Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 14: Writer’s Digest Conference Haul

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Stacking The Shelves is a weekly event hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that shares the books (both physical and virtual) that you recently purchased, borrowed from a fellow reader or the library, won from a giveaway, or received as gifts. Stacking The Shelves will post on Saturdays as new books are added to my shelves.

Round #1 of #WDC15 coverage begins today! In addition to my articles-in-progress for DIY MFA, I knew I was going to do a Stacking The Shelves piece here. I mean, how can a writer go to a literary conference and not come home with more books? That would have been shameful, wouldn’t it? *lol*

So, here’s my haul from the event:


When traveling, a trusty suitcase makes an excellent prop for showcasing your STS haul. *winks*

Top row, from left to right:

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer (Speculative Fiction / Writing / Reference): Directly from the blurb, this reference book “takes a completely novel approach and fully exploits the visual nature of fantasy through original drawings, maps, renderings, and exercises to create a spectacularly beautiful and inspiring object.” It also includes sidebars and essays from (among others) Ursula K. Le Guin, Neil Gaiman, and George R. R. Martin. Let’s just say that there was nooooooooo way I was going home without this baby. 😉

The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose (Historical Paranormal Fantasy): I’d heard about The Witch of Painted Sorrows earlier this year, thanks to its gorgeous cover art, intriguing blurb, and blend of historical fiction and witchcraft. Somehow I overlooked the fact that M.J Rose was going to be at WDC until I double-checked my schedule – and realized I had signed up for her session! That session, “Buzz Your Book in the Ever-Changing (and Crazy) Marketplace,” was great, too. Writers volunteered to pitch their novel project to M.J., who used her expert marketing skills to brainstorm possible promotion plans off the top of her head for each book.

Bottom row, from left to right:

Word Painting: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively by Rebecca McClanahan (Writing / Reference): Another favorite session of mine was Rebecca McClanahan’s, based on the novel featured here. (The Goodreads listing shows an earlier edition, with a slightly different title.) The session was an abbreviated version of said book, and focuses on creating “precise, imaginative, and effective word pictures to engage your reader.” I quickly glanced at the book, and it has a number of examples and writing prompts to help writers develop the skills that Rebecca emphasizes. As a writer whose weakness is overwriting in general, this will be a great resource for improving my skills in this area of the craft, and I can’t wait to use it!

The Inheritance Trilogy Omnibus by N.K. Jemisin (Fantasy): If you’ve been following this blog for the past two months, you already know how PSYCHED I was about attending N.K. Jemisin’s worldbuilding session at WDC. Well, she did not disappoint. 😀 Unfortunately the conference bookstore didn’t have copies of her upcoming book The Fifth Season in stock. But I’d been meaning to read N.K.’s Inheritance Trilogy (or at least the first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I’m reading right now), so I treated myself to the whole darn thing. The omnibus includes all three novels as well as the novella The Awakened Kingdom. And yes, it’s a BEHEMOTH. *lol*

Rodin’s Lover by Heather Webb (Historical Fiction): Heather Webb is one of my favorite contributors at Writers In The Storm and Writer Unboxed. Her effervescent personality shines through in articles that are both informative and encouraging. Heather was a late addition to the Writer Unboxed Live! panel at WDC; and since I like historical fiction now and then, this was the perfect opportunity to pick up my first book by her. Rodin’s Lover is her newest novel and features 19th century French sculptor Auguste Rodin as one of her major characters.

You know what else is special about the N.K. Jemisin, Rebecca McClanahan, and Rebecca Webb books?


From left to right: Personalized signed copies of Rebecca McClanahan’s “Word Painting,” N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy Omnibus, and Rebecca Webb’s “Rodin’s Lover”

😀 😀 😀

What books did you recently buy or acquire? Have you read of the books shown / discussed above? Feel free to share your opinions and most recent hauls by commenting below.

33 thoughts on “Stacking The Shelves, Vol. 14: Writer’s Digest Conference Haul

  1. That is a fine pile o’ books! I bought Wonderbook when it came out and it’s really a fantastic resource for fantasy worldbuilding. (in case you’re wondering, Wonderbook auto corrects to Wonderbra, LOL!) I really need to get started on reading N. K. Jemisin, so cool you have all three books of her trilogy in that book. So glad you had fun, sounds like you have many more stories to tell us about the conference.:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tammy! Ha ha about the auto-correct for Wonderbook. XD I’m really looking forward to digging into that one once I finish the current reference book I’m reading.

      If you check out my response to Mogsy’s comment to this post, you’ll find my N.K. Jemisin story from the conference. I almost missed getting the book signed!


    • I flipped through a few pages of Wonderbook already, and it seems pretty comprehensive. I don’t usually review reference books I read, but I’ll see if I can do something for it once I get around to it. 😉

      YES!!! The signed omnibus is like my shining gem from last weekend. *lol* N.K. was very gracious. I missed her signing session on Saturday, and caught her on her way out, just to thank her for the worldbuilding session and to tell her I bought her book. She offered to sign it on the spot, and drew a little planet with continents and storm clouds next to her signature – which tied in with some of the things she had talked about in her session. (She admitted to be a geological and weather nerd there.) *lol* But yeah, that was one of my highlights of WDC. 🙂


  2. Oh, I covet your terrific collection of books! But that’s not all….how I wish I could have attended this conference…..I have long wanted to write myself, and have made some efforts, here and there, but noting really consistent. These books, and the conference itself, might have very well given me a much-needed push! Well, I can definitely get the books, and put their advice into practice. In fact, I’m bookmarking this page, as a reminder.

    It’s great to have discovered your blog! Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful writer’s haul!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Maria! Yes, WDC is a very inspiring event, and one I highly recommend to any writer. It puts more emphasis on the business of writing and insights on the publishing industry than the craft of writing… But there was at least one craft session held during each time slot, for anyone who wanted to focus on that “track.”

      And I’m so glad you enjoyed your first visit here! I hope to see you here again soon. 🙂

      *goes to visit Maria’s blog in return*


  3. Very cool! I read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and really enjoyed it! Keep meaning to read the rest of the trilogy.Glad you were able to get a signed copy! I am planning on starting Fifth Season tomorrow or Tuesday. Also, have heard great things about Wonderbook!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms just before this posted (I prepped the article a couple days in advance), and I LOVED it! So it’s made meeting N.K. all the more fulfilling now. 😀

      Wow, I never realized that so many SFF readers had heard of Wonderbook. I’ll see if I can post something about it after I’ve read it!


  4. Those all look good – but especially Wonderbook. I love writing books and pictures, but both is better. I tend to stay away from exclusive art books (they’re expensive, and I want all of them, and they take me about 10 hours to pour through). But an art and writing book, genius! I can’t want to see what you think of it.
    Aren’t signed books fun? I have a signed copy of “Fairest” from BEA that is now on my treasured possessions shelf 🙂
    You have really made me interested in N. K. Jemisin, so I can’t wait to read her books.
    I hope you enjoy them all, and I look forward to more WDC tidbits 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • 😀 I’ll try to remember to start reading Wonderbook after my current reference read. I usually don’t review reference books here, but maybe I should do something for this one… Or maybe do a future 5 on the 5th about reference books for speculative fiction writers. 😉

      Yes, signed books are THE BEST! I have a couple others besides these from WDC, my two most prized ones being SHADOW STUDY by Maria V. Snyder (she sent one of her author copies as a thank-you for the interview we did in February) and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS by George R.R. Martin (I stood outside for 3 hours in the July heat just for those 15 seconds of signage *lol*).

      Pssst, I already posted my review of N.K. Jemisin’s THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS on Goodreads if you want a sneak peek. 😉


    • I’ll tell you a little bit here, since I was asked to refrain from revealing specifics about WDC’s sessions in my DIY MFA articles (out of fairness to the presenters). 😉

      M.J.’s session was very interactive, which made it a lot of fun. She picked volunteers from the audience, and one by one they’d pitch their story to her. M.J. would also ask additional questions like “Do you have an author platform / blog / social media?”, “How do you plan to publish it (traditionally vs self-publishing)?” and “What is your day job?” Once she had all the information she needed, M.J. would propose a possible marketing plan for each writer’s book on the spot. It was neat to see how unique each plan was, but also what each plan had in common. It gave me some ideas about what I might want to do once I have something ready for release, regardless of how I plan to publish. Again, I don’t want to give away specifics, since it wouldn’t be fair to M.J… But it was a fantastic session, and one I’d recommend to future WDC attendees.

      N.K. Jemisin actually made a PDF copy of her world-building presentation available at her blog ( So you can check it out there. 😉 But basically, hers was about starting from the ground (literally) and building your secondary world from there, paying attention to things like geography, weather, etc. and informing your races’ culture, industries, etc. based on how their climate / geography functions. She had a few other tips as well, but you’ll be able to find them in her presentation. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sounds like M.J’s session was fantastic! I need to work on my marketing plan some more.
        I will check out that link! Thank you for the extra info here. WDC is something I would like to attend one of these years. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was! I took notes during that session (as well as all the others), and the gears were already turning in my head… thinking of how certain ideas might be applicable to my own campaign when the time comes. I’m really glad I signed up for that and other marketing and publishing-centric sessions as well as craft sessions.

        If I do end up going to WDC again next year, I’ll share the info links sooner than I did this year. That way, if people are interested in going, they can take advantage of the Early Bird price. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I haven’t read any of these, but they look cool. ^ ^ I recently got back from a conference and bought two books now signed by the others “A Time to Die” by Nadine Brandes and “Orphan’s Song” by Gillian Bronte Adams. ^ ^ I’ve met both author’s online and it was so cool to finally meet them and have them sign my books!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nice! I’ve already read THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS (part of N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Omnibus) since posting this STS. I’ll have a full review up in early September, but for now… if you like adult fantasy, do not miss that book. 😉

      I haven’t heard of Nadine Brandes or Gillian Bronte Adams. What are their two stories about? (I’m assuming they’re historical or SFF, if they were at Realm Makers…?)


      • Cool!

        They’re relatively new authors. Just published in the past two years. Realm Makers is spec-fic only so Nadine does Sci-fi and Gillian does fantasy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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