Gordon Sauer

Mentor - Fiction

Gordon Sauer received his MFA from Columbia University, where he was a Teaching Fellow. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in Narrative Magazine, Columbia College Today, and Boulevard Magazine. He's taught creative writing at the college level for the past seven years, and he currently directs the Quarry Heights Writers' Workshop here in Columbia and is a reader for the Baltic Writing Residency.


Gordon Kessler

Gordon Kessler

Session: Openings that Hook and Scenes that Keep the Pages Turning—All About Deep Point of View

Gordon Kessler has been writing thriller novels for twenty-­five years and teaching novel writing for nearly as long. With fifteen of his own titles available on Amazon, Gordon has helped over a hundred writers get their work published through editing, formatting, cover design and publishing consultation services. His book Novel Writing Made Simple is considered by many to be an essential reference for both novice as well as experienced writers. He has also conducted dozens of seminars and workshops, as well as been a featured speaker at numerous writers’ conferences.


Connect with Gordon: gordonkessler.com

Gordon Kessler

Eric Praschan

Session: Writer's Block: Symptoms, Side Effects, and Creative Cures and Self-Publishing Q&A

Eric Praschan is the author of the suspense novels, The Burden of SilenceBlind Evil, and The James Women Trilogy, which includes Therapy for GhostsSleepwalking into Darkness, and The ReckoningThe Burden of Silence was awarded first place in the 2016 Open Book Contest of the Unbound Book Festival in Columbia, Missouri. He has been writing suspense fiction for more than 20 years. He holds a B.A. in English and a M.A. in Theological Studies. He has many years of experience in drama, music, teaching and higher education. Eric has served as a fiction writing mentor for the past two years at the Show Me Writer's Masterclass. He currently lives in Columbia, Missouri, with his wife. 

Connect with Eric: ericpraschan.com


Sunday Morning Breakout Session - Getting Hooked and Keeping Up the Pace

-We'll discuss how to hook readers with your opening pages, including character introduction, inciting incident, and the crucial first line/paragraph.

-We'll also discuss tips for developing the flow of your story so it keeps the pages turning, including narrative hooks and character conflict

Catherine Rankovic

Session: I Could Never Writer About That

Catherine Rankovic is a professional book and manuscript editor for BookEval.com, has edited 35 published books, and, using a pseudonym that helped double her income, is a successful freelance writer for online venues. Her creative nonfiction works and poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Boulevard, December, The Iowa Review, Midwestern Gothic, Section 8 and River Teeth, among many others, and she is the author of seven books.  

Catherine has taught and mentored writers at Washington University, the University of Missouri at St. Louis, in the Writer-in-the-Schools program, the St. Louis Writers Workshop, the Washington University Summer Writers Institute, and the Missouri Writers Guild, and currently teaches in the online MFA program at Lindenwood University, whose director is one of her former students.

What to Expect at Catherine's Roundtable Mentorship Session:


Some of the most eventful moments in your life are known only to you: the affair, the secret goal, the manipulation, the spiritual moment, the vanity, the lie, the secret triumph. How can we describe what's so deeply within us, so secret, that we fear to put it on paper, all the while knowing that this is really what everyone would want to read?

Gerardo Mena

Session: Poetry Off the Page: The Future of Poetry in the Modern Age

Gerardo Mena is a decorated Iraqi Freedom veteran. He spent six years in military Spec Ops with the Recon Marines. He gets frustrated with the pompousness of the short bio but knows that no one would attend his panels and discussions unless he unwillingly brags that he's been published in The New York Times, and Poets & Writers Magazine, and that he has a poetry book out, and that he's performed his work alongside Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Edwards, and other A-list actors. Vogue Magazine said he captivated the crowd at a national fundraising event, but he doesn't understand how because he knows he got way too excited at the open bar beforehand.


Connect with Gerardo: www.gerardomena.com.

Nicholas Maglio

Session: Introduction to Desktop Publishing

Nic Maglio is the Publishing Manager for Mizzou Publishing and has been working with authors since the installation of the Espresso Book Machine in 2009. He has worked with many writers on various projects of all shapes, sizes and genres. His session will cover taking your project to print, including the basics of formatting your work in Word or Adobe InDesign, as well as some things to consider through the process.

Kate Kogut and Jeannie Eddy

Session: Scriptwriting 101

Kate Berneking Kogut

Kate Kogut is a playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, and transmedia storyteller. Additionally, Kogut is a story coach & consultant specializing in the development of the writer’s voice through the craft of scriptwriting. She earned her Ph.D. in Theatre from MU and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Stephens College.


Her plays have been workshopped, read, and produced in California, New York, Chicago, and throughout the Midwest. Kogut wrote and directed her first two short films, 'Nooner' and 'Children Learn,' through her production company, Envelope Sky Productions.

Jeannie Eddy

Jeannie Eddy has been writing professionally since her first national article in Bride’s magazine. From there, she pursued journalism, working for local newspapers such as the Columbia = Business Times. Then was published in six anthologies, two of which were honorably mentioned in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, a published historical novel, and she currently writes and edits scripts and novels, with two novels being reviewed at major publishing houses for possible publication. Within the last year, she has had her first movie produced and shot in Vancouver, and attended The Great American Pitchfest in May to pitch more scripts.

Jim Henry

Session: “Okay, so I wrote my play/screenplay? Now What?”

Jim Henry is an award winning playwright, screenwriter, and actor and a member of the Dramatist Guild of America.

Jim is an actor and writer in the Chicagoland area and is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Literary Manager at Chicago Street Theatre.  Jim is the winner of more than 20 screenplay and playwriting awards. Mr. Henry brings with him an abundance of experience including screenwriting, in fact, he adapted his play The Angels of Lemnos, into a screenplay which won Third Place at the Hollywood Film Festival and was a finalist in the Sundance Feature Film Project two years in a row. He will also be signing copies of his play JelloFish.

Jim is also an award winning actor with numerous theatre credits over the past 25 years.  He is the winner of NIETF’s Best Actor in a Play for three years in a row.


What to Expect at Jim's Roundtable Mentorship Session:

"Many mentors and teachers preach that the toughest task is grinding out the first draft of your play or screenplay, and I whole heartedly agree. But for many writers, the next step is even more daunting.   “What do I do with this pile of pages?” During the Round Table Session, we will journey together through the jungle of Development and Marketing.  We will share experiences and advice on how to successfully navigate your work from the page to the stage."