Wednesday, September 26, 2018

A Place to Buy Books

Most writers think of conferences as places to learn and to network, but some are also great places to buy books. Consider the 2018 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference, which will be held on October 27 at Fair Oaks Farms just north of Rensselaer, Indiana. The conference bookstore has a large variety of books written by faculty and other attendees.

This year the bookstore will be highlighting Keynote Speaker Michael Poore’s two novels, and he will be signing them during the cocktail hour at the end of the conference. Told with his own brand of humor, Poore’s debut novel, Up Jumps the Devil, portrays Satan as a protagonist with very human emotions. His second, Reincarnation Blues, tells the story of a man who has been reincarnated 9,995 times and has just five more chances to earn a place in the cosmic soul or face oblivion. Both books are very funny reads.

So what other types of books will be for sale this year?

For younger readers (and the young at heart), the bookstore will carry everything from picture books through YA. For adults, the offerings include mysteries, science fiction/fantasy, memoir, poetry, and books for writers.

Conference registration allows you to take advantage of the conference bookstore as buyer, seller, or both. If you have not yet signed up for the conference, you can do so at And after you register, you can consign your books to the bookstore using the form found near the bottom of the same page. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, the website is also the place to find more information. But do it soon, because registration for both the conference and the bookstore closes on October 15.

Come to Steel Pen to improve your craft and for the networking, but take advantage of the bookstore as well.

We hope to see you on October 27.


The picture shows the bookstore tables from last year’s conference.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What Kind of a Deadliner Are You?

Yes, the picture of a dead-line is corny, but it got your attention. That’s what real deadlines are designed to do.

When it comes to meeting deadlines, there are three types of people. The first is the beaver, which starts preparing for winter early and is ready in plenty of time. This is the person who completes projects before they are due and can then relax, or the one who registers for a conference in time to receive the early registration discount. Even if the person decides not to register because of other obligations, that decision is made early and deliberately.

Then comes the squirrel. It runs around preparing for winter right up until there is no more food to gather. But when the time comes, it is prepared. This person may stress out by completing a project just before the deadline or may pay a penalty by registering at the last minute. Even so, the squirrel makes its deadline.

The third type is the rabbit. Some rabbits die in winter because they aren’t prepared for the harsh conditions. This is the person who waits until the last minute and loses track of time. When they finally remember to get it done, it is too late. The deadline for the project has passed and it cost the employee a raise or the writer another contract. Or conference registration has closed and the person discovers that there is no squish in the deadline. This person didn’t intend to “wait until next year” but has made that choice by his or her inaction.

Registration for the Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference closes on October 15, and there is no squish in it. The beavers registered during the early registration period, and the squirrels either took advantage of regular registration prices or will get it done before the deadline.

Then there are the rabbits . . . Don’t be one.

Go to to register for this year’s conference. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, that is also the place to go for more information. But don’t let inaction drive your choice.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Can't Afford to Attend a Conference? Apply for a Scholarship!

Many writers’ conferences offer scholarships to needy writers. That includes the 2018 Steel Pen Creative Writers’ Conference, which will be held on October 27 at Fair Oaks Farms just north of Rensselaer, Indiana. The conference offers lunch with keynote speaker Michael Poore, a full day of writing workshops, and multiple opportunities to connect with other writers. You can find more information about the conference at

The application deadline for Steel Pen scholarships is September 15, so don’t wait to apply. You can find the application form at Just scroll down the page until you reach the application. Fill in the information that is visible and scroll down within the application box to continue.

There are two ways for those who don’t need scholarship help to assist those who do. First, you can encourage someone else to apply. Second, you can contibute to the scholarship fund by clicking on the Donate button at the bottom of the page and noting in the instruction box that the donation goes to conference scholarships. This is a tax-deductable donation.

The conference page at is also where paying attendees can register. Regular prices run through September 14, 2018, and will increase by $10 on September 15.

If you are short on funds but aren’t available on October 27, other conferences have scholarships, too. Don’t give up on going until you check them out.

But if you can make it on October 27, give us a try.


The photo at the top of the page was taken during last year’s conference and shows a break-out session on novels in stories.