference schedule, which should be easily found on their website and/or social media.

Then, take a highlighter and pick what sessions you want to attend. If you can’t make up your mind yet, don’t worry! Sometimes sessions are moved or canceled, making the choice easier for you.

Looking over the schedule beforehand helps you to be better prepared when you actually arrive. It prevents you from rushing your choices while standing in the lobby, five minutes before the first speaker starts.

Be sure to take your highlighted schedule to the conference. They’ll give you the most recent one when you come in, but this way you can quickly mark your new one with all the sessions you wanted to attend. Always follow the schedule they give you at the door. You don’t want to get caught off guard with canceled or moved sessions.

This is also a good time to schedule your author/agent/editor appointment. Not all conferences have these, but most bigger ones will. You’ll want to grab your spot as soon as possible. Be sure to read the short bios about who you could meet. You certainly don’t want to show up to talk about your YA fantasy to a guy who said he only wanted to talk about devotionals for children. (Tip: a week or two before the conference, check out the sign-up sheet again. You might be able to get a bonus appointment.)

 

Research the Speakers

This is pretty fun to do. On the website, there should be a list of all the professionals attending. They are sometimes called the “faculty.”

You’ll probably want to print this off too.

Study the brief bios and link the headshots with names, so you can recognize the faculty. This will help you feel a bit less nervous. If you know what an agent looks like, you won’t sit down at your appointment and wonder who the strange man sitting across from you is.

Take extra time researching the person you have a one-on-one appointment with. Go to their website. If they’ve written books, read one, or at least study their summaries. Follow them on social media if you can.

Learn as much about them as you can and always remember, they aren’t superheroes. They are human too. If you get a chance to casually talk to them (over a meal, standing in line, before a session) try asking them about their dog or something unrelated to writing. Show a genuine interest in them.

 

Prepare Your Questions

If you have a one-on-one appointment, write out the questions you want to ask before you go. Make a crazy list of every question you can think of, serious or ridiculous. Then, organize them by importance, deleting the really dumb ones (like “Do you like Star Wars?” I wrote that one down once while brainstorming questions.).

Take your list to your appointment. Don’t be upset if you don’t get through all of them or if you get off track. That’s why you put the most important questions at the beginning. If you have follow-up questions, ask them! If you don’t understand something, ask them to clarify. And don’t forget to take notes—write down writing tools they recommend, websites, publications, books, etc.

 

Know What You Are Writing About

When someone asks you what you’re writing about, it’s super easy to freeze, then mumble, “uh, it’s about an elf and a bunch of humans in the woods.” Be prepared, don’t worry about memorizing anything, just be sure to have a good grasp on the gist of your story. For example, with my WIP, I could say, “It’s a YA fantasy about a group of humans and elves trying to put the true king back on the throne after he was ousted from the throne by his younger brother.”

 

I hope these four tips help you to be better prepared when you attend your writing conference! The most important thing to remember is to be confident, no matter how much you prepared. Just because you know a bunch of facts about the faculty doesn’t mean that the conference will go smoothly for you. But being prepared lowers the chances of a bad experience.

 

 

Where’s Glendale?

Glendale listens to music
Glendale would like to inform you of the best way to listen to epic soundtracks. He says you can feel the sound in your entire body, even your feet! I wonder why… ;D