April Carpenter, Conference Director and President of Byhalia Christian Writers, is pleased to announce the mentors for the 2018 Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

These publishing professionals, along with some of the faculty, will be available for one-on-one appointments with attendees.

Gregg Bridgeman is the Editor-in-Chief at Olivia Kimbrell Press. He is husband to best-selling Christian author Hallee Bridgeman and parent to three. He continues to proudly serve in the US Armed Forces and has done so in either an active or reserve capacity for more than twenty years as an airborne and air assault qualified paratrooper, earning a Bronze Star for his service. Most importantly, he was ordained in October of 2001 after surrendering his life to Christ decades earlier.

Tamara Clymer is a journalist, publisher, and speaker. Born and raised in the Midwest, she earned a journalism degree from Kansas State University. After working for fifteen years in the television and newspaper industry, she felt it was time to use her writing skills to glorify God. In 2010, she founded CrossRiver Media Group—a Christian publishing company. Tamara and her husband, Shad, have been married for more than twenty-five years. They have four children and live in western Kansas where they keep busy with sports, church activities, and camping trips to the mountains.

Kathy Cretsinger is the owner of Mantle Rock Publishing. Her company is always interested in acquiring proposals for Christian Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Romantic Suspense. Kathy and her husband began Mantle Rock Publishing in 2012 to help new authors get their foot in the publishing world. They live in Western Kentucky and enjoy being close to both of their children and four grandchildren. They enjoy traveling, family, church family, and helping new authors.

Julie Gwinn is currently a literary agent with The Seymour Agency and has more than a decade of experience in Christian publishing, including serving as marketing manager then Fiction Publisher for B&H Publishing Group and Marketing manager for Abingdon Press. She is interested in Christian Fiction, especially romance, mystery, historical and contemporary women’s fiction. Her non-fiction interests include spiritual growth and Christian living titles. Julie lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two children and enjoys freelance editing and DIY projects around the house.

Jessica R. Patch is a multi-published author who writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance. She is the author of the Seasons of Hope series and several Love Inspired Suspense novels including Fatal Reunion and Deep Waters. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family in Horn Lake, Mississippi, you can find Jessica watching too much Netflix and collecting recipes to dishes she’ll probably never cook.

Susan Reichert is co-publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Southern Writers Magazine, a national magazine for authors, writers, and readers. She is also president and co-founder of a writers group. She is a published author of Storms in Life, seven anthology books, and hundreds of magazine articles.



Announcing 2018 MSCWC Faculty

April Carpenter, Conference Director and President of Byhalia Christian Writers, is pleased to announce the workshop leaders for the 2018 Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

Author and speaker Brandilyn Collins is this year’s keynote speaker. Her workshop, “The Four Ds: Desire, Distancing, Denial, and Devastation,” focuses on what your character wants and how this desire leads to the other three D’s. Connect with Brandilyn at

Our other workshop leaders are:

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).

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and loves to write romance and suspense with a twist of romance. Her books include the Logan Point series and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, all available at Amazon. Her workshops on writing include two online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and presentations at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference in Collierville, TN. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens. Visit Patricia’s website at

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

Tracy Crump has published two dozen stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and other anthologies as well as numerous articles and devotionals. As co-director of Write Life Workshops, she has led workshops and webinars on writing for Chicken Soup since 2008. She also edits The Write Life, a free e-newsletter with callouts. She lives with her husband in north Mississippi, has two sons and two perfect grandchildren, and believes Grandma is the most beautiful word in the English language.

Alice Faye Duncan is a librarian in Memphis, Tennessee.  She writes fiction and non-fiction for children and has been writing picture books for Simon and Schuster since 1995. Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop: The Sanitation Strike of 1968 will be released in September 2018.  Her book 12 Days of Christmas in Tennessee will be released in September 2019.  Visit Alice Faye’s website at

Gary Fearon is a songwriter, writer, musicologist, and Creative Director for Southern Writers Magazine. He has written over 300 songs and jingles for numerous advertisers such as Polaroid and created countless song parodies for national radio shows including The Rush Limbaugh Show. His instructional book A Guide to Songwriting Structure is scheduled for publication in 2018. Visit Gary’s website at .

Bethany Jett is a military wife and homeschool boy-mom who is addicted to suspense novels and all things girly. She is an award-winning author, speaker, ghostwriter, Vice President of Platinum Literary Services, Inc., and co-owner of Serious Writer, Inc. In her spare time, Bethany is working on her Masters degree in Marketing: New Media and Communication. Bethany writes on living brilliant at Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Carolyn Tomlin had taught 33 years in public school and at Union University when she heard God calling her to write for the Christian market and to help others learn this skill. Today, she co-teaches the Boot Camp for Christian Writers and has taught over 3,000 people to write-to-publish. Her published magazine and newspaper articles number over 4,500 in both the Christian and secular markets. She’s published 17 books which are mostly focused on teaching writing skills. Carolyn is married to Dr. Matt Tomlin, a Baptist minister. They have two adult children and six grandchildren. Shelter dog Ernest Miller Hemingway shares his life with their family and visits nursing homes with Tomlin.

Jon Woodhams has been involved in Christian publishing for more years than he cares to admit. He has worked for David C. Cook, in curriculum development and fiction editorial, and for WaterBrook Multnomah. He has been an editor with Guideposts fiction since 2011, and his series, Miracles of Marble Cove, Secrets of the Blue Hill Library, Mysteries of Silver Peak, and Tearoom Mysterious have more than a million copies in print. A native of Michigan, he now lives in the Memphis area.

Introducing Our Keynote Speaker: Brandilyn Collins

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®—fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline

“Don’t forget to    b r e a t h e . . .”®

She also writes insightful contemporary novels, often laced with humor.

Brandilyn’s first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows.

Brandilyn’s awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers’ Choice, the Inspy, Christian Retailing’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 (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing in 2002.

When she’s not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers conferences and keynote speaking.

To hear this talented writer share her experiences and wisdom, register today for the 2018 Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

We hope to see you on Saturday, March 17, 2018!

MSCWC: Registration, Location, and More!


The Fifth Annual Mid-South Christian Writers Conference will be here before you know it!

Though March may seem like a long time from now, the days are going to fly by faster than we can sing “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

After all, next week is Thanksgiving, and there are only 39 shopping days left till Christmas.

So do yourself a favor, and cross “register for the MSCWC” off your to-do list today.

You’ll save $10 when you register before the Early Bird Deadline of Saturday, February 24, 2018.

For more information and to register, visit our Registration Page.


Registered attendees may reserve either a half-table ($10) or a whole table ($15) to sell their books or author services.


The MSCWC is held in the beautiful facilities of Collierville First Baptist Church, 830 New Byhalia Road, Collierville, TN 38017.


A limited number of rooms have been blocked off for a special conference rate of $99/night (plus tax) at the  Courtyard by Marriott – Collierville. Mention the Mid-South Writers Conference (Code MCWC).

Courtyard by MarriottThe special rate expires on March 1, 2018 or when all the blocked rooms have been booked. Regular rates are $195-229/night.

The Courtyard by Marriott is located at the Carriage Crossing Mall, 4640 Merchants Park Circle, Collierville, TN 38017.

Phone: 901-850-9390.

Additional hotels and their rates are listed on our Location Page.

Note: This is prime soccer tournament time in Memphis. Most hotels will fill quickly, so please make your reservations early.


For additional details, visit the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference website.

And visit this blog every Thursday for updates, faculty posts, and news.

Trust MSCWC With Your Writing Dreams

A Guest Post by

April Carpenter, Conference Director

On behalf of the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference (MSCWC) committee, I get the honor of welcoming you to our blog for the 2018 conference.

Our team is already hard at work dotting our “i’s” and crossing our “t’s” just for you.  We strive every year to carefully review the evaluations and we take your suggestions to heart.

If you are an alumnus to the conference, I know you will be pleased at the new things we have planned for you.

If you are new, I give you an extra WELCOME!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,

in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Regardless of where you are in your writing journey, we encourage you to put your TRUST in God.

If you’re feeling a tug at your heart to attend a writer’s conference, TRUST. God may be urging you to take this important step.

A conference like ours isn’t as overwhelming as larger, multi-day conferences. We’re a great place to make friends with other writers who share your dreams and–dare we say it?–also your fears. (Writers tend to be an insecure bunch!)

This is our fifth annual conference, and each year the number of participants have grown. Come see for yourself how God is blessing MSCWC!

TRUST that the Lord is calling you to be with us on March 16 & 17, 2018, and thank Him in advance for the blessings to come.

We are praying for you!

One more quick note: Be sure and check back every Thursday for updates regarding the conference. We have exciting news to share each week!

2017 MSCWC Wrap-Up

A Guest Post by

April Carpenter, Conference Director

While deciding what I should say in this blog post, I thought about James Watkins’ first keynote presentation, “Ten Creative Commandments.”

His third commandment is:

“Thou shalt hang around creative and funny people.”

There are two excellent ways to do this.

  1. Join a local writers group. The conference packet included information on Memphis writing groups for our local attendees. If you’re not from the Mid-South area, please check out the 2017 Christian Writers Market Guide’s list of writers groups for your state.
  2. Join our new Facebook page. Whether you attended this year, a previous year, or plan to attend in the future, we invite you to “like” our conference Facebook page once it’s created. Be sure you’re following this blog so you’ll know when the page goes live.

During the last keynote address,  “I Have a Dream,” Jim encouraged us to make our dreams specific and realistic.

So… how is your writing going since the conference?

I pray you have thought about and written down your specific, realistic dreams and that you are pursuing them every day.

I pray that this year’s theme, “Changing the World with Words,” inspires you to create stories, articles, devotions, poems, Bible studies–whatever God has called you to write–that will change lives in a powerful way.

On behalf of the committee, we thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to join us. This year’s conference included 96 participants, nine presenters, and one keynote speaker.

Thank you, too, for your kind words in the evaluations and for the thank you cards you wrote the day of the conference.

We read each evaluation and truly take what you suggest to heart.

It’s not too late to give us your opinion. Please feel free to send your comments to:

We are so glad you joined us this year, and hope to see you again in 2018.

Last Minute Conference Prep

hlayer_alexander-u3470A Guest Post by Johnnie Alexander

The Mid-South Christian Writers Conference . . . drum roll, please . . . is this weekend!

On Friday evening, from 6:30 to 8:00, all participants are invited to our Meet and Greet. Let the networking, the friendships, and the chowing down on delicious treats begin!

Saturday’s first session begins at 9 a.m., but you’ll want to arrive early to browse through our bookstore.

Come prepared for a full day of inspiring and humorous keynotes by acclaimed speaker James Watkins, informative workshops, and encouraging appointments with the faculty.

Registration is still open, so it’s not too late to participate. Click on the button then pack your bags.

We can’t wait to see you there!


Meet Johnnie

Johnnie Alexander writes stories of heritage and hope while raccoons and foxes occasionally pass by her window. Where Treasure Hides, her CBA-bestselling debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011). Her first contemporary novel, Where She Belongs, was a Library Journal Pick of the Month. She treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives near Memphis with Griff, her happy-go-lucky collie, and Rugby, the princely Papillon who trees those pesky raccoons whenever he gets the chance.

Johnnie’s Workshop (taught with Patricia Bradley)

Telling the Story: I Wrote It My Way

You may be a plotter, outlining every scene before you begin, or you may be an organic writer, writing by the seat of your pants, or you may be somewhere in between. Two experienced novelists share tips and ideas for writing fiction the right way—that is, the way that works best for you and for your story.