​Speakers (Listed in Alphabetical Order​

​Doug Grad- His path on the road to publishing may have been set early. His first job in the industry came in 1978, walking up and down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan wearing a sandwich board advertising a new book during the 1978 New York City newspaper strike…for $5 an hour. The next year, he took creative writing at Stuyvesant High School with Frank McCourt. In college, he studied creative writing at Northwestern University with Reginald Gibbons. Doug opened the Doug Grad Literary Agency, Inc. in May 2008. This is his 31st year as a publishing professional.

An editor with imprints at Simon & Schuster, Random House, Penguin and HarperCollins for 22 years, Doug acquired and edited fiction and nonfiction bestsellers, including Jeff Shaara’s first two New York Times bestselling novels. He also edited NYT bestsellers by historical novelist John Jakes. On the nonfiction side, Doug has worked with astronauts, generals, war heroes, gangsters, politicians, sports stars, journalists, musicians, historians and humorists. Since becoming an agent, Doug has taken on a number of high profile clients, including world-renowned concert pianist Byron Janis, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hugh Shelton, decorated war correspondent Joseph L. Galloway, NBA Hall of Famer Bernard King, MLB relief pitcher Skip Lockwood, and NHL Hall of Famer Mark Howe, as well as a number of novelists in the mystery/thriller genre. (Agent, Panel, Pitches)

Ruth Weeks aka, R.H. Burkett is the author of four books. Her paranormal book, Daughter of the Howling Moon, won the 2015 Oklahoma Writers League Best Fiction Book. Her book, Soldiers In the Mist, was voted 2012 Ozark Writers League Book of the Year. She presents and teaches writing techniques to writer’s groups and conferences.  Ruth resides in Springdale, Arkansas and is currently working on her fifth novel. (Paranormal)



Ally Robertson has edited for The Wild Rose Press since its inception in 2006. She edits many genres but specializes in Suspense and Paranormal. She is also a freelance editor and a published author with more than twenty-five published titles.  She loves to read, to write, and helping other authors realize their dreams. One of the best perks of her job is meeting new people and discovering fabulous new stories. (Editing, Panel, will take pitches)

Ozark Creative Writers, Inc. is organized by a volunteer board of directors whose sole purpose is to plan a conference for and about writing. To meet the board click here..






Angela Drake believes in happy endings, the magic of ‘what if’ and second chances. When not living vicariously through her characters, Angela spends her day working social media accounts for musicians and authors. She enjoys time with her granddaughters, gardening, journaling, and a myriad of artistic pursuits. She shares a home in the Ozarks with her husband, three dogs and three cats. She loves networking with readers and writers through her Facebook, twitter and blog. (Blog)




Linda Apple believes everyone has a story and that these stories matter. They are the thread that weaves humanity together and helps us to understand others. Her personal experience stories have been published in sixteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she has two books, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter and Writing From Your Soul, that teach others to write their stories. She has taught workshops across the Midwest and East coast of the United States and in the United Kingdom. She also tells her stories through fiction. Her books, Women of Washington Avenue and Avalee’s Gift, are the first two books in her Moonlight Mississippi series. She is currently working on book three.  In addition to writing, she is also a motivational speaker. Her desire is to encourage, affirm, nurture talent, and equip people in order to help them achieve their goals and follow their dreams.  (Nonfiction) 

Tessa Kate is a singer songwriter from the Ozarks. She comes from a big musical family, and is rooted in all kinds of music from Gospel to Folk to Country to Rock & Roll. She was featured on American Idol (Season 13), and made it through to being one of the last 50 people in America. She is often asked what is her favorite song and she answers, "My favorite song is one that hasn't been written yet." Music is a powerful thing, and she hopes to impact a great many lives with it. (Friday Entertainment)

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pen Three women authors, traveling together on the long and winding road to overnight success. And though the saying goes that happiness is the journey and not the destination, they believe it can be both. The Sisterhood teaches three perspectives to writing fiction, nonfiction, and conduct workshops with a down-to-earth and fun style. (basic, beginners techniques)







Tamara Hart Heiner lives in Arkansas with her husband, four kids, a cat, a dog, and a bird. She would love to add a macaw and a sugar glider to the family collection. She graduated with a degree in English and an editing emphasis from Brigham Young University. She's the author of the young adult suspense series, PERILOUS, INEVITABLE, the CASSANDRA JONES saga, and a nonfiction book about the Joplin tornado, TORNADO WARNING. (Social Media – Newsletters)


Johnny D. Boggs  has been praised by Booklist magazine as “among the best western writers at work today” and is one of the few authors to have won both the Western Heritage Wrangler Award and Spur Award for his fiction. In 2013, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture honored Boggs with the Rounders Award for living, articulating and promoting the Western way of life. True West magazine has named him the Best Living Fiction Writer in its 2008 Best of the West Awards, and the magazine’s readers voted him Best Living Fiction Writer in 2012.

His novels Poison Spring, Greasy Grass, Summer of the Star, And There I’ll Be a Soldier, South by Southwest, Killstraight, Northfield, The Hart Brand and Ten and Me and his short stories The Cody War, Comanche Camp at Dawn, Umpire Colt and The San Angela Stump Match of 1876 were Spur finalists. A native of South Carolina, Boggs worked almost 15 years in Texas as a sports journalist at the Dallas Times Herald and Fort Worth Star-Telegram before moving to New Mexico in 1998 to concentrate full time on his novels and books. He lives with his wife and son in Santa Fe, and is represented by Golden West Literary Agency. His website is www.johnnydboggs.com. (Short Story) 

Scheduled Speakers for the 2018 Annual Conference











Max McCoy is an award-winning author and journalist. He’s won honors for his reporting on unsolved murders, serial killers, and hate groups. In addition to his newspaper work, McCoy has written for magazines as diverse as American Photographer, True West, and The New Territory.  He’s the author of four original Indiana Jones adventures for Lucasfilm/Bantam and the novelization of the epic TNT miniseries, Into the West. His novels, including Damnation Road, have won three Spur awards from the Western Writers of America. He's a professor of journalism at Emporia State University, in east central Kansas, where he specializes in investigative reporting and nonfiction narrative.  He's also director of the university’s Center for Great Plains Studies. His most recent book is Elevations: A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River, from the University Press of Kansas.  (Non-traditional Western)

Jan Morrill is the author of Life: Haiku by Haiku. Her historical fiction, The Red Kimono, (University of Arkansas Press, 2013) was an Editor’s Choice selection by The Historical Novel Society and an Arkansas Gem by the Arkansas State Library. She also has a workbook, Creative Characterization. She presents and teaches writing techniques to writer’s groups and conferences. Jan lives in Dallas, Texas and is currently working on the sequel to The Red Kimono and a young adult novel, Mo’s Shadow. For more information, visit www.janmorrill.com. (Poetry)