The Future of Mountain Valley Writers Re-Conference

2017 Mountain Valley Writers Conference was a Hit

The first conference was a blend of conference and re-treat that provided attendees, vendors, and faculty the opportunity to connect, engage, and share. We set out to create a unique writing conference and we succeeded in spades!

Praises for Mountain Valley Writers

“The connections were the best part.”

We bring in enough faculty to ensure that there will be one expert for (at the most) every four attendees.

“All presenters were willing to take the time to talk with you individually.”

We planned the 2017 conference with the goal of creating foundational connections. The engagement turned into such a positive part of the event that we are expanding that focus in 2018 with Mentor Meetings – a chance to schedule one-on-one time with faculty.

| Our Vision for Future MVW Events |

More sessions, more surprises, and way more words!

*We are working with local organizations to find the best time and location for future events to include all the amazing ideas, sessions, and engagement opportunities we envision for Mountain Valley Writers. This means that we will not be hosting the main event this year, but pushing it back to 2019. If you are looking for an incredible engagement opportunity be sure to visit WordCamp Birmingham 2018.*

Mountain Valley Writers Returns in 2019

What you can expect from the re-conference:

5 amazing workshops/sessions for each track each day
3 focus tracks
2 table talk discussions
1 no-holds-bar after event

But there’s more!

After the inaugural Mountain Valley Writers conference, we listened to the attendees. You requested time to showcase authors and time to share your words. We listened.

Introducing WORD WAR

This will be a community-wide event featuring panel discussions, author readings, contest winners, word war competitions, and an after party!

Vendor tables
Author tables


*The list is an idea of what will be available but more details will be available as we move closer to the event.*

  • Print article
  • Guest posts
  • Blog website
  • Ebooks (up to 15,000 words)
  • Books (over 60,000 words)
  • Books (under 60,000 words)
  • Novels (over 60,000 words)
  • Novels (under 60,000 words)
  • Children’s book
  • Poetry (under 1000 words)
  • Tall tale stories (elementary/middle school)
  • Poetry (themed) for location
  • SELTI – places (focused on celebrating with the BiCentennial)


  • Readings (must be under 5 minutes and family friendly)
  • Word wars (four contestants, four words, four minutes to create)
  • Q & A with speakers/panels

What do you think?

What are your thoughts about a Re-Conference and Word War ?
What are we missing?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Check back for more details and to be alerted for when tickets go on sale.

Speaker Spotlight for #MVWC 2017 – Cheryl Wray has the Query Secrets

Do queries put you in a quandary? Cheryl Wray has the tools to set things right.

The Mountain Valley Writers Conference will feature speakers and presentations that will help provide the tools to writers that are working in the industry or those writers that are seeking to build their own platform for writing success.

Speaker Highlight

Cheryl Wray

Cheryl Wray is a reporter wit, a freelance magazine writer, and an adjunct journalism professor at the University of Alabama. She’s had more than 2000 articles published in a variety of magazines through the years, and is the author of two books on the article publishing process. Her book, Writing for Magazines (McGraw-Hill), was a featured selection of the Writers Digest Book Club and her most recent writing guide, Writing Feature Articles (Vision Press) is used in college courses across the country. She is currently working on a book on Type-1 diabetes featuring profIles of celebrities and everyday heroes. She’s also the co-founder of the popular Southern Christian Writers Conference.

Cheryl joins the Mountain Valley Writers Conference to share the secrets for crafting a query letter that grabs the attention of the editor and lands you the gig!

Craft a Query Letter that Sells

Expect to walk away with a query or query outline

    – how to do the research
    – finding the markets
    – submitting the letter/proposal

More about the Speaker

Favorite book: I’m an avid reader and could list probably 50 for you, but the one I come back to over and over is To Kill a Mockingbird. I love all things Southern, and the story’s morality and the characters can’t be beat (My almost 13-year-old daughter is named Scout. So, yep, my husband and I both love that book). I’m also a Harry Potter nerd, and love those books!

Favorite Quote: Again, my “favorites” change all the time according to what’s going on my life. But I love quotes from writers, from the Bible, from books, from songs even. Right now in my mind I have the verse from Esther that says, “Perhaps you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this” (4:14). A recent favorite is “Nevertheless, she persisted.” Both of those say a lot to me about taking advantage of our opportunities, believing in God’s plan for our lives, and also sticking to your dreams even when perhaps we are pushed down by our doubts or other people or whatever.

Want people to know about me: I love to encourage aspiring writers. I love to take the mystery out of the writing and marketing process. It takes diligence, yes, but it’s not brain surgery. You can do it!

Random fun facts: Have three daughters McKenna, Delaney, and Scout and am a brand-new grandmother with granddaughter Ramsey Cate. (Three of them have birthdays in the same week…the last week of March.) I love sweet tea, sports of all kinds, Star Wars, road trips, and bubble baths. (Sounds like a personals ad. ) I was born in Texas, the child of two writers, so it’s in my blood.

Where to Connect with the Speaker

Facebook: Cheryl Sloan Wray
Twitter: @cwray_sports

Get your tickets NOW!

Mountain Valley Writers Conference Tickets

Make the Most of the Writing Conference – Plan for Five

The Mountain Valley Writing Conference is only two weeks away. If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet, today is the day. The investment for one-day tickets will go up to $135 on March 10th. The investment for full conference admittance (two-days will go up to $235 on the 10th as well.

Not only should you not wait to get your conference tickets, but you should begin to prepare for what you want and what you will do when you arrive.

A few weeks back, the #blogchat – held every Sunday night at 8 pm Central – sparked a conversation about how to get the most out of your conference attendance. We came up with “the Fives for a Successful Conference – five targets and tips for before, during, and after a conference that would give you the most powerful (and measurable) results for your efforts.

Before the Conference – PLAN for Five

Plan to learn five new things – or to expand on five things you are already pursuing. Review the sessions and make a list of the questions you want to have answered or the information you want to gather.

Plan to meet five new people – it is ALL about relationships. Make an effort not only to meet five new people but to engage with them in a way that sets the foundation for potential relationship growth.

Plan to attend five GREAT sessions or workshops – at the Mountain Valley Writers Conference, you will have your choice of 8 workshops and 8 sessions. Expect to gain something from the ones you choose – maybe directly from the information offered, maybe from the question and answer sessions, and maybe from the spark of inspiration ignited by the information. Expect great and you will find it.

Plan to have five inspiring conversations – and expect to be the inspiration as much as you will be inspired. It is often the one to one conversations at conferences that generate the most amazing results.

Plan to write five short pieces (from 500 to 1000 words) – you can write about the conference, about the location, about the people, or about your own journey through the conference. Plan to write and make the notes that will give you the foundation for those writings.

Every conference you ever attend has the potential of moving you forward in your journey. The Mountain Valley Writers Conference strives to be the ignition for those who want to build a living or develop an income on the foundation of words. Putting to practice the PLAN for Five will help you move forward in your desired writing success.

# # #

Get your tickets for #MVVWC 2017 by clicking the link below

Mountain Valley Writers Conference Tickets

Mountain Valley Writers Conference – Speaker Highlight – William Thornton

The Mountain Valley Writers Conference will feature speakers and presentations that will help provide the tools to writers that are working in the industry or those writers that are seeking to build their own platform for writing success.

Speaker Highlight

William Thornton

William Thornton is the author of “Set Your Fields on Fire,” which won the 2015 Aspiring Author Contest with WestBow Press and the Parable Group. His comic Christian novel is distributed by HarperCollins. He is a native of Gadsden, Alabama and an award-winning reporter with the Alabama Media Group and He has been in journalism for 28 years, with his work appearing in The Birmingham News, The Huntsville Times, the (Mobile) Press-Register, The Tuscaloosa News and The Gadsden Times, along with national publications. His previous novels are “Brilliant Disguises” and “The Uncanny Valley.”
He lives in Southside, Alabama with his wife Donna and daughter Sophie.

He writes on classic and contemporary literature, music, movies and pop culture.

Here’s a link to the first chapter of “Set Your Fields on Fire.”

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.

William will be joining the Mountain Valley Writers Conference as a session leader. He has been learning the ropes of self-promotion and will share all his secrets and special tips for how to market your book without losing all your friends.

Learning Self-Promotion (without Ending up Friendless): You’ve written a book! (or you want to write a book! Or maybe not?) You mean to change the world, one blessed word at a time! But yet, how will they know? You hear about social media, but you’re not at all sure about this whole thing. Does it involve words? Then again, you like the Interwebs, but how much is too much? How can I break the cycle of cat videos, political memes, and get them reading? And what about other media? Does anyone care? Make them!

More about the Speaker

Favorite book: It changes periodically, but always seems to swing back to “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Proves a great book doesn’t have to be long to be important, can be funny but serious, can be lyrical and still tell a story.

Favorite quote: E.L. Doctorow on writing: “It’s like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

One thing to know: It was working as a reporter that convinced Bill he could write a novel. A reporter on a beat can easily turn out two pages a day. Keep that pace up for three months, and you’ve got the first draft of a book.

Fun fact: Because Bill made (what he thought was) an innocuous comment about a 40-year-old movie, the actor William Shatner blocked him on Twitter.

Where to Connect with the Speaker

Website: Brilliant Disguises

Twitter: @billineastala

Facebook: william.thornton.56

Get your tickets NOW!

Mountain Valley Writers Conference Tickets

Make Money Writing by Finding Your Writing Focus

The ways to make money writing can be as diverse as the people wanting to make money writing. Grant proposals require creative (and technical) writing skills. Corporations need words for their correspondence, press releases, and advertisements. Websites need content to create their sites and to maintain them.

These areas only scratch the surface for how you can make money writing. The only limits are your personal interests, your determination, and your imagination. If you can imagine an avenue for income production then there are ways to make that avenue begin working for you.

The presentations at the Mountain Valley Writers Conference are not just about how to write better, but are focused on finding paths to take your skills and your abilities and produce a living wage. It starts with a foundation of relationships and then provides the fuel for ingenuity and possibility.

You can IF you will!

What Can You Write to Build a Living Wage

    1. Start out making a list of things that you do or have done while employed at a job. Include the list of responsibilities in your job description and those that were expected of you even though they were not listed.

    2. Add to that list any topics that you learned through your education. This list should cover the on the job training you may have received, classes that you have taken (either for your diploma or as continuing education) or any specialty activities or events where you have experience.

    3. Now move on to those things that you enjoy doing in your spare time. You should include any hobbies or favorite activities that you did in your past. As long as it is legal and preferably moral then add it to your list.

    4. Include a list of special gifts or talents you may have or others may have expressed that they see in you. Include those things that people enjoy you doing for them – like cooking or that you do better than others – like organizing.

    5. The final addition to the list will be those things that you have always wanted to do but have not had the finances or opportunity. Be as specific as possible and do not limit your list to things that you can still do or expect to do. Let your imagination run free.

The list you have created probably covers a wide range of topics. Review the list for a moment. See if you can find any common topics or areas in these lists. The lists that intersect represent the areas where you have the strongest foundation. Other items on your list stand for the topics you could cover with a little extra research.

Review the list for a moment. See if you can find any common topics or areas in these lists. The lists that intersect represent the areas where you have the strongest foundation. Other items on your list stand for the topics you could cover with a little extra research.

The great thing about writing is that your next article or idea is often only as strong as your ability to research the topic. That means that although the lists you create represent some topics that you could already write about with some authority, there is no limit to what you could learn and then share.

Do you have your tickets yet?

The Mountain Valley Writers Conference will be an exclusive event to allow attendees the opportunity to engage other as well as the speakers and presenters. Get your tickets HERE!