Faculty and Workshops

Keynote by New York Times Bestselling Author, Tosca Lee

Release the Fear; Release the Fire: Writing for an Audacious God.

Tosca Lee is the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of ISCARIOT, THE LEGEND OF SHEBA, DEMON: A MEMOIR, HAVAH: THE STORY OF EVE, and the Books of Mortals series with New York Times bestseller Ted Dekker (FORBIDDEN, MORTAL, SOVEREIGN). A notorious night-owl, she loves watching TV, eating bacon, playing video games and football with her kids, and sending cheesy texts to her husband.

Firstborn, the sequel to her thriller, The Progeny, comes out in May 2017. Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University.

Workshops and One-on-Ones with Industry Professionals

Nadine Brandes, Editor/Author 

Writing for the YA MarketIn this workshop we’ll explore everything you need to know about the books, readers, industry, and marketing behind the Young Adult genre, and discuss why it’s important to pour into these readers (and writers) of tomorrow.

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination Her debut novel, A Time to Die, won the Carol Award while both it and the sequel finaled for the Christy Award. She’s been known to eat an entire package of Oreos by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living and other worlds soaked in imagination. When she’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing novels, she and her hubby are out chasing adventures.

Twila Belk, Author/Speaker 

Say It with HumorA touch of humor can help get your message across in a fun and memorable way. Learn about the benefits of using humor, where to find it, and how to incorporate it in your writing and speaking.

Ten Things that Separate the Pros from the AmateursLearn steps to take and habits you can develop that will make you stand out like a pro.

Twila Belk, aka The Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, is a writer and speaker who loves braggin’ on God. She enjoys laughing and promoting laughter, but even more than that, she’s passionate about shining the light on her amazing Lord. Twila works full-time with veteran author Cecil Murphey and has written or co-written six books and contributed to several others. Her newest title is Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence and Purpose (February 2015).

Debra L. Butterfield, Editor, Cross River Media

Determining the Best POV Character for Your StoryThe best POV for a story isn’t always your main character. And it isn’t just about using first person or third person. Using The Princess Bride, I examine the basics of POV, but then take a deeper look into the characters of the story and how each character’s POV affects the story you tell.

Debra L. Butterfield is the author of Carried by Grace: a Guide for Mothers of Victims of Sexual Abuse. She has contributed to numerous anthologies as well as magazines that include CBN.com, Susie, Live, The Vision, and On Course online. She is a freelance editor and the editor for CrossRiver Media Group publishing. She lives in Missouri.

Nancy Kay Grace, Award-Winning Author/ Speaker

Getting Your Feet Wet with BloggingIn this workshop, Nancy Kay Grace will teach some first steps in blogging, minimizing the fear factor for tech challenged writers. Topics covered will be: how online writing is different from writing for print; what you need to create a blog; simple guidelines for Search Engine Optimization; elements of a blog post.

Nancy Kay Grace is a speaker and award winning author of The Grace Impact. She has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, magazines, and devotional compilations.

 Jon Hopkins, Author/Pastor

How to Keep Writing in the DarkWriters communicates stories of conflict, loss, and love with a hope of shedding God’s light in a dark world. During storms, hardships, trials, and losses we show others where God is. Have you experienced a dark time? In this workshop, Jon gives a message of testimony and encouragement, and how to keep writing in the dark.

Jon Hopkins has twenty-four devotions published in the NIV Boy’s Bible (Zondervan  2012), is published in five anthologies and has written many articles. A licensed pastor, his experience includes twelve years as a psychiatric youth care coordinator, ten years as a hospital chaplain, twenty years as a church youth pastor, and ten years as a secondary school teacher. Jon’s historical novel, The Princes of Albion was published in 2016.


Sally Jadlow, Award-Winning Poet

Another Look at PoetryCome join us and learn fun poetry forms you may have never tried before. Find new ways to expand your creativity. Sally’s book Sonflower Seeds won the Best Book of Poetry award.

Sally Jadlow teaches creative writing to adults and children. Poetry, historical fiction, devotions, and inspirational short stories are among her favorite writing genres. Her first book, Sonflower Seeds, won Best Book of Poetry in 2002 at the Oklahoma Writers Federation. Her work has appeared in many Cup of Comfort books, Guidepost books, and literary journals such as Mid-America Poetry Review and Kansas City Voices Magazine.

Susan King, Associate Editor, Upper Room Devotional

Susan KingTurning Personal Experience into a Devotional Message : A workshop focused on the three essential elements in an effective devotional. Included will be information about the devotional market in general as well as specialized writing for The Upper Room, the world’s largest daily devotional guide.

Style: The Key to Excellence in WritingDo you want to write with such sparkle and verve that you’ll knock the socks off editors? Do you want them to be falling all over themselves to publish your submission and clamor for your future submissions? A crash course in excellent writing for any genre.

For over 22 years, Susan King has served with The Upper Room magazine.  Also for over 27 years, she taught English and feature-writing classes at Lipscomb University, Biola University, and Abilene Christian University. Formerly, she served as book editor and radio-program producer/on-air talent for The Institute of Scriptural Psychology, wrote magazine features as a freelance writer, and functioned as a seminar facilitator in leadership and group dynamics.

Alex Marestaing, Author/Speaker

New Voices – Writing Beyond the Walls of the ChurchIn a cultural landscape that seems to be growing darker, God is calling new creative voices to bring His hope to the world in unique ways. This talk is meant to encourage artists and writers to step outside the walls of the church and use their creative “voice” to reach a hurting generation. In this talk, participants will:

  • be inspired by stories of Christians who are making an impact in the motion picture, publishing, and video game industries.
  • learn how to develop a “voice” that resonates in the culture at large
  • be challenged to face their insecurities, tell their stories, and move forward in the creative direction they feel led in.

Writer’s Road Map: How to Start, and Finish, Your Novel Writing AdventureThis workshop is geared towards writers who are serious about embarking on, and completing, this journey.  From inspiration to destination, this class focuses on six key elements of the novel writing process: planning, outlining, writing, editing, pitching, and time management (so that it can all get done). By sharing what’s worked for him, and what hasn’t, Alex hopes that writers will leave the class with a novel writing “roadmap” of their own.

Alex Marestaing has worked on creative projects for media outlets such as The Walt Disney Company, Lego, Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins and The Los Angeles Times.  Alex’s latest YA novel, I’m Nobody: The Lost Pages received an honorable mention at the London Book Festival and was nominated as a finalist for the 2014 Epic Awards by the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition. Beyond the youth market, he’s written a wide variety of nationally published articles and has covered soccer in Europe and the U.S. for Sports Spectrum Magazine and Yanks Abroad.

Anne Rauth, LinkedIn Advisor

Jesus would be on LinkedInLinkedIn is the largest professional online marketing tool, and you need to be on it. Join Anne Rauth as she leads you through your LinkedIn profile step by step. Feel free to bring your laptop, or listen to the overall presentation, then launch from home.  Anne knows what it takes to get your profile to “All Star” status in no time.

Anne Rauth is new to writing for publication, but well-seasoned in the fields of marketing, promotion, and advertising. She has worked in the Advertising and Hallmark Hall of Fame divisions of Hallmark cards, as well as at other Fortune 500 companies, including H&R Block, managing national promotions and sponsorships.


Rita Rocker, Author/Speaker

Rita RockerThe Enthusiastic SpeakerThe Most Powerful Way to Bring Life to Your Book is by Who? You, the Enthusiastic Speaker! The best partner to your fantastic writing ability is being able to promote your book and its contents in front of the fans of your particular genre. We will discuss tips and techniques to enable you to speak as an author to promote your work…and to do it well!

Rita Rocker is a national inspirational and educational speaker, international published author, communications and image specialist, career consultant, and Mistress of Ceremonies with Transformation Academy, LLC.  She inspires individuals to excel while providing life-transforming and confidence-building skills for professional organizations, corporations, youth programs and college students, at leadership conferences and women’s retreats. Rita has appeared on national television and radio talk shows on self-esteem and communication. Rita’s professional background is in corporate training, human resources and non-technical project management.

Nancy Sharp, Award Winning Children’s Author

Writing and Publishing for the Children’s MarketChildren’s author N. L. Sharp shares tips and resources for writing and publishing books for readers at the elementary level (ages 6-12). The author of both picture books and novels, Sharp has found success publishing both traditionally and through self-publishing, and shares her experience and expertise in both arenas.

Golden Sower nominee Nancy Sharp has found success both traditionally and through self-publishing. Sharp created her own company, Prairieland Press, to publish and market her books, and is also the Nebraska Novel Retreats coordinator for Middle-Grade and Young Adult authors. Nancy as she shares her twenty years of knowledge and experience.

Jennifer Slattery, Editor/Acquisitions Manager, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas Women’s Fiction 

Avoiding Story DeflatorsA look at common ways authors weaken their stories and how they can avoid them. Vivid descriptions can add life to a story, but an over-abundance of details can slow it down and distract from the action. Dialogue can zing between characters, and action beats, when used well, can reveal tone, character, and increase tension. In this class, Jennifer shares wisdom she’s gleaned as a Lighthouse editor to help students write with intention and skill.

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for Crosswalk.com, and devotions for Internet Café Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Author RJ Thesman, Certified Life/Writing Coach

Setting and Reaching Your Writing GoalsAre you ready to reach your writing goals, but you’re not sure how to begin? Learn how to work smarter and overcome the distractions that sabotage forward progress. Be aware of the 4 S’s that may keep you from reaching your goals. Discover the timeline that produces results and learn how to focus on the goals you want to accomplish.

RJ Thesmais a Certified Life Coach with a specialty in Communications. She loves to help writers birth their words. Thesman is the author of the popular Reverend G series and “Sometimes They Forget” – essays and meditations for caregivers. She has published over 700 articles and her work has appeared in 14 anthologies. Thesman enjoys teaching workshops, speaking at various venues, reading, gardening and cooking – especially anything with blueberries.

Lee Warren, Author/Editor

Writing as a Business – Creating a Plan for SuccessDon’t overlook the business of writing until it comes time to record your income and pay taxes. Get ahead of the game with this workshop. Learn some basics about treating your writing as a business that will help you move forward with confidence.

What You Need to Know About MemoirsYou are working on a memoir because you lived through a harrowing or unique experience and you think your story will benefit others. The truth is, the CBA is not as open to memoirs as the ABA. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a publisher for your book. It does mean you need to know how to make your memoir unique. That’s what we’ll talk about in this workshop.

Multi-published author/editor Lee Warren is also a freelance journalist. He has written hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines. He has also authored multiple contemplative essay and devotional books. He has written thirteen books. Readers call his devotional books encouraging, inspiring and thoughtful, and his essays vulnerable, open, honest, engaging, insightful and thought-provoking.

Jay West, Author/Pastor

Willing to Yield to the Write of Way: “Yield” means to give the right of way when driving. It’s also a farming term used to describe the size of a crop.  So when we Yield to God, He brings a Yield back to us. This workshop teaches how to Yield when God prompts us. Access God’s fresh anointing, accomplish the job, and see the fruit of our labor return to us in a Yield.

Jay West has been a pastor for nearly 40 years, plus a motivational speaker to over 1700 venues. He is the pastor of Kingdom Encounters, and the Nebraska Representative for the United States National Prayer Council. Jay is currently writing his 5th book and working on a children’s book with his wife Diane.

Brooke Williams, Author/Radio & TV Interview Advisor

How to Get (and Give!) Radio and TV Interviews: Authors, do you want local publicity? Tune in to Brooke Williams’s presentation. This former radio announcer, producer and script writer’s expertise might be just what you need to get into the limelight.

Brooke Williams is a sleep-deprived stay at home mom/freelance writer/author. She has a background in radio and TV broadcasting, but left that career to stay home with her children and write. She specializes in romantic comedy and some of her titles include: “Accept this Dandelion,” and “Mamarazzi.”

Ben Wolf, Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Splickety Publishing Group

Writing Flash Fiction that Sells:  Splickety’s specialty,flash fiction, which is defined as 1000 words or less. Attendees will learn what makes a flash fiction story great (elements like plot, structure, conflict, character development, etc.) and how to condense everything into such a small amount of words. By the end of the presentation, attendees will know what it takes to write compelling flash fiction, will know where they can submit their fiction, and will hopefully do so as one step in their journey toward publication on a grander scale (i.e. a novel).

Selling Yourself to Editors and Agents: Did you know it’s possible to get an editor or an agent in your corner before they ever see a single word of your writing? Make an impression they won’t soon forget. Learn how to present yourself in such a way that agents and editors will be attracted to you right away by employing proven sales techniques and a bit of creativity.

Ben Wolf founded Splickety Publishing Group (SPG) to meet the needs of busy folks like him: people who appreciate great fiction but lack the time to read. SPG offers three quarterly flash fiction magazines: Splickety (multi-genre), Havok (speculative), and Splickety Love (romance). Ben’s novel Blood for Blood won the 2015 Cascade Award. It asks, “What if a vampire got saved?” His debut children’s book, I’d Punch a Lion in His Eye for You, is a 2016 Cascade Award finalist.

Rose Ross Zediker, Author

Put Your Manuscript on a DietSlim your manuscript down with tight writing using strong verbs and nouns, eliminating unnecessary adjectives and adverbs.

Multi-published author and RITA finalist, Rose Ross Zediker, writes contemporary and historical inspirational romances and has over one hundred publishing credits in the Christian magazine genre for children and adults. Her titles have appeared on ECPA bestseller lists and been finalists for the RITA, National Reader’s Choice, Booksellers Best and Book Buyers Best award contests.

Groundbreaking Skype One-on-Ones

Sherri Langton, associate editor of The Bible Advocate and Now What!

Phone one-on-ones

Bold Vision Books acquisition editor Gloria Penwell 

Standard editor Duane Brush

Professional photos by award-winning photographer Pat Mingarelli.

Discuss publishing options with Laree Lindburg,
Owner & President of
EMoon Publishing

Book a session with writing coach RJ Thesman to shape–or reshape–your writing career.

Enjoy music by Jessica Angelique and Luke Reelfs

Jessica Angelique has opened for national recording artists including Plumb, Mark Schultz, Unspoken, Jamie Grace, and Seventh Time Down.
Luke Reelfs is changing the face of hip hop with his positive messages and impactful lyrics.

Click Here to see the schedule.
Click Here to register.

Our 2017 Annual Conference Sponsors include:

       eMoon Publishing   Custom Computing CorporationA&P Virtual Enterprises, Inc.

100.7 The FishKCRO 660AM

Nancy Grace   Angela D. Meyer