Friday, July 3, 2015

Connecting through Words: Edie Melson, Keynote Speaker

We are excited to announce the keynote speaker for the 2016 MidSouth Christian WritersConference.

Edie Melson has become known as one of the go-to experts on Twitter, Facebook, and social media for writers wanting to learn how to plug in. Her bestselling eBook on this subject is Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers.

Join Edie and another great lineup of writing professionals for our third annual conference on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Collierville First Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee.

Stay tuned for additional details.
Host organization: Byhalia Christian Writers.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Announcing: Little Rock American Christian Writers Conference.

LRACW 5th Annual Writers Conference

April 18, 2015 from 8:30 am–3:30 pm

Summit Church, 6600 Crystal Hill Road, North Little Rock, AR 72118

Speakers are: Dr. Sally Crisp and Carla Killough McClafferty.
For more information, please visit the LRACW website.

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Because of hazardous driving conditions, the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference has been rescheduled for:

Saturday, March 14th

Vonda Skelton will be here on that date to encourage and inspire us with her keynote sessions.

Our workshop presenters will be presenting the same great workshops.

God has gone before us and smoothed the way.

Even if we don't know what His plan is, we know He has one, and we look forward to seeing what He has in store for us on the 14th.

If you have any questions, please email April Carpenter, Conference Director, at

Monday, February 23, 2015

9 Tips for Submitting to Agents and Publishers by Vonda Skelton

You've taken the classes, been to critique, rewritten, edited, and formatted. Your manuscript is finally ready. Time to throw your baby to the wolves . . . at least that's what it feels like. Here are 10 things you can do to help the editor love your baby as much as you do.

1.  Do your research. I didn't study the market with my first book. After all, every day I spent studying the market meant one more day that I was withholding this literary masterpiece from the reading public! So instead of studying who wanted what, I simply submitted to every children's book publisher. I knew that even if they'd never published a children's mystery, they would certainly want to after reading my manuscript!

Dumb, dumb, dumb. Besides the fact that it made me look like an idiot, it wasted gobs of money--and years--trying to force something that was not going to happen!

Take the time to find the publishers who are specifically looking for your kind of book or article or script, and your chances will greatly increase.

2.  Send what they want. Carefully read and follow guidelines. Some only want a query. Some want a synopsis and the first three chapters. Others want the full manuscript. Send them exactly what they want. Nothing more, nothing less.

3.  Be sure to follow word count. Don't send a 2000 word article when the guidelines clearly state their word count is 600. You'll be instantly rejected.

4.  Submit correctly. Does the editor want the submission in a Word document? Pasted into the body of the email? Do what they say and you'll get off to a good start.

5.  Send it to the right person. Be sure to send it to the correct genre editor. Once you're sure you have the right editor, call the switchboard (NOT the editor!) and confirm that Jane Doe is still the editor for your submission. If not, get the correct name, correct spelling, and correct gender.

6.  Be professional, kind, and appreciative. Don't write "THIS IS YOUR NEXT BESTSELLER!" in the subject line. Don't act like you're doing them a favor by submitting your work. Don't be too familiar. Thank him for his time and consideration. Be as professional as you'd be for any other job application.

7.  Format correctly. Since free formatting guidelines are available all over the internet, I won't list the all the steps to correct formatting for manuscripts, but here are the basics: Double space. Don't use any fancy fonts or formatting. Use 12 pt font. Number the pages. Use headers.

8.  Don't bug the editor to death. At any given time, most editors have hundreds of submissions to consider. If we continually call or write, wanting to know the status of our submissions, we can develop a reputation as a high maintenance writer. And life is too short for editors to take on that extra work.

If you've waited the posted amount of time, follow up with a quick email requesting an update. But don't bug him or her to death. It makes it very easy for them to say no.

9.  Trust God and His providence. I still have to be reminded of this. Regardless of the cover, the title, the distribution, the changes, and the timing, God is in control. For whatever reason, He can allow the most unlikely book to become the bestseller or the most promising one to fall flat.

It's our job to write the best book or article or devotion we can possibly write, send it to the most likely publishers, and work hard on marketing and promotion.

It's ultimately His job to decide what do to with it.

Meet Vonda!

Vonda Skelton is a national speaker, freelance writer, and the author of four books, including Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe and the Bitsy Burroughs Mysteries for kids. She is founder and co-director of Christian Communicators, a conference and community dedicated to educating, validating, and launching women in their speaking ministries. Vonda is also owner of The Christian Writer’s Den writing blog and frequently teaches at writing conferences around the country. Her free MoGo7000 Writing Challenge encourages writers in penning their books and offering a $100 yearly award. She is an occasional actress in film, theater, and commercials, and is currently working on a screenplay. Vonda and Gary have been married all their lives—and they’re still happy about it! You can find out more about Vonda and her ministry at
Vonda's Workshop
Writing for Children: One Size Does NOT Fit All
Don’t waste your time writing the wrong book and targeting the wrong market in the competitive world of children’s literature. Discover the difference between board books, picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle-grade readers, and young adult.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Songwriting 101 with Kim Noblitt

Meet Kim!

Kim Noblitt is an accomplished songwriter who was nominated for a Gospel Music Association “Song of the Year,” for the song “If You Could See Me Now.”  He is also founder of G3, a worship planning resource for worship leaders, and currently he serves as worship pastor of First Baptist Church, Collierville, TN.
Kim's Workshop
Songwriting 101
Have you ever thought about writing a song? Have you ever had an inspiration for a song but didn’t know what to do with it? This workshop is for you. Come learn about turning your inspiration into a song, about the general process for writing a song, as well the length your song should be. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Discover a Passion for Writing by Delesslyn Kennebrew


Christian Writers,

Thank you for reading today’s blog!

I am so very excited about attending this year’s Mid-South Christian Writer’s Conference on Saturday, March 7, 2015.  I am looking forward to meeting writers from all genres that love the Lord and love their craft. 

While I have always felt an inclination to write, it was just a few years ago when I discovered my passion for writing.  I was going through a time of transition in my career and praying about what was next in my life.  The answer to my prayer and the bridge through my transition was to start writing. 

I was already used to writing in my journal or writing a prayer for church or writing a sermon to preach but I was not in the practice of writing regularly to share with others.  I was not sure where to start but on the day I was guided to that answer, I was watching Oprah and she said a word of wisdom that triggered something inside of me so I started a blog. 

Now I knew that my blog was not to be the kind of public diary that hundreds of blogs are based on.  I felt like my blog had to be something different so I began to write my reflections on scripture.  My blog, Salvation and Stilettos, was launched during my time of transition and it was a way for me to encourage myself and hopefully inspire others.

Since that time, I have posted nearly 400 blog posts and self-published two books as well as started a writing group and developed my own step-by-step pattern for helping writers and those who do not consider themselves writers, to discover their voice and craft their message.  I love to write and I make no apologies for that.  Writing has changed my life and since most of my writing is based on scripture, I am able to discover and rediscover God’s amazing love and grace through my reflections. 

The Writer’s Conference is a wonderful opportunity for people at all levels of experience, to gather together to ignite and sustain their passion for writing.  It is a place where you will find like-minded men and women who love to write and are willing to encourage you along your journey.  It is a place where you can think through ideas and gain tools for honing your craft.  It is a place where you can pray and discern what is next for our life’s writing journey amongst friends.  It is the place where I hope to meet you and where you want to be found on Saturday, March 7.

Happy Writing!

God Loves You and I Do Too!


Meet Delesslyn!
Delesslyn A. Kennebrew, J.D, M.Div. has nearly 10 years of pastoral leadership experience.  She currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, TN where she leads the multi-site ministry, young adults, welcoming system, and The Scribes Writing Group.  She is a self-published author of two books – Step Out of the Boat: An Invitation to Walk on Water and The Power to Be Perfect: A Collection of Reflections on Spiritual Perfection and is currently working on a devotional and a novel.  Check out her blog, Salvation and Stilettos at and her weekly radio spot "Kids Korner" every Sunday at 4:15pm/5:15pm online on AM 1570 WIGO. (Twitter @AudraSunshine)

Delesslyn's Workshop
Writing As Spiritual Practice: Incorporating Scripture into Your Passion for Writing

The purpose of this workshop is to lead you through a process of writing that intentionally incorporates the Word of God as the primary inspiration for conveying your message.  We will walk through the process from inspiration to imagination, through investigation to the point where you will initiate your particular writing project.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Gift of Writing . .. Mysteries! by Marie Moore

Living in a small Southern town obviously places a few obstacles in the path of an aspiring author.  Holly Springs is definitely not New York.  Collierville and Byhalia are not LA or London.  Our fingers are clearly not on the pulse of the publishing industry.  But in my case, that just didn’t matter, and it likely won’t in yours either if you have a tale worth telling and are determined and willing to put in the work required to be a published author. 

The gift of writing is one of the most rewarding of all gifts, a talent not to be buried in the earth, and being given the opportunity to share your words and thoughts with others is really special. There’s nothing quite like holding the first copy of your book in your hands, or sharing your words and ideas with people, particularly if someone else thought them worthy of publishing.  It is a difficult business, a hard nut to crack, but if this country girl can do it, so can you.

Amazingly enough, growing up in that little hometown just might help you succeed in this business in unexpected ways, for you possess gifts that might not be fully appreciated by city slickers.  Way down in Dixie we come from a long line of storytellers who cherish the sharing of tales among friends and family, often coupled with a mighty fine meal.  And one of the hallmarks of that tradition is an unflagging interest in our neighbors.  Curiosity flourishes on our streets, in our homes, schools and churches.  We cut our teeth wanting to know what happened and why and who did it and how whenever a new bit of news comes our way.

Perfect training for a mystery writer!

At the upcoming Mid-South Christian Writers Conference I will be discussing my journey in becoming a mystery author and sharing some of the things I’ve learned about crafting the mystery novel and getting it published.  Mystery writing is great.  I’ve loved mysteries since I first read Nancy Drew under the covers with the flashlight, long after my mom said “lights out”.  If you have too, come to the Conference on March 7 and we’ll discuss what it takes to succeed in this fun business of Whodunnit?  In my presentation, we will discuss the types of mystery, voice, point-of-view, character-building and scene description and the pitfalls that can plague aspiring writers on the road to publication.
Meet Marie!
Shore Excursion was Marie Moore’s first novel, but not her first writing experience, and like Sidney Marsh, she is a native Mississippian.  She graduated from Ole Miss, married a lawyer in her hometown, taught junior high science, raised a family, and worked for a small weekly newspaper, first as a writer and later as Managing Editor.  She wrote hard news, features and a weekly column, sold ads, did interviews, took photos, and won a couple of MS Press Association awards for some of her stories.

In 1985, Marie left the newspaper to open a retail travel agency.  She completed agency and computer training with Airlines Reporting Corporation, Delta Airlines and TWA, earned her CTC (Certified Travel Counselor) designation, and joined the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA), International Air Transport Association (IATA), and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).  For the next 15 years, she managed her agency, sold travel, escorted group tours, sailed on 19 cruises, and visited over 60 countries.  Much of the background of Shore Excursion comes from that experience.

Marie also did location scouting and worked as the local contact for several feature films, including Heart of Dixie, The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag, and Robert Altman’s Cookie’s Fortune. 

In mid-1999, because of her husband's work, Marie sold the travel agency and moved to Jackson, MS, then New York City, Anna Maria Island, FL, and Arlington, VA.  She and her husband now live in Memphis, TN and Holly Springs, MS. 

Marie and her mystery novels have been featured in Click! Magazine, At Home Memphis and MidSouth Magazine, Portico Magazine, and Southern Writer's Magazine.  She has been a guest on WREG's Live at 9BookTalk, and The Earle Farrell Show.  She has given 30 minute presentations: Whodunnit? Crafting the Mystery Novel and Finding A New Career in Mid-life to numerous civic groups, senior citizens groups, libraries, and from The Balancing Act Stage as part of the program of The Southern Women's Show. She has served
 as a program panelist for Malice Domestic Mystery Conference (Bethesda, MD, 2012 and 2013) and Killer Nashville Mystery Conference (2013). In 2013, Marie’s books were specially chosen for inclusion in the onboard libraries of all the Holland America and Seabourn Cruise Line ships. GAME DRIVE, Book 2 in The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery Series, was named Finalist in Foreword Review's 2013 Mystery Book of the Year. Marie is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. 
Marie's Workshop!
Whodunnit??? Crafting the Mystery Novel
Marie Moore, author of The Sidney Marsh Murder Mystery Series, speaks on the nuts and bolts of writing a mystery novel.  In her presentation, she discusses the types of mystery, voice, point-of-view, character-building, and scene description and gives tips on some of the pitfalls that aspiring writers should try to avoid on the road to publication.