Bringing History Alive: Jill Eileen Smith
Nov 13 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

The human race has been passing down stories since time began. Whether they are folklore told word-of- mouth or recorded in historical accounts we are fascinated by these oft-repeated tales. But how does a writer go about making an old story new? How do we take a well-known and well-worn tale and make it fresh, make it alive?

Join Jill Eileen Smith as she unpacks some of the ways that she attempts this very difficult challenge. On a foundation of biblical and historical research, discover how a story like David and Goliath can take on new meaning when we understand the details that led up to and surrounded this famous Bible story. Dip your pens into ancient Jericho and learn how Rahab’s story might have been. We will cover the writer’s obligation to truth mixed with creative license and see how a well-researched subject will give the writer a multitude of tools to pull the pieces of some of those hard-to- tell stories together.

Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling, award-winning author of the Wives of King David series, the Daughters of the Promised Land, the Wives of the Patriarchs, and The Loves of King Solomon series.Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Her research has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. When she isn’t writing, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, read stories that take her away, ride her bike to the park, snag date nights with her hubby, try out new restaurants, or play with her lovable, “helpful” cat Tiger. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan.

Twitter @JillEileenSmith

Celebration of Books Fair
Dec 11 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Join us for a festive celebration of books and fellow authors. MCWG authors, along with authors from ACFW-MN N.I.C.E. will display and sell their published works – just in time for Christmas gift giving and holiday reading! Invite friends and readers to meet your colleagues and pick up new books.


Night with a Publisher: Sparkhouse Family Publishers
Jan 8 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

At Sparkhouse Family, we believe faith formation happens in the big moments of life… and the small ones. Bedtime, story time, play time, bath time, any time can be a chance to spark a child’s spiritual wonder and curiosity. Storytelling through picture books and board books is a great way to introduce young children to faith, and it doesn’t have to be boring or preachy to be effective. Come learn best practices of writing faith based books for children from Sparkhouse Family, one of the newest children’s publishing imprints in Minnesota.

Andrew DeYoung

Andrew DeYoung has worked in publishing for more than 10 years as a production editor, project manager, and recently as the director of product development for Sparkhouse Family, an imprint of 1517 Media in Minneapolis. He is the author of a novel for teens, The Exo Project, published by Boyds Mills Press. He lives in Saint Paul with his wife and daughter.

Naomi Krueger

Naomi Krueger has worked in a variety of writing and editorial roles for the past seven years, and is currently a development editor at Sparkhouse Family. Naomi acquires books for children and works closely with writers, illustrators, designers, and other contributors to usher books to publication. She is the author of the board book, I Can Praise God, published by Sparkhouse Family. She lives in Roseville with her husband and son.

Inspiration and Information from Historical Sources: Ellen Jaquette
Feb 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Historic newspapers, diaries, images, maps, and much more are waiting to support your creative writing. Come learn about unique materials to add detail or to inspire your work. We’ll cover digital resources you can access from home, as well as unique historic materials available through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Ellen Jaquette is a reference librarian at the Minnesota Historical Society. She has a law and library degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and previously served as a law librarian at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota before entering the fascinating world of historic materials. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, toddler, two cats, and a dog.

Growing Your Audience with Social Media: KIRK LIVINGSTON
Mar 12 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Every publisher expects their authors to have a platform. Social media is effective for growing a platform when posts, images, and responses are guided by a larger purpose.

We’ll look at attitudes, priorities, and tools for reaching and collecting an audience with the intent to grow a platform. We’ll hone our purpose so we can state it succinctly. We’ll design our social media presence by defining our target audiences, we’ll identify the social media channels where those audiences show up, with practical recommendations on tools, editorial calendars and how to stay sane as a writer.

Kirk Livingston balances responsibilities as a marketing copywriter/president of Livingston Communication, Inc., and as an adjunct instructor at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul and the University of St. Thomas. With degrees in philosophy and theology, he writes and teaches about communication and the intersection of work, craft, and faith.

Why Would You Want an Agent on Your Side?: Cynthia Ruchti
Apr 9 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm

What role do agents play for Christian writers? How important are they in this publishing climate, and at what stage of our writing careers? Do I or will I ever need an agent?

Can an agent make that much of a difference between whether I’m published or not? These questions and more will be answered by Cynthia Ruchti, an award-winning author who has worked with her agent for ten years, and who now also serves as an agent with Books & Such Literary Management, one of the most highly respected and successful agencies in Christian publishing.

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in Hope through her novels, novellas, devotions, and nonfiction, and through speaking for women’s events/retreats and writers’ conferences/workshops. She draws from 33 years of experience writing and producing the 15-minute daily radio broadcast, “The Heartbeat of the Home.

Her books have received recognition from RT Reviewers’ Choice, PW Starred Review, Selah Awards, Christian Retailing’s BEST Awards, CLASSeminars Award of Excellence, Golden Scroll Awards, and more.

She serves as Professional Relations Liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, is a board member of the Deliver Hope Ministry, and is part of the worship team at her church. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five grandchildren.

Publishing Insights: David Sluka
May 14 @ 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm

Publishing Insights: David Sluka

Have questions about traditional publishing and self-publishing? David Sluka, editorial director for BroadStreet Publishing Group, will share insights on the acquisitions process at BroadStreet, as well as answer questions about self-publishing. BroadStreet Publishing Group publishes biographies, adult coloring books, The Passion Translation of the Bible, Christian living, fiction, devotionals, and Bible promise books. BroadStreet also publishes women’s journals, devotional journals, and planners under its Belle City Gifts imprint. Their mission is to create meaningful, inspirational products that share God’s truth with quality, beauty, and creativity.

David Sluka is a writer, speaker, author, and coach who helps leaders prepare, write, and share their expertise and experience in books to expand their influence and multiply their impact. David’s books include What Your Dreams are Telling You: Unlocking Solutions While You Sleep written with Cindy McGill, and Write Your Book: Your Step-By- Step Guide to Write and Publish a Great Nonfiction Book. He has also ghostwritten books for other authors. He is currently the editorial director for BroadStreet Publishing Group. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife and children.

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