2019 Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop Speakers and Topics
(download Speakers & Topics PDF below)
Tim Beals has been president of Credo Communications, a literary agency, and publisher of Credo House Publishers, an independent book publisher, since 2005. He has also been an adjunct professor of publishing, editing, and professional writing at Cornerstone University since 1989. Tim earned his undergraduate degree in English and philosophy at Cornerstone University and then began his publishing career as an editor at HarperCollins Christian Publishing in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He completed a master’s in professional writing from Western Michigan University and later earned his business degree at Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business.
After 25 years of working for other publishers, large and small, Tim started his own companies in the service of authors and readers during a period of rapid change in the publishing industry. As president and publisher, Tim fills his days working closely with authors and publishers, bringing words to life. He also travels worldwide to meet with authors and encourage their craft. Tim is the author or compiler of over a dozen books and Bibles published by Crossway, InterVarsity Press, Tyndale, and Zondervan. Tim is sometimes a coach, sometimes a critic, sometimes a counselor, but always a cheerleader. He believes that a book is less like a product—a thing—and more like a person—even a friend—the unique and irreplaceable offspring of an author’s heart, mind, and soul.
• Publishing from A to Z:
We use case studies to explore traditional publishing, self-publishing and custom publishing, plus the advantages and drawbacks to each. Because control has shifted from publishers to authors in recent years, we discuss: how to decide which approach to take for your next project, the secret to success no matter which publishing option you choose, plus the costs and benefits of each option (in time, money, and opportunity). Keep your project on track with sound counsel from a 38-year publishing veteran.
• Agenting 101: What, Why, When, and How
Who needs an agent? When is a writer ready to seek out an agent? Where do authors go to find the best agent for their writing? What are agents looking for in a writer? A good agent can make all the difference in the world to your writing aspirations. A bad agent can do more harm than good. This workshop will cover everything you need to know about preparing your work for an agent, deciding how, when, and whether to seek an agent, and learning how to successfully work with an agent. You’ll discover what agents do and how they do it, from an insider’s perspective.
• The Business of Writing: Understanding Copyright, Literary Agreements, Book Contracts, and More
What is an ISBN? How can I make sure my work is protected by copyright? What does Fair Use really mean, and how do I avoid being accused of plagiarism? How do I understand a publisher contract? After you’ve mastered the writing craft, then comes the legal and business matters of writing—from starting a writing business to avoiding legal pitfalls. This workshop will answer some basic and a few advanced matters regarding the legal and business side of writing, so you’ll be confident about issues like libel, contract language, and protecting your work against unscrupulous use or theft.
Shelly Beach is co-founder of PTSDPerspectives.org, multiple award-winning author of more than twelve books, and co-author of numerous others. She served as managing editor for the NIV Hope in the Mourning Bible (Zondervan) and also contributed to the Mosaic Bible (Tyndale) and one of three writers for the NIV Stewardship Bible (Zondervan). Shelly is a national speaker for Prison Fellowship and speaks and consults across the nation. She can be found at PTSDPerspectives.org, PTSDPerspectives and Caregiving Journey on Facebook, and ShellyBeachOnline.com.
• Book Architecture
Learn the six key pillars of novel and memoir writing, as well as the key components editors and agents are looking for in nonfiction books.
• Write Loveable Characters
Learn techniques for writing characters your readers will love--and want to read more books about.
Mary Potter Kenyon lives a creative life in Dubuque, Iowa, where she works as program coordinator for the Shalom Spirituality Center. A graduate of UNI and certified grief counselor, Mary is widely published in newspapers, magazines, and anthologies, including eight Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She is the author of seven books, with one on creativity being released by Familius Publishing in early 2020. Mary does public speaking on the topics of writing, grief, and utilizing creativity in everyday life. Learn more at www.marypotterkenyon.com
• Is God Calling You to Write?
How can we prayerfully discern what God has called us to do in our life? Are you a Christian writer, or a writer who is Christian? Would God ever call a Christian to write for a secular market? Mary’s checklist will guide you to prayerfully discern where God is leading you in your writing life and shares concrete examples of how God can speak through your blog post, essay, book, or even a front-page story in the newspaper.
• Mind-mapping for Writers - Mind-map your way to a more productive writing life with this brainstorming technique that utilizes both sides of the brain in creating a diagram around a central topic, igniting ideas and jumpstarting creativity. Vision Board concept that began with a mind-mapping exercise will be demonstrated for those who might wish to participate in an optional Vision Board activity during free time.
• Get with the Program! - Experienced from both sides; a workshop presenter for community colleges and libraries since 2011, and as a librarian responsible for adult programming and now Program Coordinator for a spirituality center, Mary demonstrates how writers can design a workshop or program from their book or topics they are passionate about. Presentation includes a brainstorming exercise to encourage attendees to think outside of the box for programs that can help sell their writing and build up their platform. Attendees have the option of presenting program proposals to Mary for consideration.
Jolene Philo and Anne Philo Fleck are the founders of Literary Midwives. Jolene has authored several books for caregivers & parents of children with special needs. Anne edits author manuscripts and mentors writers through the Literary Midwives book coaching services. She is the creator of the Big Stones First concept. Sharing Love Abundantly in Special Needs Families: The 5 Love Languages® for Parents Raising Children with Disabilities, the book Jolene is co-authoring with Dr. Gary Chapman, will be released in August of 2019. To celebrate, she and Anne are planning a central Iowa Writers’ Staytreat for themselves and others. They and their families live in a multigenerational household in Polk City, Iowa.
• Five Simple Word Tricks for Improved Writing
So many choices: pronouns, possessive nouns, descriptive nouns, descriptive verbs, determiners. Oh my! A simple way to improve writing is by consistently choosing words to help readers create vivid visual images. In this workshop Jolene and Anne demonstrate five simple word tricks to make writing clearer, more specific, and more efficient. Attendees should bring a pen and paper or a laptop and a 200 to 250-word snippet of writing, as time will be provided to practice and apply each trick after it is explained.
Author and speaker Mary Jedlicka Humston’s poetry and essays have been widely published locally and nationally. Through the years, she has won numerous awards. Three poems won at the national and state level in 2018. She’s had a poem published every year since 2005 in the Iowa Poetry Association’s Lyrical Iowa. Thirty poems were published in past years in the Iowa City Press-Citizen newspaper. Another poem was displayed on the 2014 Wall of Poetry in conjunction with the Krakow UNESCO City of Literature. Humston has spoken on such topics as letter writing, poetry, writing, chronic illness, prayer, and Little Free Libraries. She coauthored Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink with Mary Potter Kenyon. She regularly shares her poetry on the Facebook page “Mary Jedlicka Humston.”
• Playing with Poetry
Want to learn how one idea can be transformed into several poems? Different styles will be presented, allowing a “hands-on” opportunity to utilize these exercises with in-session writing time. In addition, please bring several copies of one or two “works-in-progress” to share. (Limit: 20 lines).
Mary E. Knippel, Writer Unleashed, is an inspirational speaker, author of The Secret Artist, and the founder of YourWritingMentor.com. Mary began journaling at the age of 11 and views writing as a powerful companion, advisor, and healing tool. Marriage, raising a family, moving across country…twice…and breast cancer…twice…have given her plenty of journal material and the basis for her memoir as it chronicles the pivotal role creativity played in her recovery from breast cancer. Using her 30 years as a professional journalist, and the power of storytelling, she is on a mission to support writers to be visible, vibrant and prosperous. As the San Francisco Writers Conference Independent Editor Coordinator for the past eight years, she has helped hundreds of aspiring writers gain clarity and confidence in the concept of their particular project and articulate their audience and essence of how their project will change the world. Mary promises that someone is indeed waiting to hear your story! Her website is http://yourwritingmentor.com
• Bead-by-Bead: Inviting Your Secret Artist to Craft your Story
Take a deep dive into your imagination and muse as we tap into the realm of possibility and invite the unconscious voices (the inner critics, who doubt our creativity), to quiet down and just let things happen. Join the ranks of such fellow creatives as Jane Austen stitching up stories while she labored over her needlecraft or Emily Dickinson mixing up lines of poetry along with delicious treats in the kitchen. As you select just the right beads and arrange them in a specific order, your subconscious mind is free to bring to the surface the bits of your story and that secret part of you that wants to be visible yet has felt it wasn’t time to surface. Just as the beads combine to make a unique piece of beadwork expressing your creativity for the world to see, your words craft the story only you can tell…the story of you…to share with the world.
Lyn Vandebrake is an award-winning published writer and photographer. Her work has appeared in Focus on the Family, Homelife, Baptist Press, Alive, Mountain Living, Positive Living, Resource, and others. For a number of years, Lyn was a missionary on the Navajo reservation in Tse Bonita, New Mexico, and Window Rock, Arizona, where she wrote programs for Overcomers as well as other drug and alcohol therapy groups. She has taught Effective Communication - Creative Writing on a college level and wrote the textbook for her class, making it culturally relevant for a diverse student group. When not traveling and travel writing, Lyn’s writing is inspired in her one-room Amish-built log cabin she-shed on a 27-acre Iowa farm with a variety of animals including her donkey, Sugar. Lyn's first book, Escape Place, including the story of her traveling she-shed, a glamper-scamper camper, will be released in June 2019. Lyn’s website is: www.lynvandebrake.com
• Everything I Know About Writing I Learned from My Dog
1) Dig up your hidden talent. Everyone has unique gifts that contribute to their writing. Let's identify yours.
2) Sniff out great story ideas. They’re everywhere; here’s how to find them.
3) Nap in the sun. Daydreaming invites great characters and ideas to come by and sit down with you.
4) Unleash your potential and get published. Specific markets and guidelines for where, when, and how to submit, including greeting card, photograph, artwork and filler submissions.
5) Dog whistles are good. Is your master calling you?
Jonathan Stull is a graduate of Upper Iowa University and The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Jon taught high school for forty years and has read his poems across the state of Iowa. His work has been published in The North American Review, Christianity and Literature, The Briar Cliff Review and many other publications. He was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
• Reading Like a Writer
Writers are readers. What we read can help define who we are, what we find captivating, and inform our writing as well. In our time together, we will discuss the importance of the reading-writing connection. By examining what we have read and why we write, we will make reading lists, and focus on literary passages, to reveal what our true relationship to the word might be.
Aaron Putze. Raised on a crop and livestock farm near West Bend in northwest Iowa, Aaron Putze has always respected and appreciated farmers and the significant role Iowa plays in feeding, clothing and fueling our nation and the world. These passions serve him well as Director of Communications and External Relations for the Iowa Soybean Association. Headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa, the ISA is dedicated to improving the productivity and competitiveness of Iowa’s 42,000 soybean farmers. Aaron earned degrees in communications, public relations and journalism from the University of Northern Iowa and is an accredited public relations practitioner. He’s the author of two books: Destined for Greatness: The Story of Chuck Long and Resurgence of Iowa Hawkeyes Football (published in November 2017) and You Are Destined for Greatness, a collection of inspirational stories as told by notable Iowans representing business, academia, sports and elected office slated for release in May 2019.
• I’ve Been Published. Now What? 10 Practical Tips for Successfully Marketing, Promoting and Selling Your Masterpiece
Researching, writing and editing a book is just the start. Authors must also excel at marketing, promoting and selling. Aaron will get you fired up to get up and move copies of your literary creation. Learn practical and inexpensive tips for increasing awareness and demand for your book by identifying and prioritizing audiences, maximizing earned, social and digital media, developing unique promotions and generating word-of-mouth and buzz!
Arvee Robinson is The Master Speaker Trainer, international speaker, author of Speak Up, Get Clients. She teaches business owners and entrepreneurs how to use public speaking as a marketing strategy so they can attract more clients, generate unlimited leads, and get their message out to the world and make a difference. Arvee has given over 3,500 speeches around the world and has shared the stage with speaking giants, such as Mark Victor Hansen, Tommy Hopkins, Loral Langemeier, and many more. Arvee is the top “How to” trainer in public speaking today. She offers speech coaching, speaker training workshops, and public speaking mastermind programs. Her programs will grow your business and make you money for the rest of your life. Her website is www.arveerobinson.com
• Speak Up: Your Message Matters
Your written message can make a difference in your circle of influence and in the world. You make an even greater impact when you can speak about your message with clarity, confidence and passion. Your voice is one of your greatest marketing tools. Your message matters to others and your mastery in speaking about your message matters as well.
Steven Thompson has published nearly 450 newspaper articles in such papers as the Mitchell County Press, Globe Gazette, The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, and Iowa Farmer Today. In addition, he has been published in many Christian periodicals, including The Christian Communicator, Live, The Gem, Saturday Evening Post, Evangel, The Upper Room and The Lutheran Digest. One of Steve’s favorite motivational axioms: “85% perfect and published is better than 95% perfect and being filed in a drawer.” Steve lives in Osage, Iowa and is active in the Osage Writers Group.
• The What, How and Why of Newspaper and Periodical Writing
Avail yourself of many writing opportunities available in your own community or through smaller publications. Writing for these markets help fine tune writing skills, provide exposure to the public, provide income and can be used later in publishing a book. Learn how to use a writer’s guide to determine markets and what an editor wants, how to write a cover letter or query, and what benefits there are to this type of writing.