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MCWC FACULTY SPOTLIGHT – AUTHOR/EDITOR B.J. TAYLOR

Writers, the brochures and online registration will be ready any day now for the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference. One of the outstanding faculty members scheduled is B.J. Taylor flying all the way from California to present one of the Major Morning 4-Session Series: “The Journey to Publishing Nonfiction.”

ALL ABOUT B.J.

B.J. Taylor is a recipient of the Pacesetter Award from the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference and truly believes in never giving up. It took her eight years, but she finally succeeded in winning a spot at the Guideposts Writers Workshop in 2004. Her published work includes many stories in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and countless other publications including John Gray’s Mars and Venus in Love and Writer’s Digest. She’s the author of a memoir: Charlie Bear: What a Headstrong Rescue Dog Taught Me about Life, Love, and Second Chances. (I highly recommend this book. It’s one of my favorites!)

B.J. represents Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and Mysterious Ways magazines as well as Inspiring Voices, the self-publishing arm of Guideposts books. She can read advance manuscript submissions and will help to guide and instruct through her many years of experience as a Guideposts writer as well as offer guidance to authors who wish to publish with Inspiring Voices.

B.J. has 40 stories in print in Chicken Soup and loves to teach her easy-to-remember formula for crafting inspirational short stories that sell. If you’re serious about becoming a published author and want to learn how to craft well-written true stories, check out her book written just for you based on the successful classes she has taught for the past ten years: P MS to a T: the winning formula for writing nonfiction short stories that sell.

B.J. instructs at numerous conferences around the United States, from Washington to Florida to California. She has been a Keynote Speaker, a Mentoring Instructor, a Hands-On Nonfiction Class leader, and loves to help writers at all stages of their writing career.

HER OTHER TWO CLASSES AT MCWC:

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

B.J. Taylor will share the nuts and bolts you need to know to write a winning Guideposts story along with how to properly submit, who to submit to, what to include, and when to send it in for the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest held every other year. Thousands will enter; only 12 writers are chosen for the all-expenses paid opportunity of a lifetime. In 2014 two of the winners came from a conference where B.J. divulged her tips and tricks. Don’t miss out on the knowledge, experience, and secrets B.J. will share as a winner of a coveted spot in 2004.

Make $$$ Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

Want to know the formula for writing inspirational stories that sell? B.J. Taylor’s career includes selling four articles to Writer’s Digest, two dozen stories to Guideposts and Angels on Earth, and 40 stories to Chicken Soup for the Soul, along with sales to many other publications. Numerous writers have learned B.J.’s secret formula, submitted to Chicken Soup and Guideposts, and are now published authors. Learn how to make money in your writing career.

B.J. lives in Southern California with her husband and rescue dog Charlie Bear, who writes a column for “American Pet Magazine” (with a little help from his Mom Peep).

Learn more about B.J. at http://www.bjtaylor.com. You can also sign up for her blog and newsletter right from the website.

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MCWC is just a few months away. If you’re writing nonfiction, B.J. is the one to review your work!

I hope to see you there!

Marsha

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The Nametag

Diane Stark

When I was eight years old, my mom “caught” me sitting on the floor in my closet with a purple pen and a spiral bound notebook. When she asked me what I was doing, I sighed and admitted, “Mom, I’ve been writing.”

When I was in fifth grade, I won the Young Author’s Fair at school. My story was terrible and slightly plagiarized, I think. At the end of the story, the villain melted because of the rain, and as his body became a glob of ooze on the ground, he groaned, “I melted because I’m so sweet.”  I stole this.  My mother used to say that to my siblings and me when we fussed about carrying in groceries while it was raining. “You’re not going to melt,” she’d say. “Only sugar cubes are that sweet.”

Plagiarizing a story from your own mother isn’t sweet at all.

Clearly, my roots as a writer are iffy at best. My childhood included lots of closet hiding, spiral-bound notebooks, and, apparently, theft of my mother’s intellectual property.

As a high school senior, I won college scholarships because of essays I’d written. But never for a second did I consider journalism as a major. Writing for a career? That was way too risky.

I majored in education and taught elementary school for a decade. I loved it, and I’d like to think I was good at it, but it didn’t feed my soul. Not like writing did.

I wrote late at night when my husband and children were sleeping. I even sent some of my stories to editors, and a few of them got published.

But I never told anyone.

I loved writing, and I didn’t want anyone to steal the joy I felt at doing it. So I kept it a secret.

Until I wanted to attend my first writers’ conference. I was nervous to tell my husband about it, but he encouraged me to go. So I did.

At the conference, they gave me a lanyard to wear. The tag read, “My name is Diane, and I am a writer.”

I gasped. What am I doing there? I’m not a writer, I thought. Not a real writer, anyway.

I put the lanyard around my neck, feeling like a liar.

That afternoon, I met with the editor of a small Christian publication. I sat across from him, my hands shaking. I handed him the stack of stories I’d brought and prepared to be embarrassed.

But instead of him saying, “These aren’t good enough,” he smiled and said, “These are terrific. Exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

“Really?” I said. “Because I’m not a real writer, you know. I’m just a mom.  I write at night when I think no one knows, but I’m pretty sure my husband has known all along.”

He chuckled. “A lot of us feel that way. We feel that struggle to be a ‘real’ writer. But have you seen your name tag?”

That editor, who is now my friend, gave me such a gift that day. He let me in on a little secret:  Becoming a writer isn’t about getting published.  It’s about writing.  It’s about doing the thing that God has called you to do.

I’m a writer, not because an editor likes my work, but because God created me to write.

Published or not, if you pick up a pen for the Kingdom, you are a writer.

Diane’s Topics for her Classes at

the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference

July 16th – 21st

Breaking into Anthologies

Diane has been published in more than 35 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She knows what types of stories sell to anthologies and can help others tell their personal stories in an effective, emotional way—exactly what the anthologies are looking for.

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Diane has five children and she regularly writes about her “expertise” as a parent in magazines like Focus on the Family.While she doesn’t claim to be a parenting expert, she does know that what works for her kids might work for other kids too.  She also knows that magazines will pay for these parenting tips.  Diane will teach participants how to use their own parenting “expertise” to break into parenting magazines.

Conducting High Profile Interviews

Christian magazines are always on the lookout for profile pieces about Christian celebrities. But how do writers get these interviews, and what do you ask in the interview? Diane has interviewed Christian musicians, NFL and NBA stars, as well as Christian actors and actresses. She will teach participants how to acquire high-profile interviews, what to ask during these coveted interviews, and even how to control your nerves.

Writing the Profile Piece

Profile pieces are among the most salable stories a freelancer can write. Diane will teach participants how to write this type of story after conducting an interview. Information will include choosing the best quotes from your notes, researching background information, and grabbing the readers’ attention from the start.

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Diane Stark has been a freelance writer for the last ten years. She has written for dozens of Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, The Brink, Seek, War Cry, Teachers of Vision, Faith and Friends, and 35 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She taught kindergarten for a decade before resigning to pursue a writing career. Diane is a bubbly, enthusiastic encourager who teaches other writers from a “Here’s What I Did” standpoint. She will motivate and equip conferees to succeed at their own writing dreams.

 

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Plan to attend MCWC this July and get your manuscript ready for publication!

Registration forms will be out within the next few weeks.

Marsha

Director

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