Fireside Writer’s Conference

Where:275 South Belmont Road, Paradise, PA in the heart of Amish country:

When: Friday October 22nd from 6:00pm – 9:00pm; Saturday October 23rd 8:00am – 8:00pm

Cost: $125 / person (register before September 1st for $110)

For a registration form, click HERE (if you have problems printing out the form, please email me at shawnsmucker (at) yahoo (dot) com – additionally, if you cannot pay with a check email me and I may have a few other options for you)

This is a brand new conference I’m putting together for this fall. We’ll start with a meal on Friday night, some mingling time to hang out and get to know each other, followed by a poetry reading to get the creative embers burning.  Saturday starts with breakfast at 8:00am followed by various speakers on topics like: The Truth About Your Imagination; Getting Your Blog from 50 – 500 Followers; The Beauty and Pain of Honesty On The Page; and others.  There will be blocks of time for you to go off and write, reflecting on the ideas and themes of the day.

If you are traveling in from out of town you will need to secure your own lodging – I am more than happy to make recommendations based on your need.  One of our sponsors is the Ellmaker House, a beautiful bed and breakfast in Gap, PA.  There are some other wonderful bed and breakfasts in the area, as well as some very affordable motels/hotels.

The following is our planned schedule of events:

FRIDAY 10/22

6:30 – 7:30pm Registration

7:30 – 9:00pm Poetry reading and discussion with poet Gwyn McVay, fireside (weather permitting)


7:30 – 9:00am Registration and breakfast

9:00 – 10:00 Welcome / The Truth About Your Imagination (Shawn Smucker)

10:00 – 11:00 The Beauty and Pain of Honesty on the Page (Andi Cumbo)

11:00 – 12:00 Free-writing and break out sessions with some of the speakers

12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch

1:00 – 2:00pm Getting Your Blog from 50 to 500 Followers (Bryan Allain)

2:00 – 3:00pm From Blog to Book (Q&A with Ira Wagler)

3:00 – 4:00pm Social Media – An Extension of the Real You (Ken Mueller)

4:00 – 4:45pm Free-writing and break out sessions with some of the speakers

4:45 – 6:15pm Dinner

6:15 – 7:30pm Panel discussion on The Art In Tragedy with Anne Beiler, Brenda Boitson and Tim Kreider

7:30 – 8:00 Thanks and Good Bye!

Check out some of the speakers who will be there:

Bryan Allain is a 33 year old writer and engineer living in Lancaster County, PA with his wife and two children. He writes daily for a growing readership at his personal blog, as well as contributing to other successful websites, including Stuff Christians Like, The Burnside Writers Collective and The Daily Beast. Bryan has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and currently works in the pharmaceutical industry. He quit MENSA because he was too smart to pay the yearly dues.

Andi Cumbo is an essay writer, creative writing teacher, and writing tutor.  Her work has been included in Santa Monica  Review, South Loop Review, Gertrude, PRISM Magazine, and other publications.  At present, she lives in Baltimore, MD where she has had the joy of having a man appear in her backyard after, apparently, jumping/falling off the three story building behind her house.

Ken Mueller is the proprietor of Inkling Media, with 30 years of experience in the media industry. He has worked extensively in the radio industry as well as social media. Mueller has a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting as well as a Master’s in Mass Communication. He and his family live in the city of Lancaster, where he can often be found working from his porch.

Ira Wagler showed up on readers’ radar with his blog Ira’s Writings: This Time I Will Write It – his literary style, powerful voice and raw, emotional posts led to a burgeoning audience.  Recently Ira landed a book deal with Tyndale.  He’ll be speaking about the process of blog-to-book, and what the experience has been like for him so far.

Gwyn McVay is the author of two chapbooks of poems and one full-length collection, Ordinary Beans (Pecan Grove Press, 2007). Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Verse Wisconsin and Poets for Living Waters. She teaches first-year writing at Millersville University and Temple University.

To read one of her poems, click HERE

These three speakers will be part of a panel discussion on “The Art in Tragedy”:

Anne Beiler is the author of Twist of Faith and the founder of Auntie Anne’s Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels, the largest mall-based soft-pretzel franchise in the world.  She lost her daughter Angie in a tragic farming accident in 1975 – this changed her story forever.  She will talk about the process of writing a book that necessitated revisiting painful times in her life.

Brenda Lee Boitson has been a freelance writer since 2007 with  Most recently, however, her writing is directed from her blog where she writes about becoming a 24-year-old widow in October 2008, having lost her husband of one and a half years to a rare Angiosarcoma tumor.  Brenda is currently writing her memoir and advocating for change in how society discusses grief and accepts those grieving at an early age.

Tim Kreider is the founder of Also-Me, an organization formed “to deliver messages of help, hope and faith to the youth of today, that leads them to take positive action in their lives on the path to purpose and meaning.”  He is in the middle of writing a book about his experiences – check out his website to find out more about his story.
Edit this entry.

One Reply to “Fireside Writer’s Conference”

Comments are closed.