Romance: rōˈmans; noun:
a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Taylor University Professional Writing Conference 2017

The second annual Taylor University Professional Writing Conference was held on the beautiful campus of Taylor University this past Friday and Saturday. The value of concentrated and intentional time spent in the company of other writers cannot be overrated – it is invaluable. I now find myself wandering around like a lost pup wishing I had one more bone to chew with my writing friends, old and new.

Key note speaker was Bob Hostetler, an award-winning writer of more than 47 books, editor, literary agent, pastor and speaker from southwestern Ohio (learn more about Bob here:  As a writer and a Christian, Bob was able to encourage us and challenge us as only a fellow Christian writer could.

Other highlights included author/agent/editor panels and, of course, top-notch teaching, with multiple sessions geared toward specific attendee needs, from a selection of Publishing 101 courses for relative beginners to humor writing to marketing. See below for a complete list of Faculty and Speakers.

There were, of course, a number of opportunities to meet with authors, editors and agents in one-on-one sessions to pitch books, ask specific advice, and network. I met with Michelle Israel Harper, acquisitions editor at Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing (  L2L2 is a publishing house that deals specifically with Christian speculative fiction and that's right up my Diagon Alley!

Whether you are a struggling new writer or a successful multi-published author, there is something for you at the Taylor University Professional Writing Conference. Save the date for next year: August 3 and 4, 2018!

Faculty/Speakers included: James Watkins (ACW Press), Rachael O. Phillips (author, columnist and very funny lady), Cindy Sproles (Lighthouse publishing of the Carolinas), Lin Johnson (Christian Communicator and Write-to-Publish Conference Director), Katie Long (Wesleyan Publishing House), Michelle Israel Harper (Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing), Estee Zandee (Zondervan), Rebekah Blomenberg (Annie's Publishing), Kate Jameson (Focus on the Family), Dawn Anderson (Kregel Publications), Lawrence W. Wilson (DustJacket Books), Chip MacGregor (MacGregor Literary, Inc), Linda Glaz (Hartline Literary Agency), and Dr. Dennis E. “Doc” Hensley (author of gazillions of books and articles, and Creator/Director of Taylor University's Professional Writing Program).

Friday, August 19, 2016

Of Power and Potties

The power was out today. According to the electric company, it was out for 30,000 people. My daughter, a high school sophomore, was delighted to get out of school early. I don’t know how the other 29,998 people felt about it, but I took the opportunity to ponder life before internet, electric lights and flush toilets.

The internet part would be sort of easy to deal with, at least in the short term, unless you’re trying to book reservations at the new restaurant downtown. Or if you’re waiting to hear from a potential agent about whether or not they liked your proposal. Or if that acquaintance you haven’t heard from in a gazillion years might happen to pick that moment to post an update to Facebook.

I like to camp, so we own a broad assortment of flashlights and propane lanterns. I think we even have at least one Harry Potter wand with a light-up tip, so I could probably go a fairly long time without electric lights.

Flush toilets, though, that’s a tough one. We live in the country and our water comes out of a well in the yard, just like in the old times. Except that in modern times you can’t get water out of it without an electric pump. Hence, no electric means no handy-dandy toity. Even us regular campers have our limits…having to do my business in the forest would be just on the other side of mine.

So when I began musing about medieval versions of potties, I remembered a photo I took on a visit to Dover Castle this past June. Those large structures bumping out on the sides of the donjon tower walls aren’t there for architectural flair – they’re the castle version of poop chutes. (Notice that little hole at the bottom in the photo below? More on that later.)

Inside these little “privies” (also known as garderobes or wardrobes) is a bench with a hole in the center. No need to explain how they work. But it seems that at one time these little alcoves might serve not only as a place to relieve one’s self, but also to store one’s valuables. After all, if someone wanted your jewels, where else would you keep them?

It was also common to store cloaks and tights in the garderobe. Apparently they thought the often-strong odors emanating from the hole in the seat would keep fleas and moths out of their clothing. It would keep me out of them, too.

Now back to that little hole at the bottom of the architectural flair. You might have noticed that it doesn’t lead into any plumbing. (They didn’t have plumbing.) Yep – it just went right into the moat, or perhaps a little cesspit right next to the moat. Either way, there was usually a well in the center of the castle grounds and….

Well, I’ll leave the rest of that thought for you to finish.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

It has been just over a week since the conclusion of the first annual Taylor University Professional Writing Conference, hosted by the Taylor University Professional Writing Program. Kudos to Linda Taylor, Doc (Dennis) Hensley and their capable student staff for a first rate conference that didn’t break my bank.

The two-day event featured guest speakers Dennis E. Hensley (author, speaker and writing professor), author and speaker Jim Watkins, and Keren Baltzer, editor at Hachette Book Group.  Workshops were led by Rachel Phillips (my very funny friend and multi-published author), Ann Byle, Nichole Parks (not to be confused with Nicholas Sparks!), Amy Green, Estee Wells Zandee, Dan Balow and several others. There was truly something for everyone, no matter their level of experience or success, their writing genre, or their age.  

For more information on this year’s workshop experts, or to get info on next year’s conference, click here: