Speakers & Events


We have a great lineup for you at CWCL 2018! Below, you'll find short bios of some of our presenters this year.

Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, a prominent Marian priest, exhibits an unmistakable zeal for the priesthood and devotion to Our Lady. He is a well known conference speaker on Divine Mercy and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He speaks passionately about these topics in his moving conversion story. He is the editor of two books: The Virgin Mary and Theology of the Body and The Immaculate Conception in the Life of the Church. He has also authored seven books: Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina, No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy, Under the Mantle: Marian Thoughts from a 21st Century Priest, Marian Gems: Daily Wisdom on Our Lady, Mary of Nazareth: The Life of Our Lady in Pictures, Rosary Gems: Daily Wisdom on the Holy Rosary, and Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon.

Carolyn Astfalk resides in Hershey, Pennsylvania with her husband and four children. She is the author or the contemporary inspirational romances Stay With Me and Rightfully Ours (Full Quiver Publishing) and Ornamental Graces. Carolyn is also a blogger, Catholic Mom contributor, a Catholic Teen Books author, Today's Catholic Teacher contributor, and has been a Catholic Writers Guild member and Seal of Approval Committee volunteer since 2013.

Mary Beth Baker is Senior Acquisitions Editor for Our Sunday Visitor. Over the years she has worked with hundreds of authors from initial proposal to final book, she likes nothing better than helping writers find their voice and share their passion with readers. Other favorite things include coffee, traveling, and exploring used book stores.

Celeste Behe is a correspondent for the National Catholic Register, a feature writer for Today’s Catholic Teacher, and a longtime contributor to Catholic Digest. Her work has also appeared online at CatholicMom.com. An award-winning Toastmaster, Celeste was a featured presenter in the 2015 Catholic Conference 4 Moms.

Karen Kelly Boyce Author of the award-winning children’s series, Sisters of the Last Straw, Karen Kelly Boyce has been writing both novels and children’s books for thirteen years. She lives on a New Jersey farm with her retired husband. She has two grown children and two grandchildren who inspire her storytelling.

Michelle Buckman is the award-winning author of seven novels and a longtime freelance editor. Her writing explores the darker emotions of life--working through tragedies of marriage, life, and death. Her most recent novel is Turning in Circles.

Amy J. Cattapan is an award-winning author, speaker, and teacher. Her debut novel Angelhood has been an Amazon bestseller and won multiple awards. Her second novel, Seven Riddles to Nowhere, has also won multiple awards and tells the story of a boy trying to save his Catholic school from closing.

Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is passionate about sharing the Faith, served as a catechist for thirty years, is a retreat leader, a pilgrimage leader, and an award-winning author of more than twenty-five books. She’s also an award-winning journalist, international speaker, and the EWTN television host and creator of Everyday Blessings for Catholic Moms, Catholic Mom’s Café, and Feeding Your Family’s Soul. Donna-Marie enjoyed a decade-long friendship with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and her spiritual director was Servant of God John A. Hardon, S.J

Invited by the Holy See, Donna-Marie participated in an international congress at the Vatican and received apostolic blessings from St. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI on her books and work and a special blessing from Saint Pope John Paul II for her work on Mother Teresa. In addition to her own TV shows, she has appeared on Fox News, Zenit News, Vatican Insider, and Rome Reports, Vatican Radio, and is a frequent guest on EWTN's Bookmark, Women of Grace, and Sunday Night Prime, as well as on national radio and television. Her memoir is entitled The Kiss of Jesus.

Matty Dalrymple is the author of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels The Sense of Death and The Sense of Reckoning and the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers Rock Paper Scissors and Snakes and Ladders (2018). Matty lives with her husband and their three dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is the setting for The Sense of Death and Rock Paper Scissors. They enjoy vacationing on Maine, where The Sense of Reckoning takes place, and Arizona, the setting for  Snakes and Ladders​. Matty is a member of Mystery Writers of AmericaSisters in CrimeInternational Thriller Writers, and the Brandywine Valley Writers Group.

Regina Doman is a Catholic wife, mother, author and editor. As an author, she has written the Fairy Tale Novels, a series of books for teens and adults that places fairy tales in modern settings with Christian themes interwoven. Her only picture book Angel in the Waters has sold over 150,000 copies.  Regina and her husband Andrew live in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley on a homestead with their children. To the question, “How do you manage to get it all done?” Regina responds, “What makes you think I get it all done?”

Colleen Duggan is a popular writer for Catholic media. Her work has appeared in both Catholic Digest and RTJ's Creative Catechist magazine. For two years she blogged bi-monthly for CatholicDigest.com, and her articles have also appeared online at notable sites such as Catholic Exchange, CatholicMom.com, Faith and Family Live, and RTJ’s Creative Catechist.

Currently she is a monthly columnist for Integrated Catholic Life, a website which garners four million visitors a year and has over 500,000 Facebook fans. She also is a regular contributor to Aleteia. Most recently, she is the author of Good Enough Is Good Enough: Confessions of an Imperfect Catholic Mom.

Karina Fabian is a founding member of CWG, always recognized by her black fedora. She's a wizard at writing--mostly known for science fiction and fantasy, but also writes devotionals.

Marge Fenelon is an award-winning author, journalist and speaker. She's written several books on Marian devotion and Catholic spirituality, most recently Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace. She appears weekly on Relevant Radio's Morning Air Show and frequently guests on many other Catholic radio and television programs.

Cathy Gilmore, founder of Virtue Works Media, is a virtue advocate, award-winning children’s author, and educator. She has a decade of experience as a marketing and retail merchandising professional. Virtue Works  Media promotes virtue-rich fiction, biographies and memoirs in order to energize virtue in the habits of children, teens and adults. Follow Cathy @PowerofParable.

Donna Heckler is a global marketing executive. Recognized as a thought leader in brand and marketing strategy, she is co-author of the book The Truth About Creating  Brands People Love. Ms. Heckler is a Catholic speaker, author, advisor and corporate  executive who has been blessed with a prominent career for companies such as Energizer, Ingersoll-Rand and others.

Lisa Hendey is the founder of www.CatholicMom.com and the author of several books including A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms, The Grace of Yes and the Chime Travelers children's fictions series.  Lisa hosts two podcasts and is a frequent radio and television guests.  She speaks and writes internationally and resides in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Ellen Gable Hrkach is an award-winning author, publisher, editor, marketing director, self-publishing book coach, speaker, book reviewer, and Marriage Preparation instructor. She is the mother of five adult sons,  past president of the Catholic Writers Guild, and lives in Pakenham, Ontario Canada with her husband.

Mary Ann Hutcherson is the Retail Specialist for CMN.  Before joining CMN Mary Ann was the manager of the St. Marello Bookstore in Madera California. Mary Ann assisted with the building and managing of the 2600 square foot store for over 6+ years.  Prior to that she had her own consulting business where she assisted a client build a secular bookstore from ground up.  Prior to that she worked for over 30+ years for many of the major retailers in numerous positions.  In 2015 Mary Ann retired to St. Louis and enjoys her life there with her husband, her very large extended family and her parish community.

Virginia Lieto is a professor of Theology at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, where she also obtained her Masters in Pastoral Theology. In addition to teaching, and public speaking, she is the author of “Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity – Finding Patience,” a Seal of Approval recipient.

Nicole Loughan is the author of the best-selling Saints Mystery Series. Her first book, "To Murder a Saint" was selected as one of the best genre fiction titles of 2014 by Writer's Digest. Nicole has four novels to her credit, one children's book and is the Editor in Chief of Happenings Media.

Kelly Mantoan is a wife, mother, special needs parent, writer and resistant washer of dishes. She created a planner, The Best Laid Plans for other moms trying to stay organized, and a retreat book, A Worthy Reception based on Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. She blogs at This Ain't the Lyceum and is frequently featured  on The Mighty.

Carmela Martino holds an MFA in writing for Children and Young Adults and has taught writing classes at the College of DuPage since 1998. Her middle-grade novel, Rosa, Sola, and her young-adult novel, Playing by Heart, have both received the CWG Seal of Approval. Rosa, Sola is also a Catholic Press Association Book Award winner.

Dennis P. McGeehan has found paying work writing for magazines, websites, and as an editor for books and websites.

Lisa Mladinich is a Catholic wife and mom; a television host for Shalom World TV; a bestselling, award-winning author; and a life coach dedicated to helping her clients achieve their dreams. She is a regular contributor to Relevant Radio, and has appeared on EWTN television and radio, CatholicTV, Sirius XM radio, and many other Catholic networks. Lisa speaks across the country on authentic beauty and aging, conversion, Mary as a role model, holy friendships, and praying with children. Her original webinars on authentic beauty for teenage girls can be found at homeschoolconnectionsonline.com. For information on coaching, workshops, and retreats, contact Lisa.

Robin Patchen is a wife, a mother of three, a freelance editor, and an award winning multi-published author of nine novels and novellas. She’s also a writing coach and teacher, not to mention the co-author of a fiction craft book. Whether she’s pouring her heart into her own novels or pouring her expertise into helping other authors with their novels, she loves to see the unending grace of God illustrated through the power and magic of story.

Virginia Pillars, author, speaker, and mental health volunteer wrote Broken Brain, Fortified Faith. Her memoir won a 2017 Selah Award and CWG Seal of Approval. She is a frequent speaker on mental illness and faith, contributed to Grief Diaries Poetry, Prose & More and themighty.com.

Arthur Powers is the author of A Hero for the People (Press 53, 2013 - winner of the 2014 CALA) and The Book of Jotham (Tuscany Press, 2013 - winner of the 2012 Tuscany Novella Prize).  His fiction has appeared in Dappled Things, Liguorian, Open Road Review, Pilgrim, Prime Number, Roanoke Review, St. Anthony Messenger, St. Katherine Review, and many other magazines & anthologies.  He received a Fellowship in Fiction from the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, three annual awards for short fiction from the Catholic Press Association, and numerous other writing honors.  He is editor emeritus of CatholicFiction.net, served (2014-16) as judge for Winning Writers' Tom Howard short story/essay contest, is an advisor to Dappled Things and on the board of The Raleigh Review. 

Heidi Hess Saxton is an acquisitions editor at Ave Maria Press. She has been working professionally in the Catholic publishing business for more than 20 years and has published six books including Advent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She blogs for Catholic writers, caregivers, and adoptive and special needs families at Life on the Road Less Traveled.

Chris Sparks has been with Marian Press since 2013 and served as senior book editor since 2015, working on such projects as Champions of the Rosary by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC, and 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC. Chris is the author of How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

Nancy Ward loves to share her conversion story and give evangelization workshops and retreats based on her DVD Sharing Your Faith Story. She contributed to the award-winning The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion. She facilitates two critique groups and serves on the Catholic Writers Guild Board. Find her at nancyhcward.com and JoyAlive.net.

Joe Wetterling is a professional educator, homeschooling dad, and writer. He's appeared at national conferences, both secular and religious, speaking on education, technology, and philosophy. Joe writes online for New Evangelizers. He's taught in Holy Apostles MOOC program and for the Dominican Institute. He's a member of the Militia Immaculata and current President of the Catholic Writers Guild.

Gary Zimak is the author of several books, including A Worrier’s Guide To The Bible, From Fear To Faith and Stop Worrying & Start Living. He is a frequent speaker at parishes and conferences across the country and is recognized as the leading Catholic speaker on the topic of overcoming anxiety. In addition, Gary is the creator and host of Spirit In The Morning on Holy Spirit Radio in Philadelphia, a regular guest on EWTN TV and Radio and the Director of Parish Services for Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Church in North Wales, PA. Gary also writes for The National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest and Catholic Exchange. He resides in South Jersey with his wife Eileen and daughters Mary and Elizabeth.


We have several new events this year, as well as our most popular activities from past conferences.

Keynote Address

The Power of a Book - Fr. Calloway will kick off this year’s conference with encouragement and inspiration, all delivered in his inimitable style. 

Critique Sessions

Led by experienced authors, our critique sessions are an opportunity to share and discuss work in a small group setting. This year, we're offering two sessions on Tuesday, one each for fiction and non-fiction, and an additional fiction session on Friday.

Game Night

All are welcome to join the fun as Joe emcee's three games: "21 Catholic Questions Wrong", hot-seat trivia for the not-faint-of-heart; Bring Your Own Book*, the game of borrowed phrases; and - fresh off of Kickstarter - The Catholic Card Game, a Cards Against Humanity clone that achieves the impossible: being Catholic and still actually funny.

*Authors, really bring your own book (or any favorite book) for the game!

Luke 24:14 Sessions

Bringing energy and new ideas to the last conference day, the Luke 24:14 sessions are short, quick-paced presentations on a variety of subjects. Using an automated slideshow, presenters will speak over 24 slides, for 14 seconds each. Come join the fun and check out a new, exciting format!

Spirituality Panel

Open to all who are interested. The panel will share their experiences of spirituality as Catholic writers, and invite attendees to share their own, as well.

Meals with Mentors

Take advantage of the fact that some of the best discussions at CWCL happen around the meal table. Sign up for one of our new MEALS WITH MENTORS! Share a meal with one of our experienced CWG members and discuss a topic in that mentor's area of expertise.  Each attendee will be responsible for paying for his/her own meal. Sign up for the MWM of your choice at the CWCL registration booth during the conference.

Editor Panel

Our panelists discuss their experiences, hopes, challenges, top picks and, yes, even some pet peeves that they have discovered in their roles as editors in today’s publishing industry.

Book Sale

For the first time, we will be selling Guild member books on a larger scale at the CMN Tradeshow. Come visit Book 105 to see what's on display, pick up what's for sale, and meet our wonderful volunteers!

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