2024 Other Professionals and WHAC Team


All times are ET (Eastern Time)

Codes in red after what they are teaching
B = Beginner, I = Intermediate, A = Advanced
Click here for definitions of the above


Other Professionals


Debbie Maxwell Allen
Award-Winning Author
Scrivener and Vellum Expert


Debbie is an award-winning author of historical fiction – with a touch of the unexplainable. She explores quirky Mediterranean locations in the 18th century with moody tales of adventure and romance. Watch for her debut series in 2024.

Debbie lives high in the Rockies, accompanied by her force-of-nature husband, her yin-and-yang cats, and plenty of visits from her children and the most adorable grandchildren. She travels as often as she can – preferably by train – and always with a hot cup of tea.

Workshop W9 — Newsletter Newbie (Wednesday, 5:00 – 5:50)   I / ADV
With social media platforms like Facebook changing the rules of the game, savvy authors increasingly depend on email newsletters to connect with readers. But what do you say to your readers and how do you keep them engaged? Join us for tips and easy-to-implement ideas to stay engaged without stress. Learn five unbeatable techniques for increasing the size of your list--and staying connected with loyal fans.

Workshop 8B — Format Your Book (Thursday, 5:15 – 6:05)   I / ADV
Indie authors can save a lot of money by formatting their books on their own, leaving more funds to use towards cover design and editing. Learn how to use Vellum and other free formatting tools for a professional look – without being a tech genius.

Continuing Session CS2, Going Indie — (3) Going Wide as an Indie (Friday, 11:15 – 12:15)   I / ADV
To “go wide” or “publish wide” is to distribute and sell books via multiple platforms. All the details of the many wide platforms, the pros and cons of each, and how to market wide books (as opposed to being exclusive to Amazon). Many authors are leaving money on the table by sticking only with Amazon. Learn how to “go wide,” which platforms you can order from, sizes, special print runs, large print, hardback, and more.


Darrell Goemaat

Photo Directior, Regular Baptist Ministries 


Darrell is a career photojournalist, photo editor, and photo director. He served for eighteen years as a staff photographer for daily newspapers in Iowa and Illinois before moving to the Chicago area to work as a photo editor for the Copley Chicago Newspaper chain. 

He currently serves as the Photo Director for Regular Baptist Ministries based in Elgin, Illinois, where he shoots photos and videos for its various ministries, denominational magazine (The Baptist Bulletin), websites and social media platforms. Darrell is a contributing photographer for the Genesis Photo Agency and has covered stories for World Vision and WORLD magazine. Darrell and his wife Lynne live in Palatine, Illinois, and they have three adult children. 

Workshop 8E — Photography Tips for Writers (Saturday, 2:00 – 2:50)   
Your editor wants you to submit photos with your article but all you have is your phone. This workshop explores ideas for making “better than Facebook” photos when you don’t have professional equipment. We will look at principles and practical guidelines for making strong, story-telling photos in cases where you can control the situation and strategies when you can’t. We will show samples that have good composition, lighting, expressions, and posing. We will give tips on how to work in a changing environment to produce good candid photos. (For writers who need to submit photos for their stories but don’t have professional equipment.)


Catherine Jacobs
Author, Illustrator, Teaching Artist

Bio coming!


Workshop 8D — Fun with Canva (Friday, 5:15 – 6:05) 
Are you frustrated trying to figure out how to make memes for social media? Wish you had a designer who could help for free?

Canva offers free templates and images you can use. It;s designed for those who think they can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.

Catherine has thirty-five years experience teaching elementary art and the patience to help you get started with Canva. She can show you how to create professional looking graphics for a bunch of uses.


Ken Raney

President, Raney Day Press and Raney Day Design  
Author, Illustrator


Ken is a producer of illustration and graphic design. He is the author/illustrator of two children’s picture books and has over forty years of experience in graphic design, illustration, advertising, and marketing. He and his wife, novelist Deborah Raney, make their home in Missouri. 

Learning Lab LL4   Indie Publishing (Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:30)   ALL
How to launch an indie publishing empire! Ken Raney, president of Raney Day Press, talks about the steps needed to publish independently, whether you are a new or established author. He will look at everything that follows after writing a great book: getting it edited, designing a cover (including a segment on AI), formatting the interior, where to sell your book, how to advertise and market your book, etc.


Jonathan Shank
CEO, Celebration Web Design

Jonathan Shank, M.Div., the Senior Website & SEO Marketing Consultant and Managing Partner of Celebration Web Design, has passionately served non-profit organizations and Christ-focused authors since 2006. Jonathan has a diverse skill set in digital marketing, graphic design, management, and expertise in crafting purpose-driven websites using programming languages such as HTML5, SQL, PHP, ASP, C#, CSS, and JavaScript. Besides being a skilled programmer and designer, Jonathan also assists clients in building comprehensive branding and SEO packages to enhance their online presence.

Throughout his career, Jonathan has worked closely with clients to deliver stunning, user-centered author websites, helping them reach their audiences and market their books effectively. He has been instrumental in revolutionizing the web presence of hundreds of Authors, Ministries and Non-Profit Organizations.

As the driving force behind Celebration Web Design, Jonathan is dedicated to creating handcrafted, custom websites tailored to each partne’s unique needs while nurturing strong relationships for successful outcomes.

Note from Marlene – I’ve never stopped thanking the Lord for leading me to Celebration Web Design around ten years ago. Jonathan and his father, Bruce, are not only gifted professionals, they are my Christian brothers and prayer partners. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

Learning Lab LL9 — The How and Why of Website Creation (Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:30)   ALL
Join our interactive two-hour learning lab where we will guide you through essential website development strategies tailored for authors. This comprehensive, hands-on workshop covers a wide range of crucial topics:

Content Strategy Development: Learn the fundamentals of search engine optimization (SEO) and how to discover the right keywords to target your audience and improve your website's visibility. Delve into the value of a well-defined content strategy, covering topic ideation, content planning, and consistency in posting to keep visitors engaged and coming back for more.

Essential Content for Author Websites: Discover the key elements that every author website should include, such as an author bio, book information, contact details, and upcoming events.

Blog Writing Tips: Receive guidance on crafting engaging blog content that resonates with your audience and showcases your expertise as an author.

Basic Web Layout: Understand the importance of an organized, visually appealing, and mobile-responsive layout, and how to create a user-friendly design that enhances user experience on various devices.

Social Media Integration: Learn how to effectively connect your social media accounts with your website to promote increased engagement and grow your online presence.

Crafting Persuasive Calls-to-Action (CTAs): Learn how to create effective CTAs that encourage visitors to take desired actions, such as signing up for newsletters or purchasing books.

We’ll also explore the various options for building a website, from do-it-yourself solutions and premade designs to hiring a custom designer. The learning lab will help you decide which choice is right for you. Through practical exercises, you'll gain hands-on experience in discovering relevant keywords and refining your website messaging. By the end of this engaging learning lab, you'll be equipped with the knowledge and tools to create a compelling author website that captivates your target audience and supports your writing career.


Patti Shene
Writer, Blogger, Podcaster


Patti is the podcast host for Step Into the Light, an interview style podcast that features guests who have found their way out of a dark place as well as those who lead others out of darkness through their ministry, writing, or other creative endeavor. Links to all episodes can be found on her website.

Patti hosts two blogs on her website, Patti’s Porch and The Over 50 Writer. The purpose of both blogs is to promote writers of all levels, including unpublished writers. Patti’s Porch targets readers and The Over 50 Writer targets writers.

Patti authored her debut novella, Cathy’s Christmas Confession, which released on Kindle in November of 2022 and is now available in print on Amazon as well. 

Patti is seeking guests who wish to promote their work or ministry to a global audience through a podcast interview conducted via telephone.

Workshop W6 – The ABC’s of Podcasting – Acoustics, Broadcasting, Connection (Wednesday, 5:00 – 5:50)   ALL
Would you like to host a podcast or be a podcast guest? Do you have a book or ministry to promote, a subject you are passionate about, or a skill to share? Learn the basics of this popular method of reaching an audience, from equipment needs, cost, and time investment, engaging broadcasting techniques of the interviewer and interviewee, to connecting with hosts/guests and attracting listeners.


Thomas Umstattd Jr. 
Author, Award-Winning Speaker
Podcast Host, Novel Marketing Podcast
and Christian Publishing Show
CEO, AuthorMedia.com


Thomas built his first website at the age of thirteen and taught his first web design class at only sixteen years old. He went to the University of Mary-Hardin Baylor where he graduated cum laude with a degree in Business Management. He founded Umstattd Media, his first web design and media company in 2007 while still in college.

In 2009 he started AuthorTechTips.com, a website to help authors use the web to promote their books. The site was twice featured in Writers Digest as one of the 101 most helpful websites for authors. AuthorTechTips.com is now AuthorMedia.com, a resource for authors timid about technology.

In 2014, Thomas’ blog post “Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed” went viral and reached over a million people in just a few weeks. It led to a Kickstarter campaign and later the book Courtship in Crisis.

As an award-winning speaker, Thomas teaches audiences all over the world how to build their platforms, sell more books, and change the world with writing worth talking about. His friendly speaking style blends multimedia and audience participation. He offers audiences a unique perspective to help them use the web in a whole new way. As a podcaster, he hosts the Novel Marketing Podcast, and Christian Publishing Show. He currently serves as the CEO of Author Media.

He lives in Austin, TX, with his beautiful wife and children.


Workshop 7A — How to Crowdfund Your Next Book (Thursday, 2:15 – 3:05)   I / ADV
The average self published book sells only 200 copies. Why? Usually, self-published books fail because the author doesn't have the money to do it right. Authors need money to get sales and sales to get money. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are a great way to break the catch 22 of self publishing while also building a tribe and gauging interest.

Workshop 9D — How to Create a Marketing Strategy for Your Book (Friday, 5:15 – 6:05)   I / ADV
If failure to plan is planning to fail it is no wonder that so many books fail to sell as many books as their authors hope. In this talk you will learn a strategy to successfully market books and how to adapt it to your book specifically.




Donna DeLoretto Brennan

Donna was a technical writer for over ten years before becoming a computer programmer. Since leaving the corporate world after her twins were born, she’s had short stories, interviews, and nonfiction articles published online and in print magazines.

She’s a member of the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG) and the Lancaster Christian Writers Association. She’s served in various capacities on the GLVWG board, including several terms as Conference Chair. She’s always looking for opportunities to encourage others and to share what she’s learned.

Victoria Dorshorn
Author, Award-Winning Scriptwriter


Vickie has written several scripts that have placed well in major contests and have won awards, including Good MedicineFaith HouseA New Heart BeatingThe Partnership, and ReachDeep, which is based on a story by Amy Deardon. Victoria also writes and publishes Christian non-fiction, including Victory through Light: How to Overcome the Growing Cultural DarknessVictory through Voice: How to Speak Truth When the Culture Demands Silence, and Called into Light: An Allegory. She has published a novel, Out of the Prison House, and a collection of poetry, Angel Unaware: Poems, under her maiden name. Her blogs appear on her website.

Continuing Sessiion CS7 —Fundamentals of Screenwriting   ALL
From an initial, active discussion of what screenwriting is and how it differs from writing prose, we will establish the first things to consider when planning a script: premise, logline, and synopsis. We will proceed to learn about plot structure and character arcs. We'll study dialogue and action, as well as set-ups and pay-offs, subtext, and MacGuffins. Hands-on practice and Q & A time will be included. 

Darcie Gudger

Darcie J. Gudger
Adjunct Instructor, Casper College
Freelance Editor, Writing Coach
Co-founder/ leader WY Write

Darcie spends much of her time dodging the Wyoming wind, ducking into historical museums and archives, and imagining life on the frontier prior to modern comforts. When not in a library or at her computer, Darcie can be found paddling the river in her kayak, hiking, walking her psychotic freak-biscuit of a dog, or in the pool determined to hit her two-mile goal. Her ridiculous love of books almost flattened her son when over-burdened shelves collapsed on him during his birthday party. Her husband implemented an immediate ban on physical books. Undeterred, Darcie finds creative ways to sneak books into her home and pushes her Kindle to its limits.

She earned her B.A. in psychology from Houghton College and her Masters of Education from the University of Colorado, Denver. She spent four years in the classroom as a high school special education teacher. For 15 years, Darcie instructed several award-winning scholastic color guard teams from Colorado. She was also on staff with WGI Open class semi-finalist team Malachi Independent Winter Guard. Currently, Darcie is an adjunct instructor at Casper College teaching courses on the craft of writing. She also facilitates WY Write, a group for Christian writers in the state of Wyoming.

A hopeless book addict, Darcie is on a mission to help writers write great books she would love to read.

Barb Haley

Barbara E. Haley
Author, Speaker, Freelance Editor
Conference Registrar
Appointments Coordinator

Barb is a teacher, writing mentor, and the author of three juvenile chapter books; two devotional books: There’s a Song in the Air and Lord, Get Your Needle—I’m Falling Apart at the Seams (The Emotional Strain of Chronic Pain); and her debut novel Biz On the Go. She is the co-author of Sleeping Near the Ark: Writing with a Fresh Vision with Michael Gantt. Barb has also ghostwritten two books and written magazine articles, weekly devotions for The Quiet Hour and The Secret Place, and stories for Chicken Soup for the Soul and God Answers Prayers. A retired elementary teacher and Reading Interventionist, she lives in San Antonio, Texas, where she enjoys writing at IHOP, tutoring, and spending time with her grandchildren.

Whether through fiction or nonfiction, Barbara strives to equip readers to search for God’s healing truth as they learn to Face Facts in a World of Fiction.

In May, 2016, Barbara was named Writer of the Year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. 


Debbie Hardy 
Representative, ChristianDevotions
Author, Speaker


Debbie is the Queen of Resilience and the author of three books: Free to Be Fabulous: 100 Ways to Look and Feel Younger at 40, 50, and Beyond; Stepping
Through Cancer, A Guide for the Journey
; and How to Write a Book AND Get it Published. She has also published devotions and contributed to anthologies. A Colorado resident and accomplished pianist, Debbie loves to mentor aspiring authors and edit their work. Her positive outlook and joy in Christ have helped her transition from corporate America to writing, speaking, encouraging others, and teaching at writers’ conferences, retreats, and other events. 

7C — New to Writing: Here’s a Roadmap (Friday 5:15 – 6:05)   B
Do you have an idea for a book but no idea how to give it birth? Come and learn the basics, from how to get the book written to how to get it published. We’ll explain terms used in publishing and look at the steps in publishing and marketing your book. Get your message out to your target audience.


Catherine Jacobs
Author, Illustrator, Teaching Artist


Bio coming!


Workshop 8D — Fun with Canva (Friday, 5:15 – 6:05) 
Are you frustrated trying to figure out how to make memes for social media? Wish you had a designer who could help for free?

Canva offers free templates and images you can use. It;s designed for those who think they can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.

Catherine has thirty-five years experience teaching elementary art and the patience to help you get started with Canva. She can show you how to create professional looking graphics for a bunch of uses.

Ava Pennington
Author, Bible Teacher
Writing Coach, Freelance Editor

Ava has a heart for God’s Word and God’s people. For 16 years she has taught an interdenominational, weekly Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of (presently) 175 women. Ava is passionate about encouraging writers to use their gifts for His glory. She began writing for publication after a 20+ year career as a corporate executive in NYC. As she transitioned to writing and teaching, she learned, first-hand, the importance of establishing a solid foundation as she pursued writing. Her publication credits include articles in numerous magazines as well as short stories in 30+ anthologies. Her one-year devotional, Daily Reflections on the Names of God, is being released by Revell Books this year in a gift book edition that includes content from the original devotional. For more information about Ava’s books, speaking, and writers’ services, visit her website.

Workshop E1 — 7 Steps to Support Your God-Given Calling 
(Wednesday, 5:00 – 5:50)   B
Learn how to follow these seven steps to support your God-given calling. Discover how to find God's will, step out by faith in love, manage your time, and press through the tough times.

  1. Nurture Your First Love.
  2. Find God's Will.
  3. Guard Against the Enemy's Lies.
  4. Persevere Through Dry Times.
  5. Time Management vs. Time Stewardship
  6. Step into Your Calling in Faith
  7. Trust God's Timing

Workshop 6D — A Winning Recipe: Writing for Anthologies (Friday, 5:15 – 6:05)   B
Build a portfolio of publishing credits by writing short stories for anthologies! Inspirational books such as Chicken Soup for the Soul are always looking for terrific, true stories that will touch the hearts of their readers. Join us as we discuss the recipe for a winning story.

Marti Pieper
Senior Editor, Charisma Media
Author, Collaborative Writer, Editor

Marti Pieper’s eclectic publishing career includes ghostwriting a young adult memoir that made the ECPA bestseller list and traveling to six Latin American countries to share stories of teen mission trips and an award-winning missionary memoir. She has written eight traditionally published nonfiction books and edited many more, written and edited for both print and digital publications, and taught at multiple writers conferences. A fulltime freelance writer and editor, she writes and edits for Charisma Media, serves as editorial director for the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, and has recently completed a ghostwritten book that will be published in more than 250 languages. Find her at www.martipieper.com, where her “Snapshots of Dementia” blog details life with her husband, who suffers from an early-onset dementia.

Continuing Session CS4 — Narrative Nonfiction: The Power of Story   ALL
How can I make my nonfiction more compelling? How can truth and creativity coexist in my work? In this continuing session, which includes both practical tips and inspiring examples, Marti shares the basics of this popular but often misunderstood genre. Learn how to transform your writing through the power of authentic storytelling while you catch—and keep—your readers.

J. Chris Richards
Author, Editor
Writing Coach
Conference Bookstore

Chris is an author, editor, and writing coach. She is somewhat addicted to writers groups of which she is currently a member of two, American Christian Fiction Writers and Writers on the Rock. In the past, she has worked for two publishing houses, been the member of multiple writers groups, and taught/directed writing conferences for teenage writers. While still trying to figure out exactly what part of the writing world she wants to live in, she is working on the sequel to her suspense novel, Shattered Trust; is near finishing a chapter book; is creating journals; and is helping new authors learn the writers’ life. Her biggest challenge is finding time to write between spending time with her husband, three daughters, and six grandchildren while exploring as much of the world as she can, taking pictures, and doing needlework.

Roy Richards
Conference Bookstore

Tabatha Scheffler
Tech Team Captain

Joy A. Schneider
Award-Winning Author
Prayer Room

Joy is an award-winning author of three books. She is passionate about equipping and encouraging people to stand strong in the spiritual battles they face in life. Identifying the Hierarchy of Satan: A Handbook for Wrestling to Win! is a powerful reference book for the Body of Christ and Joy’s flagship work. Released last December was Shame Free: How to Remove the Cloak of Shame, the second book in “Battle Over the Anointing” Series. How to Keep Grief from Stealing Your Destiny is the first book of this Series.

Joy is a board member of AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and a member of CIPA (Christian Indie Publishers Association). She lives in Fort Collins, Colorado. She enjoys time with her daughters and their families, including eight grandchildren.



Laura Shaffer
Blogger, Daily Bible Prayer
Hear More From God

Prayer Room

Raised as an Army Brat and moving almost every year till college, Laura was delighted to discover that wherever she went, God was always there ahead of her.

She writes to encourage people to lean in to God to hear from Him in their daily life through nature, Scripture, circumstances, and prayer. 

Note from Marlene: The depth and wisdom of the prayers Laura shares daily bless me and will bless you. 

Eric Sprinkle
Emcee, Tech Team
Author, Speaker
Founder, Adventure Experience

Founder of Adventure Experience Press and author of the AdventureDevos book series for Men, Women, and Youth. o-author with Laura Shaffer of the 40 Day Prayer Guides. He is also a Writing Conference Faculty veteran and can help with almost any questions you have. A Colorado native, please forgive him for jogging between buildings and don’t  be alarmed to find him wearing Teva sandals in the snow.