Members Login using the Login  Button to the right 

Sessions & Speakers 2017

Genre Sessions

PANEL:  Writing for the Inspirational Market

Moderator Melanie Rigney, with Michele Chynoweth, and Cheryl Somers Aubin

Feeling called to write from your soul? You just might be surprised to learn how vast… and varied… the opportunities in the inspirational market are, from devotionals to essays to short stories and novels and more. Learn how to identify where your work fits, how to fine tune your craft, and how to pitch successfully from three women who took two different paths. 

Melanie Rigney writes for Living Faith, the largest  Catholic daily devotional, and is the author or co-author of three books: Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from Our Sisters in Faith and Sisterhood of Saints: Daily Guidance and Inspiration (both Franciscan Media) and When They Come Home: Ways to Welcome Returning Catholics (Twenty-third Publications). Melanie, a former editor of Writer’s Digest, works with writers, publishers and agents through her consultancy, Editor for You, founded in 2003. Find her at and

The author of three contemporary novels full of suspense and romance that bring Old Testament stories in the Bible to life for today's readers, Michele Chynoweth moved from self-publishing to publishing with a small Christian publisher onto success with a larger traditional publisher. Michele is also an inspirational speaker, writing instructor for Cecil College’s Continuing Education program and book coach. More information about Michele and her books is available on her website, or about her consultant services at

​Cheryl Somers Aubin has been writing and publishing for over 25 years, and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, Boston Globe, Foundation Magazine, and other newspapers, magazines, and online journals. She has an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and is the author of the book, The Survivor Tree: Inspired by a True Story. Cheryl teaches memoir writing and is a featured speaker at book festivals, writing conferences, and workshops. She is the nonfiction co-editor for the literary journal Delmarva Review. Cheryl can be reached at

ROBERT BLAKE WHITEHILL  – The Heart of the Thriller: the Interface  of Research and Creativity

The Heart of the Thriller explores the key elements that grab your readers by the collar and drag them from a breathtaking opener to a soul-curdling finish. Aspects include crackling dialogue, shocking set pieces, blistering tempo, action founded in gut-wrenching emotional truth, and how to be your protagonist's worst enemy.  Eastern Shore native Robert Blake Whitehill is an award-winning author of the Chesapeake based Ben Blackshaw Series, with a Book of the Month win from Conversations Book Club for the series opener, Deadrise. A highly rated TV writer for Discovery true crime programs, Whitehill also has screenwriting wins at the Hamptons International Film Festival, the Hudson Valley Film Festival, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Deadrise, Nitro Express, and Tap Rack Bang are all in development as feature films with HatLine Productions.  Image courtesy of

GAIL BARRETT – Writing Romance that Resonates

Everyone likes a love story. Romance novels are the top selling genre in fiction, generating over a billion dollars a year in sales. But what makes a love story resonate? Why do some novels languish in the slush pile while others prompt an editor to make that coveted “call?” The author of fifteen romantic suspense novels shares the techniques she uses to catch the attention of an editor and tug on a reader’s heart.  Gail Barrett is the award-winning author of fifteen romantic suspense novels. A former RITA® finalist, Gail has received countless awards, including the Book Buyer’s Best Award, the Holt Medallion, The National Readers’ Choice Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award for excellence in romantic suspense, and Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Golden Heart. She lives in Hagerstown, Maryland. For more information, visit her website:

GLEN FINLAND – True Lies: What Is Remembered in Memoir Writing

The Chinese claim there are three kinds of truth: There is my truth, your truth, and the truth. Let’s explore how we find the courage to simply say-- this is me looking you in the eye and promising you this is what really happened. This is what is remembered. Glen Finland is a freelance journalist and the author of Next Stop: An Autistic Son Grows Up, a 2012 Barnes&Noble Discover Pick and Penguin's Book Club choice for National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Her essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Family Circle, Revolution, Parenting, American Magazine, Wired, Babble, Autism Speaks and Washington Parents Magazine. A featured autism advocate on radio and TV she is also the mother of three grown sons and a Visiting Writer at American University.  Next Stop is now an audio book, recorded by the author for the National Library Services for the Blind. Reno Productions has optioned the book for a film to begin production in 2017.

KATIE MOOSE – Want to Write a Cookbook? It’s Not as Easy as You Think!

Most people think you take a few recipes and bind them up into a nice little book. This class will teach the basics you have to know.  People collect old family recipes, or ask their mothers or grandmothers for them. However, what you cook may never resemble what they did. Why? Because there were always those “magic ingredients” or measurements they never told you about. The same holds true for those recipes friends give you, or you clip out of the paper. Unless you’re willing to test them, think about them, write about them, or dream how they should really be, it will be impossible to write a cookbook. It’s not as easy as you think.  Cookbook author Katie Moose is the co-author of The Best of Newport; author of Annapolis: The Guidebook, Eastern Shore of Maryland: The Guidebook, God’s Bounty: 365 Days of Inspirational Cooking; Chesapeake’s Bounty, Chesapeake’s Bounty II, New England’s Bounty, Nantucket’s Bounty; and Maryland’s Western Shore: The Guidebook. She is a consultant on international business and protocol. Her hobbies include gourmet cooking, fine wines, history, sailing, genealogy, gardening, theology, and travel.

MINDIE BURGOYNE  – Beyond What I Did on Vacation: An Introduction to Travel Writing

Writers who love to travel will enjoy this session on how to turn your travel experiences into writing that media outlets will pay for and publish. Discover the multiple specializations in travel writing and which ones may fit your style. Also learn about various media outlets that currently publish submissions from travel writing and tips for how to break in to this competitive genre.  Mindie Burgoyne is a travel writer and blogger living in Somerset County, Maryland. She has six books published by The History Press - all focused on the Eastern Shore, and currently writes a travel column for the Delmarva Daily Times. Her travel articles and photographs have been published by CBS News, The Washington Post, National Geographic Television Network, Coastal Style Magazine, What’s Up? Magazines and many online media outlets. She is the former publisher of The Pastoral Press, a religious book publishing company, and she operates the travel blog Email Mindie at

EMILY RICH  Going From Draft to Craft:  Submitting Your Work to Literary Magazines

Publishing your work in a literary magazine is an essential part of building your writer’s resume. But where do you start? In this session, we’ll explore the world of lit-mags, from the big dogs to the small regional publications to the burgeoning online market. You’ll learn how to research markets and determine which ones are right for your work and you’ll get a tutorial on Submittable, the online submissions engine used by most lit-mags and many other markets as well. Finally, you’ll get some insights on common submission mistakes from a seasoned lit-mag editor.  Emily Rich is Deputy Editor of Little Patuxent Review and an editorial advisor for Delmarva Review. She writes mainly memoir and essay. Her work has been published in a number of small presses including Little Patuxent Review, r.kv.ry, Delmarva Review the Pinch and Hippocampus. Her essays have been listed as notables in Best American Essays 2014 and 2015. Her story "Black Market Pall Malls" won the Biostories 2015 War and Peace essay contest.



Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software