Author: Allison Grace

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


The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: Where to Go–How to Pick a Conference

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Conferences: Where to Go–How to Pick a Conference

Summer is writing conference season. I hope this four part series will help you to be able to easily navigate the overwhelming mess conferences can be.

The first thing you need to do is pick the conference you wish to attend. And there are thousands of conferences around the country. There are Christian conferences, secular, fantasy, romance, basically anything you can think of, there’s probably a conference for it.

I told you. It’s overwhelming.

Here are a handful of ideas to help you narrow down your choices.


Consider the Geography

Conferences are all over the place. And if you’re like me, you can’t easily get across the country. It’s too expensive for one thing, and you might not be allowed to travel on your own.

When you search for conferences, search by area. A good way to start is your state (if you live in the USA). It’s really easy, just type “writing conferences in Michigan” into your favorite search engine.


Consider Your Writing “Level”

When picking a conference to attend, you should keep in mind if you are ready for that level of a conference.

You don’t want to go to the most prestigious conference possible if you are just starting out, even if you have the opportunity.

It might be a good idea for you to start off with a smaller conference. My first conference was a one day event in my state. It was tiny, but it gave me more confidence when I went to my first “big” one.


Consider Who Will Go With You

Some conferences require minors to be accompanied by an adult at all times. Or maybe your parents don’t want to you traveling by yourself. Perhaps you have a physical disability that prevents you from traveling solo.

It’s really fun to go to a conference with another person, even if they aren’t a writer. I’ve gone with my mom. Maybe you could convince your parents, a sibling, grandparent, or family friend to go with you.

Taking someone you know prevents you from “sitting by yourself” syndrome. It also means you can possibly split up and go to different sessions and then exchange notes.


Consider a Christian Conference

My writing mentor told me to be sure to attend Christian writing conferences. She told me she had a bad experience at a secular conference—people talking about inappropriate things.

Christian conferences certainly aren’t perfect. You have different issues to worry about, such as wacky theology, but you (most likely) won’t run into inappropriate discussions.


I hope those tips help you narrow down your choices! Tune in next week for some tips to help you prepare for your conference!


Where’s Glendale?

Glendale the Grad
I graduated yesterday! Though the cake topper is a bit to big for Glendale, he enjoyed posing with it.

Glendale the Grad

Glendale the Grad

Pananaw Blog Launch Tour!

Pananaw Blog Launch Tour!

Some of you may know Jo from her old blog, The Lens & The Hard Drive. I found her blog through several other blogs. And she is also part of The Young Writer’s Workshop!

Now, she is launching a new blog, entitled, well, I’ll just show you the graphics.

And this is Jo, the author of Pananaw!

I had the opportunity to interview Jo. (I like interviewing people, okay?) I was warned it probably wouldn’t be interesting, but we both had fun!

My questions are in bold and her answers are in italics.


To start things off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m Jo, and I’m a Christian Filipina writer, photographer, musician, athlete, amateur acting enthusiast, bookdragon, (I refuse to be labelled by a mere worm *sniffs*) and overall crazy.

I’m a lot of things. 😝

Bookdragons for the win!


How did you come up with the name Pananaw?

Well, in the beginning I always wanted to change my blog name, and at first settled on the name Viewfinder (after that important part of a camera!). But since that name was already taken, I had to rack my brain for something nobody else would think about. Since I’m Filipino, the word pananaw, which means “the way one sees things” and practically means the same thing as “viewfinder” came to mind. And stuck.

That’s very cool! 


Now we’re all wondering, what will you be writing about on Pananaw?

I will be writing about… exactly what I was writing about on my old blog. Everything and anything my mind comes up with. That part will probably never change. XD I might start focusing more on my culture- maybe more about weighty topics, but for the most part, the same randomness that I’ve heard some people know and love won’t change.

I’m looking forward to it!


What is your favorite part of blogging?

COMMENTS. I love, love, love writing, reading and answering comments! It’s lots of fun to talk to other bloggers and see what they think, share what I think, and use a lot of “XD” ‘s. Honestly, comments probably are more meaningful than likes, and that’s more than one reason they’re my favorite part.

Same here! Though I haven’t been able to figure out how to get the like button on my site. XD


Can you tell us about your current writing project?

Most certainly! The A’s & B’s of Normal (working title) is a story about Ricky, a young girl with ADD who would just like to be normal- but with her dad being a college professor, her mom a researcher and teacher, her brothers autistic, and none of them ever stepping foot into public school, that’s impossible- more so when she finds herself going to college. It’s one of my favorites, writing Ricky’s mind and getting to do a ton of researching about autism and ADD. 😃 And it’s driving me crazy.

Sounds cool! I like doing research. (totally hasn’t spent a whole morning researching what to do if a bear or wolf attacked you)


What’s your favorite Bible passage?  

I love this question! Most people just ask about verses- which is torture to answer. XD I really love Romans 8- it has helped me go through a lot of tough times and, probably of all the passages I know, has really helped me grow in my faith, and I just love it.

I love Romans 8 too! 


If you could bring any fictional character (your’s or someone else’s, it doesn’t matter) to life for a day, who would it be and why?

For a day? Any character? NO HELP THAT’S HARD WAH- I can’t decide on any of mine, so I would definitely bring   back … um.. Maraly Weaver from The Wingfeather Saga. Because she is really something else.

I haven’t read all of The Wingfeather Saga. *hides under a rock* But I have read the first one! 


What are your top three favorite:


*cries* TORTURE!

  1. Wolf Hollow
  2. Beautiful Blue World
  3. And….. Out Of The Silent Planet



Clearly, I’m dying by having to pick. XD

  1. Avengers Endgame (which, I haven’t seen yet, but at the time of this release I most definitely will have and honestly, it’s already a favorite 😝 )
  2. The Case for Christ (why haven’t more people seen this?? It’s WONDERFUL!)
  3. The Lord Of The Rings (needs no further explanation for its amazingness.)




  1. Bacon crumbles!!
  2. And gummy bears!
  3. And last and most importantly, ice cream. 🙂


Thank you so much for interviewing me, Allison! It was fun (and torturous XD) answering these questions!

My pleasure!


Don’t Miss a Post on the Blog Tour!

May 5:

Character Interview with Ava @

Combo with Jemima Puddleduck @

Interview with Rose @


May 6:

Combo with Grace @

ZCN News Interview + Spotlight with Emmie @

Interview + Blog Spotlight with Isabel @


May 7:

Interview (aka squealing) with Tess @

Charrie Interview + Spotlight with Merie Shen @


May 8:

Interview with Allison Grace @ (you are here)

Blog Spotlight with Meredith @

Combo with Christina @


May 9:

Character Interview with Chloë Mali @

Blog Spotlight with Maya J.T @

Combo with Amie @

Character Interview + Blog Spotlight! Penny Wood @

Blog Spotlight with Bayance @

Blog Spotlight with Starling @

Character Interview + Blog Spotlight with Liz @


Book-Lover Blog Tag!

Book-Lover Blog Tag!

Guys! I’m doing a blog tag!

The Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.

Thank you for the tag, Bella! You’re such a sweet friend!

  1. Include the Book-Lover Blog Tag graphic and rules in your post.
  2. Answer the questions.
  3. Nominate at least 5 new bloggers to do the tag.



  1. What is your favorite thing about reading?

My favorite thing about reading is getting to live in someone else’s world for a while. I love experiencing new things and seeing myself in the characters.


  1. Which male character is your favorite?

Hands down, Jace from The Ilyon Chronicles. He’s one of the best crafted characters out there (in my opinion) and those books hold a special place in my heart for inspiring Checkmate.


  1. Which female character is your favorite?

I’ve had a lot of favorite female characters over the years, but one of my all time favorites is Felicity Merriman, one of the American Girls.


  1. Who is your favorite villain of all time?

I don’t think I have a favorite book villain. I have a favorite TV show villain (Admiral Thrawn from Star Wars Rebels).


  1. Who is your least favorite character of all time?

Boromir from Lord of the Rings, I suppose. There are others I like less than him, but I can’t think of any right now. Unless, we’re talking about my book…


  1. Which book do you think has the strongest plot?

I’m not that much of a plot person. I’m definitely more character-driven, even while reading.

If I had to say, I’d pick Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse. The characters are amazing, as are the plot twists. And the best thing about it was the ending. It wasn’t contrived at all.


  1. What gets on your nerves the most in a story (a boring character, an unrealistic plot, etc.)?

You have asked me the question I can rant about for hours. 😛

I hate deus ex machina, Latin for “god in the machine.” This is when a character suddenly has a special ability (they are a master swordsman for example) and uses said ability to get out of a tight spot. Or someone’s long lost uncle shows up and saves the day. It’s basically cheating.

The origin of the phrase is from Greek plays, when the mortal characters were stuck, an actor portraying a god would be lowered from a pulley system to save the mortals.


Another thing that drives me nuts is a predictable plotline or romance. I once read a book all the way through where I knew who was getting married from the first page. The first page, guys!


  1. Which book has the best cover (share a picture!)?

The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

Bitter Winter by Jaye L. Knight

Song of Leira by Gillian Bronte Adams


  1. Do you let people borrow your books? If so, are you specific about how they treat them?

I don’t usually let people borrow my books. But if I do, I don’t want to get them back with broken spines or bent covers. Or food between the pages (you know those library books I’m talking about).


  1. If a movie could be made based on any book, which book would you choose?

As long as they didn’t mess it up, I’d say Resistance by Jaye L. Knight. I’d love to see my favorite characters come to life!


  1. Which author has inspired you most?

Jaye L. Knight. Without her books, I wouldn’t be writing fantasy.


  1. What single book would you be unable to live without?

The Bible. You can’t truly be alive without the Word! (John 1:1)



I Tag:

Grace and Sarah:


Caleb King:

Hope Ann:

Bella Putt (we want to hear your answers!):


Allison Grace blogs at

Your Turn!

Have you read any of the books I talked about? Who is your favorite female character? What gets on your nerves the most when you are reading? 


Where’s Glendale?

Glendale commandeers an Imperial AT-AT
Glendale and his new friends commandeered an Imperial AT-AT in honor of May the Fourth.



Hope Ann: Author Interview and Giveaway!

Hope Ann: Author Interview and Giveaway!

I have a special treat for you this week! Today I’m interviewing Hope Ann, the author of Healer’s Bane, Shadowkeeper, and the Legends of Light series.

This is part of my 50-email-subscribers-before-I-graduate campaign. You can read more about it in last week’s post.

My questions are in bold and Hope’s answers are in regular text.


Hope Ann

About Hope: Hope Ann likes to think herself a dragon-riding, griffin-taming founder of worlds and explorer of legends. Using chocolate, she bribes a wide ring of spies, from the realm leapers of Aslaria to the double agents of Elkbend, for their stories. She thrives on frost, steel, and the tears of her readers which she secretly mixes into iced coffee. Deep in her hobbit hole, her actual life involves staying up too late writing, reading, researching stab wounds, and struggling to remember the difference between ‘effect’ and ‘affect’. Based in Indiana, she is the author of the Legends of Light series. Hope Ann is also the Communications Coordinator for Story Embers and a writing mentor.
Click here to go to her site!


Hi, Hope! I’m so happy to have you here on my blog! 

Let’s jump right in with my first question, what inspired Healer’s Bane?

The main driving force behind Healer’s Bane was actually the theme–the idea that no one person can take on the pain of everyone else and fix them, and that being able to isn’t actually a good thing. This theme came from discussions with a friend who cared so much for others that she’d have taken on everything for all of them if she were physically able to. The book was basically for her.

That’s a really good theme! 


What was the hardest part of writing Healer’s Bane? (or any of your books for that matter)

It varies from book to book, but one of the hardest things for me, once the story is in place, is figuring out how much to explain and how much to simply show when it comes to backstory and worldbuilding. I have a tendency to under-explain and I don’t want readers confused. Though I also want the powers and world to unfold naturally, not just sit down and explain it all.

I struggle with the same things! Particularly under-describing my story world. I think the powers and world in Healer’s Bane unfolded very naturally. 


Now for a fun question: If you could take any of your characters and bring them to life for a day, who would you choose and why?

Probably Ethaniel. He’s from Fidelyon, a work in progress that I’m letting rest for the moment. But he is so sweet and kind and just needs some care. I’d love to spend a day with him.

He sounds like an awesome character! I hope to read that work-in-progress some day. 


If you could live in any country (real or imagined) where would it be and why?

I’d live in Lothlorian in Middle Earth. It is so beautiful and peaceful and I could just relax and write.

From my little Lord of the Rings knowledge, I think I would join you there. 


I love asking this next question. What authors have influenced you the most in your writing journey?

I feel like Tolkien did some in that he introduced me to fantasy, and I started writing it more after reading and watching Lord of the Rings. Kate Flournoy, my best friend, also influenced me and helped me quite a bit as I was figuring out aspects of prose in writing. And then there’s Brandon Sanderson–his worldbuilding, magic systems, characters, and plots are amazing and I’ve been learning as much as I can from them.

I could have guessed Tolkien. 😉 It seems like everyone but me has read Lord of the Rings. I haven’t read too much Sanderson, but what I have read is awesome. (Confession: I like Sanderson better than Tolkien.) I’ll have to check out Kate’s writing!

Thank you so much for letting me interview you, Hope! This has been so much fun!

Want to read some of Hope’s work? Sign up for her email list and get a free short story! Get it here!


Now that the interview is over, I’m going to go back to normal text.

If you remember from last week, I’m doing a giveaway of Hope Ann’s latest book, Healer’s Bane. 

There is still time to enter! If you join my email list by Friday, May 3rd at 11:59 PM, you will be entered! If you are already on my email list, don’t worry, you have automatically been entered!

Join my email list! 

Allison Grace blogs at




Romanov: Don’t Miss Out on the Pre-Order Goodies!

Romanov: Don’t Miss Out on the Pre-Order Goodies!

Nadine Brandes latest historical fantasy Romanov is releasing on May 7, 2019! That’s less than two weeks away!

I haven’t read it yet (no advanced reader copies for me 😭), but I’m super excited about it! Partially because my family has a running joke about the Romanov dynasty (my dad knows weird facts about them) and partially because Fawkes was so awesome!


Since I’m on Nadine’s Street Team, I get to help her promote Romanov! As part of that, I’m helping spread word about her pre-order campaign.

If you pre-order Romanov, you have a chance to win some pre-order goodies!

Pre-order here on Amazon! Of course, it doesn’t have to be Amazon.

Once you pre-order your copy of Romanov, fill out the form here to register for the goodies!
The pre-order goodies form again!


But why should you pre-order besides getting some prizes?

Well, pre-orders help the book’s rating to go up, telling bookstores and other retailers that “Hey, people want to read this book.” And that sells even more copies!

And prizes. Even if you don’t get the physical goodies, you’ll get the virtual ones. I’m excited about the annotated pages. What could be better than seeing what the author was thinking when they wrote a scene. (Isn’t that the question us bookworms ask all the time? “Why did she kill that character? What was she thinking?”)


And now, I will share some lovely quote graphics to get you excited!

(Note: All thoughts are my own and totally guesses based on knowledge gained from reading many books over the years.)

Romanov quote

But what if it’s royal and magical? *ponders*

Romanov quote

Hmm. My first thought is an engaged couple. Then again, maybe it’s a family.

Romanov quote

Aww! But I have a feeling this will end tragically. 😭I love this quote.

Romanov quote

This is my second favorite quote. (the first is the one above it) I’m a fan of sarcasm. Also a fan of characters making sacrifices or dying for each other.

Romanov looks so exciting! At least it’s releasing soon, so I don’t have to wait much longer.


Are you excited about Romanov? Have you ever heard of Nadine Brandes? Have you read Fawkes

Christ’s Ready Writers Blog Tour and Interview With Parker Hankins!

Christ’s Ready Writers Blog Tour and Interview With Parker Hankins!

I’m excited to be interviewing Parker Hankins of Pencils and Pianos today!

We are celebrating the launch of the Christ’s Ready Writers website and blog. Parker and I are both writers for the CRW magazine.

Without further ado, here is the interview! My questions are in bold, his responses are in normal text.

Parker Hankins
Parker Hankins


Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’m a young writer–aspiring to be a published author–with two finished novels and two soon-to-be-finished novels. I really enjoy reading books and playing the piano. My favorite authors are C. R. Hedgcock and Frank Peretti as big authors but as smaller authors, I have quite a few friends who are writing amazing books. (Like seriously, when they publish, I’m going to be so excited!) Oh, and one of those authors is Amie Woleslagle.

*Amie Woleslagle is the editor of Christ’s Ready Writers.


Who or what started you on your writing journey? When?

Well, I started writing about five years ago, which is when I was ten. I always had a love for stories and reading from the time I could make out the words. As I grew up, I read the Moody books series by Sarah Maxwell and that inspired my first book. (It reached twenty six-page chapters. And all the main characters names started with M’s too.) But then I got ahold of Summer of Suspense by C. R. Hedgcock. From there, I learned she had more books and read as many as I could. At the age of twelve, I knew I wanted to write books similar to hers so I started my first novel. That novel was the beginning of my writing “career”, starting the Bryder Family Mysteries series which is still in the works.


Wow! You’ve definitely been writing longer than I have! Now the next question is, why do you write?

The main reason I write is to be able to share a meaningful story that can change lives in powerful ways. I want lives to transform and further someone’s walk with Christ. Another huge asset to my reasoning in writing is the enjoyment of my own stories. It’s my own creation, and creating is so neat! (A God-given thing really.) And I can enjoy reading back through my writing, no matter if anyone else likes it.

I love that!


I know you play piano. Are there any skills you’ve learned from music that transfer to writing or vice versa? 

Actually, there are some skills I’ve learned from my music. When I arrange a hymn, I’m always working on ways to fit the mood of the words and music, build to a beautiful climax, but still keep my listeners interested in the unique styles incorporated. In writing, it’s so important for you to use word choice, descriptions, and actions that enhance the mood of the story. If you do this it will take the story to a much more powerful piece that pulls the reader in quite well. As I mentioned I always build to a climax in my music, the same goes for a story. I understand a climax from music, so incorporating this into my writing was easy–gradually take it to newer levels and increase the power of the story so that it ends amazingly. The use of unique styles in music could be compared to unique characters with unique quirks, personalities, and other things. It helps the story to become like no others.

I was wondering if I had asked a trick question, but that answer makes so much sense! I hadn’t really thought about it before. Some of my favorite songs have climaxes. Now I’ll have to pay more attention when I listen! 


If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you do instead?

Well, I guess you can gather that from the other questions, but I would be a musician. (Which I already am.) If I couldn’t do that, I would probably do something with computers.

It wasn’t too hard to guess music, but I’d never have thought computers.


Besides the Baker Family Adventures by C.R. Hedgcock, what other books have influenced your writing and/or life?

Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. The books were so unique, yet so amazing! I really enjoyed the elements he wrote in. (After all, thriller is one of my genres.) I loved how he dealt with difficult issues of the world through a very engaging captivating story.

I don’t think I’ve read those before. I love unique and engaging stories!


What is your favorite Bible verse/passage? What does it mean to you?

Oh, I really like answering this question because I love the verse I’m about to share. Deuteronomy 33:27a. “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:” This verse is such a help for so many things. Often times, I can get to where I wonder why all this is happening, or why I made such bad decisions, or why I had this weakness or that. But this brought me to the reminder that Christ’s arms are under us helping us along. All we really have to do is allow Him to guide us. If we let go, He can take us where ever He wants. And then out weaknesses, problems, bad decisions–none of it is a problem anymore. He holds us in the hands that never tire. They’re everlasting, always there for us.

That is beautiful! There are so many verses in Scripture that talk about God guiding our footsteps and being our refuge.


After all that talk about music, could you share one of your music videos with us? 

Sure! I would like to share “It Is Well” which I played–and won–at a talent contest in my area. This is my favorite hymn, so I enjoyed it very much. Cool fact about it: I use every key on the piano.

*applauds* That was amazing!


And finally, can you tell us what you are writing right now?

Of course. I’d love to! Currently, I’m in the works of major edits on my first mystery novel. It’s the beginning of a youth Christian series. It needs an enormous amount of work, being my first real book, but slowly everything is starting to flow. My second novel–also in the series–is about ready for beta readers. My third novel which happens to be in this series too is at standing at thirty-two chapters–which changes every other day–and will go on for another twenty possible. It’s my longest novel yet.

Now for a change. I’m also writing the first draft of a young adult realistic-sci-fi thriller novel–the start of a trilogy. This book is going well, standing at twenty-two chapters but ready to go on. Inspiration for this comes SUPER easily. Big themes of this trilogy will be depression, suicide, loneliness, friendship, and a light clean romance. I feel this holds the most promise for success out of all my books.

Ooh! The YA sci-fi sounds like something I’d read! Good luck with your writing!

Thank you for joining me on my blog today!


Want to find out more about Parker or Christ’s Ready Writers? Then these are the links you are looking for:

Parker’s Blog

Parker’s YouTube Channel

Christ’s Ready Writers blog

Healer’s Bane: Book Review and Giveaway!

Healer’s Bane: Book Review and Giveaway!

Today I’m reviewing this beautiful little book by Hope Ann.

*pauses for you to admire the cover*

Healer's Bane: Book Review


Can one girl heal the suffering of humanity?

Kynet was going to die. At least, she was supposed to. That’s what happened when one was touched by the Poisoner.

But somehow, she was still alive—with glowing fingertips and a voice in her head, no less.

Whoever had healed her gave her the power to heal. With her new gift, Kynet tries to save everyone she can, which is not an easy task with the rebellion going on. But soon she runs face to face into her own weakness.

She can’t save everyone.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.

It’s a novella, so it’s much shorter than your average novel. A fast reader probably could read it in one sitting. (I could have if I had a big chunk of time.)

I found the setting very interesting. Hope categorizes it as a “Gaslight fantasy.” I’d describe it as medieval fantasy mixed with steampunk, blasters, and hovering commuters (think Luke Skywalker’s landspeeder from Star Wars: A New Hope). It was very different from anything I had read before in that regard and it took me a little bit to get into the story world, but once I got used to the fact that people used both knives and blasters, I had a wonderful time hanging out in a new world.

The story itself was full of plot twists and one of the last ones actually made me gasp out loud. That’s pretty rare for me to react audibly to a book.

Though Healer’s Bane overall tone is serious, Hope infuses it with just the right amount of sarcasm and humor. Enough to lighten the mood, but not enough to make the rebellion and deaths seem pointless.

Unlike some of her other books, I didn’t catch any allegorical notes.


Content Warnings

The whole story is based around Kynet’s magical healing ability. I wouldn’t necessarily categorize any of the magic as “dark,” but there is a clear villain who uses his abilities to kill. It’s a bit like Narnia magic—one side obviously good, the other side obviously evil. But it’s definitely not witchcraft.

It does get rather violent. There is a lot of blood and death. Also, when Kynet heals, she takes the pain herself, so there is description of how she feels afterwards.

Healer’s Bane is free from romance. The relationships are either between siblings (biological and “adopted”) or mentor-apprentice. It was nice to read a book without a romantic subplot. (Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good romantic subplot, but they can be overused.)

It is also free from language. There are a few made up curses, but no profanity.



And Now It’s Giveaway Time!

You read that right! I’m doing a giveaway!

And you’ll never guess what book I’m giving away…

Healer's Bane Giveaway

Now that you are excited to read Healer’s Bane (at least, I hope you are), you have a chance to win an autographed copy! Plus a bonus bookmark, which is really nice. It’s shiny and double-sided!

Healer's Bane Giveaway

How to Enter

In order to enter this giveaway, you must be subscribed to my email newsletter. You can find the sign up here.

I will be drawing the winner on May 4th, so you can enter until Friday, May 3rd at 11:59 PM.

Only one entry per person.

Why am I doing this giveaway?

I’m glad you asked!

I’m graduating on May 10, 2019 and I set the goal to reach at least 50 email subscribers before that date. As I’m writing this post, I have 43 subscribers.


Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! 


Tune in next week for an exclusive interview with Hope Ann herself!


Where’s Glendale?

Glendale learns German
Glendale beschloss, Deutsch zu lernen. Translation: Glendale decided to learn German. I found that tiny German dictionary at a garage sale years ago. I bought it for my American Girl dolls and found it again when I was rearranging my room this week. It’s so tiny and cute!



Beatrix Potter: Finding Inspiration in God’s Creation

Beatrix Potter: Finding Inspiration in God’s Creation

I don’t know about you, but I tend to think that great writing inspiration comes from something amazing. Something spectacular. Something so out of the ordinary that it hits me over the head, screaming, “HI THERE, I’M YOUR INSPIRATION!”

But not all inspiration comes like that. Sure, there have been a few times that I’ve been “struck by inspiration,” but most of the time, ideas spring from ordinary things.

The famous children’s author, Beatrix Potter, got her inspiration from the natural world around her.

Growing up, she and her brother Bertram were mostly left to their own devices. They owned a wild variety of animals, not limited to: lizards, birds, bats, mice, and rabbits. They even owned a snake named Sally.

Beatrix loved to draw and paint with watercolors. Her most common subjects were her pets.

She also had a fascination with mushrooms (like me) and studied them intensely (unlike me). She painted many of them, even finding a few rare species.

At age 37, Beatrix bought a farm in the Lake District—the very northernmost part of England, just south of Scotland. She called it “Hilltop Farm.”

She loved country life, returning to her land every chance she had. She raised sheep and pigs, planted gardens, and walked the countryside.

Here, she found much of her inspiration for some of her later books. The villagers loved finding their houses (and cats) in her adorable illustrations. I imagine it became quite the competition between them.


“But,” you might be saying, “Beatrix Potter wrote children’s books. I’m writing for teens. I’m not writing about bunnies. How does this apply to me?”

Everything we write about flows from God’s creation in some way. Even fantasy creatures.

Think about it, if I asked you to describe one of your fantastical creations, you’d describe it as “dragonlike” or “a combination of a tiger and a shark.”

Aren’t dragons, tigers, and sharks all animals from God’s creation?

It is worthwhile for us as writers to study the natural world around us. Even if we aren’t outdoor people.

Sometimes, the greatest inspiration comes from a walk in the woods, or even just down your street!

Just look at Beatrix.


Fun Facts about Beatrix:

  • She began her career by painting Christmas cards. She was paid six pounds. (About $8.)
  • When she tried to publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit for the first time, she received six rejections. Back then, there weren’t as many publishing houses as there are now.
    She was determined to get her little book printed, so she “self-published,” hiring a printer to make 250 copies, most of which were bought by her aunts.
    She paid eleven pounds ($14) for them to be printed and received about thirteen pounds ($17) from selling them.
  • She hated drawing people. Once, her brother mistook Mr. McGregor’s ear to be his nose! She much preferred her furry friends.
  • In 1910, she created her very own Peter Rabbit doll. She struggled to find a company to make them, but eventually found one.
    Reminds me of Glendale. Maybe she had a section on her website called “Where’s Peter?” 😋


Allison Grace blogs at

Where’s Glendale? Flashback!

Glendale reads a book
Glendale discovered Beatrix’s books at the library a few months ago.


Special Thanks to Beatrix herself!

Allison Grace and Beatrix Potter
Thank you for letting me take notes on your presentation for this post!
That’s The Ballgame–A Poem

That’s The Ballgame–A Poem

I wrote this poem a few years ago. It’s still one of my favorites.



Bottom of the ninth,

Home team down by two.


Bases loaded,

Two outs.


The first pitch,

Graceful curve,

Low, ball one.


The next throw,

Fast and quick,

Swing and miss.


A high ball,

Slow and just outside.


In the dirt,

Then a swing,

Full count.


The crowd is on its feet,






The batter grips the bat,

Heart pounding,

Hands sweaty.


This one swing,

Just one more,

And the game could be over.


The pitcher winds up,

Deep breath,

Flying high.






The crowd is louder,

Whipped into a frenzy,






The pitch,

The batter swings.



Soaring high,

Into right field.




Past the foul posts,

Past the outfielders,

 Over the wall,

Out of the park.


Grand Slam.


And because I love baseball, have some photos.


Francisco Lindor stepping up to bat. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor stepping up to bat. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor again. Progressive Field 2017
Francisco Lindor again. Progressive Field 2017
Jose Ramirez at Spring Training. Arizona 2018.
Jose Ramirez at Spring Training. Arizona 2018.


Where’s Glendale?

Meet Rebekah, Avendor's rightful queen.
Wait! That’s not Glendale! May I present to you, Rebekah, the rightful queen of Avendor. *cue applause* I adore her gown, and I’m not a clothes person.


Allison Grace blogs at


Talk to me!

Do you like baseball as much as I do? Did you miss Glendale this week? What’s your favorite snack to eat while watching baseball (or any sport for that matter)?