Authors 2023


All times are Eastern (ET)


Twila Belk
Author, Speaker

Twila is known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal. She loves to talk, especially about her Lord. Whether she is speaking, writing, or teaching, her desire is to offer hope and encouragement for people to get their eyes fixed on Almighty God. 

Since June 2007, Twila has worked with veteran author Cecil (Cec) Murphey as his executive assistant, scheduler, promoter, PR person, events coordinator, and biggest fan. As Cec transitions into retirement, Twila is transitioning as well into the role of The Writer's Champion. She’s now available to help writers and aspiring writers in their next steps through coaching, editing, and other services.

Twila has eight published books and has contributed to several others. Her newest title is Charla: An Ordinary Woman with Faith in an Extraordinary God.

Keynote – What’s Holding You Back? (Friday, 7:30 pm)
What’s holding you back from entering your writing “Promised Land”? Fear? Unbelief? Giants? The comparison game? Bad reports? Big buts? If only’s? Don’t get stuck wandering aimlessly in the wilderness. Learn how to take possession of the land.

1F How to Get Published: The Basics and Beyond (Thursday, 2:15 – 3:05)
In this workshop, we’ll discuss terminology, resources, industry relationships, opportunities, where to start, how to keep it going, and more.

3A – Is Ghostwriting for You? (Friday, 2:15 – 3:05)
Have you ever wondered how ghostwriting works and whether it might be a good fit for you? In this workshop, we’ll discuss the expectations of ghostwriters, the process of ghostwriting, advantages and disadvantages of ghostwriting, how to collaborate with an author, and more. Twila will not only share from personal experience, but she will also include lots of information from one of the most beloved ghostwriters in the industry, Cecil Murphey.

5D – Writing Devos (Saturday, 2:00 – 2:50)
Not only are devotions a great way to break into the writing world, but they often reach a wider audience and have more of an impact than a 50,000-word book. Learn about the important elements of writing devotions and the opportunities available to you.

Joan C. Benson
Teacher, Author, Inspirational Speaker     


Joan is a wife, mother, grandmother, educator, author, and inspirational speaker. She holds a B.S. and an M.S.E. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Kansas. Joan has written for multiple Christian magazines and children’s ministry curricula for LifeWay Publishing. Honing her craft by writing for educational publishers for many years, Joan was pleased to debut her own creative work in 2020. Her historical fiction novel, His Gift, was released by Elk Lake Publishing Inc. More recently, Joan co-authored four children’s picture books called Cornerstone Concepts for Children, which teach young children God’s truths in whimsical verse and prose.

Workshop 4E – Equip, Engage, and Empower Children to Stand Against the Culture Clash with Marjorie Wingert (Friday 5:15 – 6:05)
When your biblical values vanish from public view, when Christian morality is attacked, and when the world calls good evil and evil good, what are Christians called to do? Stand, Speak, and Write! No longer can we remain fearful observers sheltering in place. With progressive ideologies targeting our children, we must not be silent. Learn ways to arm children with spiritual weapons through the power of God’s truth so they will stand in the face of opposition. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Cor. 16:13-14 NIV).

Terry Brennan

A Pulitzer Prize is one of the many awards Terry Brennan accumulated during his 22-year newspaper career. The Pottstown (PA) Mercury won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing for a two-year series of editorials published while Terry was the newspaper’s editor.

Starting out as a sportswriter in Philadelphia, Terry became an editor and publisher for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, and New York. In 1988 he moved to the corporate staff of Ingersoll Publications (400 newspapers in the U.S., Ireland, and England) as Executive Editor of all U.S. newspaper titles.

In 1996 Terry transitioned into the nonprofit sector, spending 12 years as VP Operations for The Bowery Mission and 6 years as Chief Administrative Officer for Care for the Homeless, NYC nonprofits that serve homeless people.

Terry began writing fiction in 2005. His first novel, The Sacred Cipher, was released by Kregel Publications in July, 2009. Responding to many reader requests, Terry wrote a sequel, The Brotherhood Conspiracy, which was released by Kregel in June, 2013. What had now become the Jerusalem Prophecies Series was concluded with The Aleppo Code in October, 2015. The Aleppo Code won ACFW’s 2016 Carol Award as the best mystery/suspense novel of the year.

Terry’s second fiction series, The Empires of Armageddon, was released in its entirety by Kregel Publications in 2020: Ishmael Covenant in February; Persian Betrayal in June; and the concluding novel, Ottoman Dominion, in November.

Terry and his wife, Andrea, live in western Connecticut.

LL8 – Honest Books that Honor the Father (Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:30)
Lately, many of the novels offered in the Christian market, both Indies and those from traditional publishers, have overstepped the edges of content that many Christians find objectionable. The new normal includes sexually charged scenes and language that not only mimics cursing but that a few years ago would never be found in a Christian book.

So … how do we write ‘honest’ characters … scenes that ring true to today’s readers … tackle ‘gritty’ subject matter … without incorporating situations and language that weaken our witness and tarnish the faith we are commanded to share? How can we get real and remain pure in heart?

This interactive Learning Lab will dive into this timely and controversial topic by appraising what Christian publishers are saying about their current standards, reviewing examples of both honest and over-the-edge Christian fiction and exploring a revolutionary element of character and plot development that—if adopted by more authors—would dramatically reverse these current trends … and could very well change the way you approach your writing.

Tez Brooks
Author, Screenwriter International Speaker

Tez has been called strategic, thoughtful, approachable, and fun. Whether he’s coaching new authors, serving as faculty at conferences, or working on his next book, Tez’s passion and generosity for helping writers is evident. As an award-winning author, screenwriter, and international speaker, his work appears in Guideposts, The Upper Room,, Clubhouse, Focus on the Family, and more. His editorials are featured regularly on and seen by over 30k readers each month. He and his wife serve as full-time independent missionaries. They have four children and live in Colorado Springs. 

Keynote – Taking the Leap (Saturday, 10 am)
Using the elements of skydiving, Tez will remind writers of the importance of working in tandem with Christ in their writing endeavors.

Workshop 4A – How to Be a Great Radio/Podcast Guest (Friday, 5:15 – 6:05)
Interview questions you should be prepared to answer, speaking tips for LIVE audiences, keeping listeners engaged, creating a press kit, making the host’s job easy so he’ll invite you back. 

6D – The 21 Elements of a Great Nonfiction Book (Saturday, 3:45 – 4:35)
Learn what must be in your book in order to produce well-rounded nonfiction that satisfies readers and establishes you as an authority on the topic.

Beatrice Bruno 
Speaker, Author, US Army Veteran


Beatrice is an Army veteran and former (but always and forever) Drill Sergeant. An ordained gospel minister and Grief and Writing Coach, Beatrice finds satisfaction in helping folks travel the paths of grief and writing and maneuver into the fresh seasons God has for them.

Beatrice is the author of 6 books—Christian Living, Motivational/Inspirational, and Fiction—and counting. She has ghostwritten 10 books for various clients in various genres, and is an editor and book reviewer as well. She is the founder and leader of Writer, Thou Art Loosed! Writer’s Conferences where she helps seasoned and potential writers, Write On for the Glory of God!

In the current season, Beatrice has crossed over into an area few, if any, look forward to—widowhood. Married for 27+ years to SFC John P. Bruno (US Army Retired) who passed away August 2018, Beatrice has raised 4 children—his,  hers, and theirs—to adulthood. She is now looking for her new normal … if there is such a thing … after losing her beloved husband. Discovering what grief is all about and what it entails, Beatrice lets her audiences know, “You don’t have to traverse the path alone.”

Beatrice has traveled the country, ministering in the style she has been given for such a time as this. As a result of this major shift in her life, Beatrice has served as a volunteer at a Christian Conference Center; lived at the home of one of her beloved Soldier-Sons in Brush Prairie, Washington; and recently spent a season in Hampton, Virginia, where she met new faces and received a new purpose. Many changes are in front of Beatrice. Some of the changes are very disconcerting. But Beatrice knows her relationship with the Lord will carry her through to God’s destination for her, always giving her something to Write about.

LL7 – Writer, Thou Art Loosed! WriteCamp Intensive (Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:30)
Get unstuck and focused on the books writers know they have inside of them. Oftentimes, writers get side-tracked when life happens. It is then, though, when writers must push in even more to write what is in their hearts for people who are waiting to read their words. WTAL is designed to jumpstart writers in refocusing and gaining a different perspective so they can be the writers they were called and created to be.

Lynn Dean 
Curriculum Creator
Award-winning Author
Editor, Mentor, Speaker

As a veteran homeschool mom (35 years), Lynn has served as a featured convention speaker, homeschool support group leader, curriculum designer, and co-op teacher. She’s passionate about helping parents teach their children in ways that are meaningful, memorable, and fun.

Lynn created Discover Texas—an age-integrated, hands-on history curriculum now in its 24th year—and The Homeschool Parents’ How-To Handbook, a collection of short tutorials including: How to Teach the Way Your Child Learns, How to Make Learning Meaningful, Memorable, and Fun, How to Help Your Child Succeed, and 

Lynn blogs about homeschooling at and mentors parents in a COFFEE BREAK community where we talk about lifestyle education, learning styles, how to find a child’s “hidden genius,” and how to prepare children to succeed in life.

While researching her Discover Texas History project, Lynn discovered many stories of human triumph that needed to be told and began writing historical fiction. Most recently she collaborated with others to write A Hill Country Christmas - Hope for Hardscrabble Times, which she edited and published in 2022. She’s currently doing research for the 2023 edition of A Hill Country Christmas and completing a historical novel, When the Lilacs Bloom, set at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island during World War I.

LL5 – Writing for the Homeschool Market (Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:30)
Homeschooling has drawn a great deal of attention since the number of homeschool families more than tripled during Covid. The market is booming! But homeschooling is not new. It was, and in many ways still is, “The choice of kings.” Homeschooling is also a fundamentally different approach to learning. In this Learning Lab, we'll take a look at the needs of this rapidly expanding niche market and the exciting opportunities writers have to serve future generations.

Workshop 3C – Researching Historical Fiction: Writing a Window Into Another World with Gail Kittleson (Friday, 2:15 – 3:05)
Whether you're writing historical fiction, fantasy, memoir, or even “un-put-downable” nonfiction, the goal of research is to create windows that transport your reader into a new perspective, making your story a memorable and almost personal experience.

Michael Gantt                          
Author, Speaker

Michael is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and missionary voice. He is the author of seven books including Eddie, Makutano, Cry Mercy, Cry Repent, Over and Above (with Study Guide), Old Paths and Ancient Markers, and Sleeping Near the Ark. He not only served in pulpit ministry at Agape Christian Fellowship in Brattleboro, Vermont, for almost 40 years, he has been an effective mentor, launching numerous pastors and missionaries into their own ministry, including his oldest son, Michael Bryan.

Keynote – Pursue, Overtake, and Recover (Wednesday, 7:30 pm)
The greatest loss of the twentieth century is the loss of the home. The nuclear family, once the foundation of American life, has been systematically maligned and dismantled by progressive socialism in America. The challenge facing the twenty-first century is the recovery of that once revered institution. To re-establish the home as the spiritual heart of the nation is critical to our survival and the key to accomplishing that monumental task will not be found in the hall of congress, but within the sanctity of the home itself. This critically important message is based on Michael’s widely endorsed 2020 book, Old Paths and Ancient Markers.

Dr. James Hanak

Founded and currently serves as CEO of PA Leadership Charter School, a cyber charter school serving over 2000 students in Pennsylvania (

Founded and directed non-profit organizations since 1971. Directed Dr. of Ministry Degree Program for Pastors – Leadership Training Center, Phila. Currently director of AFM Communications.

Speechwriter and presenter on dozens of topics to various churches and civic and political groups. Developed weekly TV talk show Viewpoint, LSP, produced in several Philadelphia area studios and on location; charged with hosting this dynamic counter-discussion group.

Technical advisor, researcher, and writer for the National Award winning video, Battle Zone, currently being aired on dozens of cable outlets nationally and internationally.

Served on the High Flight Foundation’s advisory board - Founder and Chairman Col. James Irwin, Moon Astronaut.

Contributing columnist to the Philadelphia Inquirer and the National Educator. Published nationally over 400 times in 51 newspapers and periodicals. Placed first in the Montgomery Newspapers Freedom Edition Essay Contest for essay on “U.S. Constitution Founded on Timeless Principles” – July 1987.

President, Brandywine Media Arts Corporation – helping individuals, organizations, schools, and municipalities reach their community through cable television.

Workshop 3F – How to Get Published - Guaranteed (Friday, 2:15 – 3:05)
This seminar will help you understand what newspaper editors are looking for. Over the last 45 years, James has been published in newspapers and periodicals nationwide over 500 times. (He stopped keeping count at 500.) All but a couple of his writings were printed in local and national newspapers (Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, National Educator, Philadelphia Daily News, and 50 other newspapers/periodicals). For a season, he was hired by the Philadelphia Inquirer to write articles for the editorial page from a biblical point of view. James says, “Because the vast majority of my writings were published, I am confident that, once you understand the dynamics of the editorial staff of America’s newspapers, you will be published as well.”

Gail Kittleson


Gail fell in love with words a long time ago and believes our writing demands every possible effort. She earned her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language and taught ESL part-time while rearing her children. Eventually she instructed college expository writing and penned a memoir. This led to fiction writing and an ongoing fascination with characterization. 

The characters who choose Gail whisper their stories into her ear and become as real to her as her next-door neighbor. Although she does divert to Civil War stories at times, the World War II era remains her main fascination. Her women’s/literary fiction highlights our capacity to grow in wisdom and faith through trials and honors the Greatest Generation's make-do women. Facilitating workshops and retreats satisfies Gail’s love of teaching and connects her with others on a deep level.

Workshop 5C – When Setting Becomes a Character (Saturday, 2:00- 2:50)
In some stories, setting is so vital, we treat it almost as a character. This means setting plays an even more vital role, with a significant effect on our characters.  Frequent storms, for example, may require careful treatment, as they affect our characters in several ways. Explore how to deepen and enhance your setting.

Workshop 3C – Researching Historical Fiction: Writing a Window Into Another World with Lynn Dean (Friday, 2:15 – 3:05)
Whether you're writing historical fiction, fantasy, memoir, or even “un-put-downable” nonfiction, the goal of research is to create windows that transport your reader into a new perspective, making your story a memorable and almost personal experience.

Louise L. Looney
Author, Speaker

Louise is  an award-winning author who was given the Selah award at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference for the best book on Christian living. She was named Writer of the Year at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

Louise has worn many hats, teaching all levels of school, managing a Christian retreat center, and serving as a missionary to China to teach in an underground Bible school. She is still going strong at ninety-one as she teaches ten Bible classes a month.

Keynote – Equipped to Win (Saturday, 5:00 pm)
When we made a commitment to follow Jesus, we enlisted in an army engaged  in battle. It was an all-out war Satan declared on God's children. However, the Lord, as our Commander-in-Chief, equipped us with defensive armor as well as a two-edged sword for us to charge ahead into victory! Have no fear. Peace is on the horizon.

Peter Lundell, D.Miss.
Author, Pastor, Adjunct Professor
Freelance Editor,

Peter is an author, pastor, and teacher who helps people connect with God and live by God’s Word and Spirit. With life experience all over the world, he brings new perspectives to what most people overlook. He has authored numerous nonfiction and fiction books on Christian spirituality. Peter is also a collaborative writer and a developmental and substantive editor.

Keynote – Our Voice in a Hostile Climate (Thursday, 7:30 pm)
In a society that is increasingly deceived and divided, our calling is to write in the opposite spirit. What does this mean, and how do we effectively and consistently do it? 

Continuing Session – Authentic Writing that Changes Lives
Authentic writing starts from within you. 
Being honest with who you are, which sometimes means writing out of recovery from pain and ashes. Then you can effectively write change into the lives of your readers through your particular approach, genre, and unique voice. This continuing session will take you through this process and include participant exercises and presentations for feedback.

DiAnn Mills
Author & Speaker

DiAnn is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards, Golden Scroll, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, an active member of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, the Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and International Thriller Writers. Continuing her passion of helping other writers be successful, she speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

Continuing Session – Exploring the Art of Fiction
All writers can benefit from the techniques of crafting three dimensional characters, unpredictable plot, unmistakable dialogue, emotive conflict, and self-editing. Dear writer, you will be stretched, pulled, and molded, but the process will enhance your plotting skills. Each session contains exercises to help you shape and strengthen an amazing story. All

Exploring Characterization: Worthy characters transform our stories from ideas to living, breathing story players with the ability to live on in the reader’s mind long after the book is finished. This session shows the writer how to create a character with strong inner and outer motivation, and that translates to a reader vicariously living the story adventure.

Exploring Plot: Story is a living, breathing organism. It’s fresh, intimate, exciting, and a thrilling accounting of someone’s struggle with the pressures of their world to reach a goal or solve a problem. This session shows how to make a plot work: how it’s developed, point of view, how to overcome obstacles, and how to increase stakes. We’ll cover the sagging middle and how to ensure an antagonistic setting.

Exploring Emotion: To ensure the reader steps into the pages of a powerful story, the writer incorporates various techniques related to emotion. Powerful page-turning and dynamic novels are bathed in undeniable emotions and are evident in everything the character says, thinks, and does. This session shows the writer how to create emotion in every sentence, every line—creatively.

Exploring Dialogue: The challenge to meet the criteria for dialogue shouts impossible without a careful analysis of behavior. Human traits must be visible—emotional, complex, and unique. The ability to communicate fits into all three areas. This session shows how to create memorable dialogue that’s fresh, unique, and in character.

Exploring Self-Editing: This session shows the writer how to self-edit like a pro. Rules, guidelines, and a bit of polish helps the writer create an incredible story.

Yvonne Ortega
Speaker, Author, Counselor, Teacher
AWSA Certified Coach

Yvonne is the author of four books. She has a Master of Education in Counseling. Her background as a licensed professional counselor, licensed substance abuse treatment practitioner, and clinically certified domestic violence counselor gives her a unique perspective on the heart of women. Her counseling work in jails, prisons, and outpatient services adds depth and humor to her presentations, as do her years of teaching mostly high school and college Spanish.

LL6 – Speak with Power, Passion, and Polish (Wednesday 2:30 – 4:30)
If you fear speaking in public, you’re not alone! Gain confidence and tips from Yvonne’s personal examples and a professional model to:

Workshop 1D – Writing to Heal (Thursday, 2:15 – 3:05)
In an imperfect world with imperfect people, you will experience harm, heartache, and hurt. These struggles become the foundation of processing your experiences to help others. Writing can jumpstart the healing journey. Yvonne reveals her own experiences to show how you, too, can share personal stories and:

2D – Writing About Trauma (Thursday, 5:15 – 6:05)
Learn to assess where you are on your healing journey and readiness to write for others. Once you’re healed from the trauma in your life, you can write to help others not only survive but thrive. Yvonne draws on personal and shared anecdotes and the timeless truths of God’s Word to help you:

Sandy Kirby Quandt
Blogger, Devotional Writer

Sandy is an inspirational writer and blogger, former elementary school educator, and follower of Jesus with a passion for history and travel. Twice weekly you can find words of encouragement and hope on her blog at She has written numerous articles and stories for publications both print and online. Many of her devotions appear in Worthy Inspired's The Wonders of Nature, and So God Made a Dog. Her devotions also appear in Guideposts' devotional book, All God's Creatures 2023, and the upcoming 2024 and 2025 editions, along with stories in several other Guideposts’ books. Multiple years she placed in the Children's/Young Adult Fiction category in the Annual Writer's Digest Writing Competition. She also won first place awards for her Flash Fiction, Picture Book, and Middle Grade work. Sandy wrote two young adult historical fiction novels set in eastern Kentucky, a contemporary middle grade novel based on the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II, and a children’s non-fiction book on the women of Tuskegee. Each book is looking for the right publisher.

 4D – Write for Guideposts Devotional Books (Friday, 5:15 – 6:05)
Dream of seeing your byline in a Guideposts devotional book? Then join me as we explore various elements Guideposts editors look for. We’ll discuss how to share a first-person anecdote that draws readers into a spiritual takeaway, without being preachy. We’ll discuss ways to take everyday moments and pull spiritual lessons from them in a relatable way. We’ll discuss how to tell a compelling story with a spiritual takeaway in 300-375 words. You’ll leave with a better understanding of what Guideposts looks for in their devotional books. All

Workshop 6A – Don't Despise the Small Things – Blogging (Saturday, 3:45 – 4:35)
With all the blogs out there, do we really need another one? If you believe God has placed mini messages on your heart to share through your writing, then the answer is yes! Although a few basics will be covered, this IS NOT a workshop about setting up your blog. I’ll leave that to the experts. This workshop is about being faithful in the small things God entrusted you with. In this workshop, we’ll look at elements that make your blog unique. We’ll talk about being consistent, planning ahead, and organization. I’ll share where to find ideas for posts and a few useful guidelines on writing posts that provide value to your readers. You’ll leave with blogging insights to put into practice with your blog. All

Tim Riter    
Author, Pastor, Speaker, Teacher

Tim has served as a preaching pastor for over 20 years. He has a MA in Ministry and MA in Communication. He taught high school English for 11 years including 5 years teaching AP English Language (focus on style and persuasion). He also has 16 years experience as an adjunct professor teaching Composition and Commnicaiton on both the graduate and undergraduate level. Tim has ten royalty published books in Christian nonfiction with total sales of 115,000 that have been translated into eight languages. His blog, Unconventional, has an audience of 15,000.

LL2 – Transitions: Turning Spoken Words into Written Ones (Wednesday, 2:30 – 4:30)
Encouragement for pastors and speakers to turn their biblical knowledge and communication skills ainto effective writing.

Many of us pastors and speakers share a common frustration: we spend hours crafting a fine message to impact people, then an hour later it hides itself in our files…until we move to another church or another conference. So we consider writing devotions and articles and blogs and books with our stuff, not always realizing how different the two forms are, and find little success.

Enough. Let’s discover how to both extend our material and our reach, from someone who’s done that. Tim Riter spent 25 years in located church ministry, reaching maybe 10,000 people and dreaming of writing a book sometime. Then a conference showed him how to do that, and he’s now reached over 400,000 people in magazines, over 115,000 with his books, and over 2 million in newspapers…and is blissfully unknown. He has masters degrees in Communication and Ministry, and has taught composition and communication from the high school level to university graduate level.

He’ll cover some basic principles of communication, the differences between speaking and writing, and explore some practical steps to make that transition. Ready to find out how to re- use your material and touch more people? Then join Tim in the Learning Lab “Transitions.”

3B – Excellence in Writing: Four Painful Steps (Friday, 2:15 – 3:05)
Examines four basic steps to improve your writing. Includes clarity, power, imagery, audience orientation.

Workshop 6B – How Poetry Improves Prose (Saturday, 3:45 – 4:35)
Learn how basic aspects of poetry can be translated into our prose writing for greater beauty and effect. I to A

Robert N. Ruesch
Author, Speaker, Chaplain, Humorist

Robert grew up in a paradise called Estes Park.

He started his writing career writing with Bethany Press in 1968. Since then, along with a career at the YMCA of the Rockies, he is blessed with articles in emergency medical magazines, Workamper, several local, regional, and national newspapers on various Christian subjects. His hobbies are people watching, serving others and giving grace with every step. (And he loves dark chocolate.)

Today, Robert continues to write articles, and has three new books in various forms of production. He and his lovely wife, Barbara, live in Littleton, Colorado.

Workshop E9 – Practical Goal Setting for Procrastinating Writers (Wednesday, 5:00 – 5:50)
OK, I finally got around to writing the description of this seminar, but maybe I should get some coffee first. No, I need to check email. Nope, I just need a nap! Does this sound familiar to you? We all procrastinate, but what if you had just a few practical skills to keep you on task? Roy and I will present three (3) practical steps to getting your writing in gear. Easy, peasy. We will even have seminar notes and personal stories to share about how we have put off what God is calling us as writers to do. So many things can and will block the privilege and honor of being called to write. Time to unblock and get started! We will be at the seminar, will you? Don’t put off today what you can regret not doing. WRITE On! ALL

Shawn Smucker    Unable to be with us
Award-winning Novelist
Writing Course, The Nine Month Novel!

Shawn writes award-winning novels and collaborates with others to help them write and release their own books into the world. He produces a podcast with his wife Maile called The Stories Between Us, where they host conversations about creativity, writing, and family life. 

Maile and Shawn teach a nine-month, comprehensive fiction-writing course that includes weekly videos and interviews with industry professionals, all to help you write your novel.

Shawn and Maile live with their six children on James Street in Lancaster, PA.

1C – Plot that Doesn't Plod (Thursday, 2:15 – 3:05)
Three ways to liven up your story.

5C – Free Indirect Style: Ditching lst Person for Close 3rd (Saturday, 2:00 – 2:50)

Dr. Craig von Buseck
Author, Speaker –

From webcasts to television and radio, and from conferences and churches to boardrooms, Dr. Craig von Buseck has been in the public eye for more than 35 years. As a sought-after keynote speaker, he has taken the stage across America and overseas. Craig is an award-winning, multi-published author. His most recent book is Telling the Truth: How to Write Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Journalism from Regent University. 

Keynote – The Power of Telling True Stories (Friday, 10 am)
Is our desire for stories merely a means of escape, or is there more power in the telling of stories than perhaps we have known? Craig explores emerging research to help writers understand the power of story - and then harness this knowledge in the writing of dynamic narrative nonfiction and memoir. Building on the theories of storytelling, he will provide practical instruction on the art and craft of telling true stories as narratives.

Continuing Session 6 – How to Write Narrative Nonfiction and Memoir 
Taken from his new book, Telling the Truth,
this will be an in-depth survey of narrative nonfiction and memoir, while also discussing the related genres of biography and historical fiction. During three one hour sessions we will examine these topics:

Certified Writing Coach, AWSA
Author, Speaker


Karen writes to help families thrive and loves to let creativity splash on the pages she writes. She’s a certified writing and marketing coach, international speaker, former television host, and award-winning author of more than 30 books for women, children, military, and families. She’s sold more than 1,000 articles for more than 60 periodicals. She writes for The Write Conversation Blog and, and serves as a researcher for documentary biblical archeology film maker Tim Mahoney. She’s also a grandma and loves adventure.

As a writing/marketing coach Karen helps writers move forward in writing books and helps them develop unique plans for marketing their books.

Endorsement: “I left our meeting so blessed and encouraged. It means so much to me to have what feels like an action plan. I want you to know that I definitely trust you!” ~ Deb Dufek

Pre-conference Zoom Meetings – Developing a Great Nonfiction Pitch (Date, time, and link to be provided to registered conferees) 
Make the best pitch to not only grab an editor’s attention to help get a contract, but to start developing the marketing (tweaking a pitch to focus on the reader flow from the original pitch). Karen Whiting, author of 30 plus traditionally published books, will provide individual help to polish each person’s pitch. An effective pitch will, in 30 seconds:

Continuing Session – Developing a Unique Marketing Plan
Polish your pitch into a power statement that shows the purpose, target audience, benefits, and uniqueness of your book idea, in one sentence. Develop a unique marketing plan that builds your platform and utilizes your strengths. This includes identifying how to reach your target audience, coordinate promotional efforts, follow a promotional timeline, use a spreadsheet to track marketing, and choose where to invest your efforts for maximum impact. We can also discuss how AI can help you in the marketing process. 

Marjorie Wingert 
Writer, Speaker

Walking by faith, not by sight is Marjorie’s mantra, whether through encouraging parents, equipping women, or connecting children through her writing, music, or speaking. Rather than viewing her blindness as a disadvantage, she considers it a platform on which to proclaim faith, hope, and love. As an author and songwriter, her children’s music album and books reflect her passion to reach the next generation for Christ in fun and engaging ways. Her debut children’s book and music album, Meet Mr. Caleb and Sing Along With Mr. Caleb, prepared her for her collaborative work on the Cornerstone book series. In her blog, Prayer Over Our Children, Marjorie encourages parents and grandparents to pray Scripture over their little ones. She also candidly discusses the joys and challenges of parenthood, life with a disability, and everyday issues women face in today’s culture. Marjorie’s mission is to equip parents to raise their children up in the Lord while also empowering women in their walks with Jesus. She is the founder of Women Victorious speaking ministries, wife to her husband of over two decades, and mom to a vivacious elementary schooler. 

Workshop 4E – Equip, Engage, and Empower Children to Stand Against the Culture Clash with Marjorie Wingert (Friday 5:15 – 6:05)
When your biblical values vanish from public view, when Christian morality is attacked, and when the world calls good evil and evil good, what are Christians called to do? Stand, Speak, and Write! No longer can we remain fearful observers sheltering in place. With progressive ideologies targeting our children, we must not be silent. Learn ways to arm children with spiritual weapons through the power of God’s truth so they will stand in the face of opposition. “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love” (1 Cor. 16:13-14 NIV).