MSCWC Conference Wrap-Up with April Carpenter


Faculty Spotlight: Hallee Bridgeman

Meet Hallee

With over a half million sales, Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping, exciting and edgy.  Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband.  Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her.  Visit Hallee’s website at

Hallee’s Workshop

Creative Marketing Plan

In a competitive publishing industry, authors must learn to market. But how? And where to start? Join best-selling author Hallee Bridgeman as she shows how to begin marketing your book before it’s even published, where to advertise/market, and how to create a support team that will help spread the news of each release.

Hallee’s Friday Four-Hour Workshop

Best-selling indie author Hallee Bridgeman will teach Seven Steps to Successful Self-Publishing, including tips and tricks for the current market. This expanded version of the workshop she presented last year will allow Hallee time to discuss topics on a more complex level.

The Friday workshop costs an additional $35 with conference registration or $55 for the Friday workshop alone.

Collierville Awarded America’s Best Main Street

Photo Credit: Stan Carroll

A Guest Post by Beth Gooch

If you’ve attended the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference, you know that our sessions are held in a newer section of Collierville, Tennessee, which is a suburb of Memphis.

But if you’re traveling from out of town, you might want to allow an extra day to visit Collierville’s quaint older section, which was rated America’s Best Main Street by Parade magazine.

As the announcement says:

“Start your day by the old train depot in this town (pop. 47,333) outside Memphis and you’ll likely meet Joseph Johnson, who peddles produce from the back of his van.” 

Read what Mr. Johnson, a lifelong resident, has to say about his hometown in the Parade announcement.

We know you’ll enjoy an extra day or two in our fine city!

A Shout-Out to Our Sponsors!

We are so grateful for our sponsors and all they do on behalf of  the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

Anna and William  Hill, owners of Anna’s Pet Service , became sponsors during our inaugural year.

William, who shares a daily prayer in our Facebook group, says they “wanted to help and felt that our sponsorship of worthy causes is the best advertising we can do next to the recommendations of our customers.”

We thank Anna’s Pet Service for their encouraging support.

Southern Writers Magazine is much more than a top-notch magazine–you’ll find encouragement and inspiration in each issue.

Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, will be available for one-on-one appointments, and Gary Fearon, Creative Director, is teaching a workshop on song-writing.

Southern Writers, the Author’s Magazine, has also supported us since our first year, and we are very grateful for their participation. Click here for details on receiving a free issue: 

Guideposts Publishing sponsors our Friday evening Meet-and-Greet. We are so privileged to have  Jon Woodhams, Editor, as a supportive neighbor and friend . . . who also brings fun swag!

Guidepost provides hope and inspiration worldwide through their uplifting magazines, books, websites, prayer community, and outreach programs.

For more information on their new video-course, “How To Tell A Great Story: The Essential Writing Course from Guideposts Editors,” visit:


God Knew Before You Did!

A Guest Post by Brandilyn Collins

Last summer I was on a plane, minding my own business. Simply reading a book. God chose that moment to interrupt and speak to me. He spoke just one sentence.  Eleven words. The sentence was … rather unique, as our amazing God often tends to be.

I marveled at the sentence. Turned its meaning over in my mind. I wrote it down so I would not forget the exact wording.

Within a few weeks of that event, I received an invitation to keynote at this year’s Mid South Christian Writers Conference. Two months later, conference leaders told me the theme: “Lighting the World with Our Words,” based on Psalm 119:105.

I had a good laugh with God over that. He knew this theme before the conference leaders did. He led them to it. And His words to me on the plane two months earlier had begun the work in me to speak to this theme. God has a message for you to hear at the conference. He knew you were coming, even before you did.

Amazing, isn’t it, how we can be on God’s journey, even in times when we don’t know it. How He orchestrates events in our lives for His glory and our growth in Him. God’s speaking to me on the plane that day is only one example of how He’s done this in my life over and over again—even when I wasn’t asking for His leading and wasn’t focused on Him at all.

I look forward to telling you about it.

Meet Brandilyn

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling author of over thirty books. She is best known for her Seatbelt Suspense®–fast-paced, character-driven, with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. Brandilyn’s awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirationa Readers’ Choice, the Inspy, Christian Retailer’s Best Award (twice), and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice. She is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors. When she’s not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers conferences and keynote speaking.

Brandilyn’s Workshop

The Four Ds: Desire, Distancing, Denial, and Devastation

Desire, Distancing, Denial, and Devastation form the story structure for your novel. We’ll talk about each one, focusing particularly on Desire. What does your character want? (Many novelists think they know—until their story starts to sag.) You need to understand the concept of Desire fully, because what your character wants—what deep down drives his actions and perceptions—will catapult him through your story and lead to the other three Ds.

Songs are Musical Novels

A Guest Post by Gary Fearon

Lyrics are often thought of as poetry that’s been set to music, and there’s truth to that. But writing lyrics for a song involves a unique structure very similar to writing a novel. Like chapters in a book, each section of the song (verse/chorus/bridge) tells a specific part of the story and ends on its own unique note.

The first verse establishes the premise and introduces the protagonist; that is, who the song is about:

“I was born a coal miner’s daughter…” (Coal Miner’s Daughter)

“We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out…” (Suspicious Minds)

“You think you lost your love, well I saw her yesterday…” (She Loves You)

Having set the stage, each verse section that follows expands further into the story, as in these second verses. They are more informative than introductory in nature:

“For forty days and for forty nights, law was on her side…” (Billie Jean)

“I know a man ain’t supposed to cry…” (I Heard It through the Grapevine)

“Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, pumped a lot of  ‘pane down in New Orleans…” (Proud Mary)

It’s not by accident that the most memorable part of a song is usually the chorus. The chorus delivers the main message and is so important that it’s repeated multiple times:

“Welcome to the Hotel California…” (Hotel California)

“I fell into a burnin’ ring of fire…” (Ring of Fire)

“I’m pickin’ up good vibrations…” (Good Vibrations)

While not present in every song, the bridge (that variation that occurs at roughly the 2/3 point) is an exposition.  It digs deeper to reveal a perspective that offers new insight into the entire situation.

“Other arms reach out to me, other eyes smile tenderly…” (Georgia on My Mind)

“Oh, can’t you see, you belong to me…” (Every Breath You Take)

“On the day that you were born the angels got together…” (Close to You)

Once the whole story has been told, the chorus will reappear as a final chapter to hammer home the main point.

Listen to your favorites with an ear toward what specific message each section conveys and you’ll see that every effective song resembles the classic storytelling technique of beginning, middle and end.

Better yet, come to my presentation at the Mid-South Writers Conference on March 17th and I’ll show you how you can put your own words to music.

Meet Gary

Gary Fearon is a songwriter,  musicologist, writer, and Creative Director for Southern Writers Magazine. He has written over 300 songs and jingles for advertisers such as Polaroid and created countless song parodies for national radio shows including The Rush Limbaugh Show.  A former Billboard Air Personality of the Year, his broadcast work has also been recognized by the Associated Press, Radio and Production, and over two dozen MARS awards for commercial production. His voice is heard daily on radio and TV stations across the USA and Canada.

An avid analyst of entertainment, he has studied thousands of hit songs from the perspectives of music theory, lyrical content and production value. His instructional book, A Guide to Songwriting Structure, is scheduled for publication in 2018. Visit Gary’s website at

Gary’s Workshop

Songwriting Shortcuts for the Writer

Finding the perfect music for your lyrics is easy with a few secret tricks geared especially to wordsmiths. Whether you’re a newcomer or an experienced songwriter, you’ll discover new and intuitive approaches to crafting memorable melodies in this entertaining, enlightening session.

Early Bird Deadline Ends Soon!

A Guest Post by Johnnie Alexander

Are you still trying to decide whether or not to attend this year’s Mid-South Christian Writers Conference? 

You can save $10 by registering today!

The deadline for paying the Early Bird registration fee is Saturday, February 24, 2018. 

What can you do with that extra $10? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bring it to the conference and spend it in our bookstore.
  • Purchase a new blank book to take conference notes.
  • Save it, add a few more ten-dollar bills throughout the year, and register early for the 2019 conference (LOL)!

Here’s what you won’t need:

  • Snacks. We’ll have plenty of goodies.
  • A tote bag. Each registered participant gets a freebie!:

Visit the Registration Page for more info.

Meet Johnnie

Johnnie Alexander imagines heart-tugging stories in multiple genres whether she’s home in Tampa or Memphis. Her website, Novelists Unwind, features videotaped interviews with inspirational authors. She is the marketing director and a board member of the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference. Sharing Johnnie’s vagabond life are Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, her raccoon-treeing papillon. Connect with her at or on her Facebook Author Page (JohnnieAlexanderNovelist).

Johnnie and Patricia’s Workshop

Popular Cliché to Avoid in Your Fiction

We don’t always know what we don’t know and that can lead to rejection. Two experienced authors share what they’ve learned from their agents and editors about the scenes, plots, and clichés to avoid plus their experiences with the traditional publishing process.