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Conference with S. D. Smith Giveaway, Prince Lander Sets Sail, and Self-expression in Art

This is cool. We have a VIDEO version of this post—complete with some funny outtakes—and you should check it out. Or, just keep reading!

I love giving away things. We’re giving away a chance to be at a wonderful conference with me and some much cooler people—right here in my neck of the woods! I’m also thrilled to share a Green Writer tip that is at the core of my philosophy as a writer. Here’s a preview: Self-expression isn’t the end of art. It’s barely the beginning. 

Speaking of beginnings, Happy Birthday to my Mom, Barbara Smith, my earliest advocate. Mom, I love you and I’m so grateful to you for the encouragement you’ve given me in all of life, including this crazy little hobby of writing stories. 

S. D. Smith with his mom, Barbara

My daughter Anne has another book review here, and it’s great! I love that she’s sharing these. It fits with our heart to be hospitable and generous to you, people we care so much about and work hard to serve. I love that she has a heart to serve you with these.

Thanks for tuning in, friends. Let’s get started with an update on Prince Lander and the Dragon War!

Prince Lander Sets Sail …

…for the printers.

Writing: ✔
Editing: ✔
Proofing: ✔

Prince Lander and the Dragon War is off to press! It is now with our print production partners who are turning it into a form you can get your hands on.

We will be sharing more of those details on how very soon, hopefully!

HopeWords Writers’ Conference

Come and hear some incredible speakers, including keynote Makoto Fujimura, in my neck of the woods. Here in West Virginia! It’s April 1-2.

HopeWords is a purposefully placed gathering of lovers of words and God. It is not just for writers, but also for readers, thinkers, and dreamers. This unique conference draws participants from around the globe.

I’m stoked. You should come. It’s always great!

We’re giving away THREE registrations! Enter on Facebook, Instagram, or here. Comment with a writing or reading goal for this new year. We’ll pick 3 winners. Giveaway ends January 21st.

Still thinking of a writing goal for this year? Maybe this Green Writer tip will help.

Self-expression Isn’t the End of Art

People often encourage writers by saying they should express themselves. Self-expression is seen as the most crucial part of creating. But I disagree. Self-expression isn’t the end of art, it’s barely the beginning. Think of giving a gift to someone else, not just indulging yourself. Happily, these two things often intertwine in the act of writing. But focus on generosity and hospitality as a tie-breaker at least. 

Get more tips like these when you try the first 3 sessions of The Green Writer for FREE!

The Green Writers Reviews

If you’re in the market for a reading goal, try one of my daughter Anne’s recommendations.

Anne-Girl Reviews: Clementine

Clementine reviews from Anne-Girl Reviews

“Clementine, pay attention!”

That’s a phrase that Clementine hears a lot. But it’s not her fault she is “allergic to sitting still,” or that she has had “not so good of a week.” For instance, her best friend Margaret gets to have braces and she doesn’t. Third grade is tough for a spunky, enthusiastic, creative girl who has a name that is also a food. Ideas are always sproinging into her brain, and she can’t stop them. Clementine means well, but it’s just hard to pay attention in class when you can pay attention out the window. Yup, things aren’t going her way, but she’s just trying to help. If Margaret wants to have red hair like her, Clementine will make it happen.

Reminiscent of early Ramona books, Clementine by Sara Pennypacker is a great little book. I quote the little funny things she says all the time. Short and sweet, engaging and humorous, Clementine has it all. It’s a delightful little story, and I recommend it.

Clementine Review
Aletha Anne Smith

Prefer to watch? Check out the VIDEO version (or just watch it for the outtakes?).

That’s all for now. Can’t wait to share more about the TENTH Green Ember book coming this SPRING!



S. D. Smith speaking at the HopeWords Conference


  1. My writing goal is to start journaling again. I stopped several years ago, and I miss it.

    My reading goal is to read through books mentioned in Gilmore Girls with my daughter. She loves the show, but reading? Not so much.

  2. I have two goals this year. My writing goal is to finish and edit my book by the end of the summer of 2022, and I want to read over 200 new books this year! I’m already at 57, so well on my way. My newest book I’m looking into is The City of Ember. I don’t know if it will be good or not, but it’s worth a shot. I got a Green Ember shirt for Christmas, and I can’t wait for your newest book.

  3. My writing goal is to finish a collection of poetry. I’m gathering and writing reflections on some of my favorites and also adding some original poetry in conversation with those.

  4. My writing goal is to finish the very first draft of my book that I have been working on for a few years. I want it to express emotion through the pages so the readers can feel those emotions too.

  5. {I apologize if this is a duplicate, my internet went out as I clicked “post comment”)

    This year, I would like to finish the rough draft of my fantasy novel, as well as write more emotion-descriptive poetry, which I need in order to finish my book.
    My reading goal is to read more theology books, so I can better love the Lord and better incorporate theology into my books.

  6. My writing goal for this year is to finish two short stories before March and then find an illustrator for my children’s book series!

  7. I am a young writer, and my one goal for this year is to finish and publish my first book with my cousin.

  8. My goal is to support my teen author to type at least one of the manuscripts languishing in longhand. Several have been started along the path of digitization, but none have crossed the finish line… ANYway, then, I hope to cheer that person on as they begin the self publishing process.

  9. My writing goal is to finish the first drafts of both the novels I’m working on! My reading goal is to read at least 50 books, fiction and nonfiction both.

  10. I used to write and submit magazine articles ( I had a few printed in homeschool magazines) and then I decided I wanted to write a novel. I never finished one and I quit writing altogether. I want to get back to writing articles because I still love putting words together beautifully sharing with others.

  11. My writing goal for this is just to write a lot. I don’t have expectations for being able to complete an entire draft, but I do aim to explore different types of writing and different genres to see what comes out of it!
    For reading goals, I hope to read ‘Ben Hur’ finally – it’s my father’s favorite book and I’d love to be able to converse with him about it.

  12. My writing goal for this year is to complete at least one story (but maybe more!), as well as some poetry.

    A note for S. D. Smith: Would you consider judging a writing contest for young writers and poets?

  13. My reading goal is to read 20 books published in the past ten years this year. My reading leans very heavily to fifty to a hundred years ago so this will stretch me.

  14. My household reading goal is to read everyday. Last year we (collectively) read over 200 books. This year I’d like to make it 250. My goal as a writer is to keep a daily, quotidian journal.

  15. I’m in a self discovery phase; searching for direction in so many areas.
    My goal is to journal in order to find some direction in self discovery and to be able to express myself in the written word again. To journal about the joy and gratitude I find each day.
    In reading, I am just trying to make more time to read. With three little ones at home it can be a challenge.
    I am currently finishing the Green Ember series with my son. We both thoroughly enjoy the stories!

  16. My writing goal is to finish the revisions on my novel and get and agent, obviously with a book deal in mind. The “nice” beta readers (my mom & friends:) have it now and then I’ll make some changes and get it to “real” beta readers. Getting closer!

  17. My writing goal is to self publish a short story to get a feel for the process, and at the least finish the first draft of my novel. Lord willing, I’ll be closer to being completely done with the novel and start preparing for publication.
    My reading goal isn’t much. I’d like to branch out from fantasy books (not completely sense my main genre is still fantasy) to get a feel for other genres, but I don’t have a number of books to aim for.

    Also, I love reading everyone’s goals! It’s so nice to see other writers, especially fellow younger ones, working hard to achieve their dreams!! ?

  18. Question, what is talked about at the conference? I’m relatively new to your books and website (though I LOVED your books! ) and I am curious about what the conference is for/about, is it mainly tips on writing? People’s experiences?…

  19. My writing goal is to finish the fantasy/fiction book I’m writing and getting it published and then starting on its sequel! My reading goal is to read many more Star Wars books and find more books for my age/reading level that are good and clean.

  20. My writing goal is to finish one (or both) of my WIPS by the end of the year, with plans to work through edits and be ready to query by next summer! My reading goal is to read the Bible in one year, as well as to read all the currently unread books on my shelves (my TBR pile got a bit out of control last year…:D).

  21. My reading goal is to complete the Schole Sisters 5×5 Challenge. My writing goal is to get a solid draft done of a children’s picture book about my step-grandpa– stuttering Jewish boy becomes world-renowned speech pathologist. 🙂

    1. Ok, my writing goal for this year is to start. I used to song-write/journal—I’ve been out of practice for many years. Starting again in 2022!

  22. One of my goals is to write a book of all the letters my friend and I have written back and forth to each other over the months of 2020 through 2022, and I hope to send it to her !

  23. I want to write 500 words 3 days a week! I homeschool 3 kids and cannot find the time so I am setting small goals. 🙂 My son would like to finish one of his novels. He doesn’t homeschool anyone so he spends his free time writing. I love it and I miss him when he is in his world!!!

  24. My reading goal is to finish 100 books by February. I’ve got 56 under my belt so far, so I might actually pass said goal. Later, this summer, I’m going to enter a library contest and try to read for ten hours over five days.

  25. Well, I’m not at all late to finding this contest. Where can I follow you, that’s not Facebook or Instagram to keep current on announcements like this? (I avoid FB and IG at all costs). Apparently I missed the email and the YouTube video too so I’m not very good at keeping up with notifications anywhere.
    Well, I’ll share my goals anyway. Rather than my typical Goodreads goal of simply reading some number of books in the year, I wanted to schedule out what I was reading in an attempt to balance fiction and non-fiction. Last year I went overboard on professional development books, and I ended up pretty burnt out. So my plan for 2022 is roughly one professional development book and one leisure book every month, with a “classic” at least every other month. This schedule doesn’t include books read with the kids or books I’m reading with a work development group, at a pace of a chapter or two each week (I designed the groups like a Bible study for professional development, but don’t tell anybody).
    My writing goals are less defined. While I’d love to start writing, and almost subscribed to Green Writer AND Writing on the Dawn Treader courses, I really don’t have enough time for the courses. I’m going through a lot of training for work, and have to study at home to make sure I pass the exams. While I’d like to set a goal to write a chapter or short story every month, I’ve been hoping to do that for the past year, and have yet to get around to it. Too many distractions at my computer desk keep me snoozing the desk altogether.
    Any I have kids asking me to read Wingfeather with them right now… So, that’s enough goals for a past contest.

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