1. “An Individual Plan to Give”
The Bible is full of Jesus’ directives to give and care for others, but how do we obey his words through practical action? Jill will discuss her unique one year adventure giving away her income, based on her book Risking it All: One Woman’s Adventure Giving Away Her Income.
We will identify twelve areas of social need, and audience members will leave armed with a plethora of practical ideas for making a difference using their available means.
Best audiences: Church groups, Ladies’ groups, Men’s groups, Social Service Clubs and organizations, bookstores and coffeehouses
2. “The Most Twisted Small Business in America”
At the same time the United States was brewing a Civil War, a daring, young man was stepping into his own risky business. In 1861, Julius Sturgis established America’s first commercial pretzel bakery in Lititz, Pennsylvania. As his great-great granddaughter, Jill Marie (Sturgis) Thomas has a lot to say about pretzels, and it’s time to tell the full story.
In this fun presentation based on her book Twisted: Mindful Pretzel Consumption, find out everything you ever wanted to know about this iconic snack food: origin, history, folklore, trivia, and more. The talk may allow for hands-on pretzel twisting, depending on the size of the audience.
Best audiences: Small business groups, Church Groups, Clubs, Scouting groups, Retirement homes, Leadership groups, Service organizations, Historical chapters, Food-related groups, bookstores and coffeehouses
3. “Coping With Life’s Unexpected Trials and Trauma”
Nearly every family has experienced some sort of trauma or loss: a failed marriage, a suicide, a difficult cancer diagnosis, a horrific accident, or others. No stranger to some of these trials in her own family, Jill will recount the terrifying details of her son’s accident, based on her recent book The Day My Son Fell From the Sky.
Jill’s intent with this conversation is to offer hope, regardless of the outcome of one’s trials. Additionally she will offer practical tips on how to cope through those most painful days or to help others going through their own rough spots.
Best Audiences: Hobby groups, Aviation groups, Church groups, Social and Service organizations, Professional and Medical groups, Grief and trauma groups, bookstores and coffeehouses
4. “Writing the Word”
Jill will discuss why and how writing the Scriptures, word-for-word, can be an excellent addition to one’s daily Bible study and prayer time. Not only is this practice enjoyable, current educational research validates this type of hands-on practice is best for long-term retention.
Listeners will participate in a short Scripture-writing activity. Resources will be available at the author’s book table for those who wish to make writing the Word part of their daily practice.
Best Audiences: Church Adult and Youth groups, Sunday school classes, any faith-based clubs or fellowships, Christian bookstores and coffeehouses
5. “The Life of an Author”
What really happens in the office of a writer? How does a story become a book in a bookstore? How long does it take? Are most authors rich?
Jill will discuss how writing is similar to and different from other occupations. We will examine the different facets of writing a book, including content mapping, editing, formatting, acquisitions agents, and the current state of the publishing world—self publishing vs. hybrid publishing vs. traditional publishing.
Best Audiences: Any school or club groups (young or old), Church groups, Service organizations, Library groups, Retirement groups, Writing groups, bookstores and coffeehouses.
6. “When Life Throws A Curve: How Did I Get Here?
Do you ever step back, look at your life, and wonder how you got to be in that spot? Many people are not doing the jobs they were trained for—life has herded them into some other, often surprising, destinations and occupations.
Jill will candidly share her own testimony: after many years as a college mathematics professor and a seriously competitive judo athlete, life situations transitioned her to a completely new world, the world of a writer. How did this happen and how did she cope?
Best Audiences: This presentation is appropriate for any groups, high school aged and older.
7. “How to Plan and Lead a Writers’ Critique Group”
Jill leads the Susquehanna Valley Christian Writers’ Group and is glad to share what has worked and what has not, so that other writers interested in improving their craft can find or establish a group to encourage and support them and other writers in their area.
Numerous handouts will provide help for organizing a group, monthly meeting reminders, and standards for how to present writing to the group each month for critique. Jill will share a sample meeting agenda, and audience members will have a chance to examine a submitted piece of writing and its critique.
The camaraderie of a group of local writers cannot be undervalued. Friendships form and members often travel together to distant writers’ conferences for further learning.
Best Audiences: Library Groups, Writing Clubs, Teachers groups, Book clubs, Poetry Groups, Bookstores and Coffeehouses, High School English/Writing/Communication classes
8. “How to Organize and Facilitate an In-Home Book Club
Have you ever wanted to join a book club but couldn’t find one? Or, when you found one, you didn’t care for the books they chose to read? Why not form your own?
In this presentation Jill will tell about the fun monthly book club she hosted in her home. She’ll share the invitations, the menus (yes, she put out lots of food!), and what the attendees did at each meeting.
With decorations added, door prizes, incentives for bringing a friend, and the ability to read the book of your choice, what better book club could there be?
Best Audiences: Library groups, Writing Clubs, Church and fellowship groups, Social and service organizations, Bookstores and Coffeehouses, Retirement groups