Jon Chandler, dubbed by the Los Angeles Daily News as the “...best western songsmith since Ian Tyson,” while Texas’s Country Line Magazine exclaimed, “Thank God for Chandler and his gang of musicians.” A review of the Denver native's iconic CE WESTERNS includes the phrase, “Chandler’s music is literate and literary.” That about covers it. There’s not an ounce of stereotypical Gene ‘n Roy retro-cowpoke, Lazy Z Chuckwagon faux-western schtick in his music, voice or prose. Chandler writes and sings of the historic and contemporary West - not particularly cowboy songs and stories,
although they tend to show up with frequency. His songs owe more to Larry McMurtry, Elmer Kelton, Robert Service and Mark Twain than they do to anyone in a band that ends with Wranglers or Ramblers. Simply put, his music and his writing are reflections of his heritage. A seventh-generation Coloradan, his novels, songs and poems serve to keep the West’s frontier ethic alive. Visit Jon's website: jonchandler.com
J.C. Fields is a multi-award-winning and Amazon best-selling author. Many of his 12 published novels have been awarded numerous gold, silver and bronze medals in the Reader's Favorite International Book Awards contest.
Over the past three years, many of his numerous short stories have been featured on the YouTube Podcast Fear From the Heartland, a part of the Chilling Tales for Dark Night network.
Currently, one of his novels is under review by Wind Dancer Films for a possible TV or Movie project.
His thirteenth novel will be published Spring 2024 through Paperback-Press.
He lives with his wife, Connie, in Southwest Missouri.
Visit his website: jcfieldsbooks.com
Amazon Best-Selling Author
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR THE INDIE AUTHOR
In this session John will teach about the ethical and appropriate uses of AI
DIGGING DEEPER INTO AMAZON ADS
John will help unravel the confusion of Amazon ads by showing us what they can do and how to set them up.
Cozy Mystery Writer
Susan Keene lives on a farm in the beautiful Missouri Ozarks. She has been writing full-time for over ten years. She won the American Poetry Award at age sixteen.
Her father wrote a daily newspaper column in her hometown. Writing became a constant subject in her home. She was sure she would have a leg up on the competition. It didn’t take long for her to learn fiction writing. and writing for a newspaper were vastly different.
Susan learned a month before high school graduation that her father did not believe in sending girls to college.
During the summer, she took every scholarship test she could find. she won the Joseph C Peden Award. It included a full scholarship, room and board, and a stipend to attend Deaconess Hospital School of X-ray Technology. She worked in X-ray on a trauma team for several years. St. Louis County Hospital hired her to teach X-ray and Radium Physics, Anatomy, and Physiology.
When she isn’t writing, her hobbies include metal detecting, gardening, reading, and hanging with her grandkids and daughter. Visit her website: susankeeneauthor.com
HOW TO WRITE A COZY MYSTERY
Writing a cozy mystery requires a delicate balance of charm, intrigue, and humor. By sticking to the elements outlined above and avoiding the taboos of the genre, you will have the knowledge to write a successful, cozy mystery.
In this session, you will learn the essential elements that must be included in your cozy mystery, as well as what to leave out to maintain the genre's appeal. We will discuss in detail the following topics: Setting the Scene, Quirky Characters, Amateur Sleuth, Solving the mystery, Intriguing Mystery, Red Herrings, Light-hearted Tone, Gentle Humor, What to Include, What to Leave Out.
CRAFTING CHARACTERS NO ONE WILL FORGET
We will discuss essential elements that set characters apart from the crowd, including complexity, relatability, distinctiveness, development, motivation and goals, conflict, authenticity, backstory, unique voice, and relationships.
K.D. McCrite has written everything from chapter books and middle-grade fiction to cozy mysteries to paranormal novels to domestic thrillers. K.D. was reared on a dairy farm in southern Missouri, and most of her books are set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri and Arkansas. Readers will find the characters who populate K.D.’s stories are ordinary, everyday people.
She was the recipient for the 2021 Laura Ingalls Wilder Children’s Literature Award. Her book, In Front of God and Everybody, placed in the top twelve for Mark Twain Readers Award, and another of her middle grade novels, Charlotte &
Mr. Abernathy, has been nominated for this year’s Mark Twain Readers Award. As the author of
more than thirty novels, K.D. feels there is no better life than the life of a writer. Visit K.D.'s website:
BUILDING A WRITING CAREER FROM SCRATCH—A REFRESHER COURSE
You’ve either done it all, or you’ve never done any of it. Don’t let attempted authorship overwhelm you or get you down. Yes, there have been a lot of changes since K.D. McCrite started her writing career and she’s here to help you start – or start over – right where you are today.
With over 30 published books, K.D. has plenty of experience, insight, and motivation to get any writer on track. (Or back on track, as the case may be.)
GARY RODGERS & KIM VERNON
King & Queen of Writing Contests
Gary Rodgers grew up in rural Arkansas in an age when children were expected to be seen and not heard. As a result, he learned the art of tall tales and lively storytelling at the feet of his grandparents and many uncles, aunts, and cousins. After a tour in the Army, then a job which took him to all fifty states, all provinces of Canada, and Jamaica, he retired to his rural Arkansas roots. Gary lives with his wife, writer Kimberly Vernon, and an assortment of rescue pets.
Gary has won numerous awards for his stories, some of which have been published in anthologies and magazines.
Kim Vernon is an award-winning writer of short stories, essays, and poetry. In addition to winning many state and regional writing awards, her stories and poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines. Her children's book, Toolshed Surprise, was published in 2022. She writes a monthly non-fiction feature for a regional magazine.
Visit Kim's website: kimberlyvernon.net
Gary and Kim enjoy traveling, reading, and competing in writing contests.
Kim and Gary Rodgers will share their writing journey and how friendly competition between them, and fellow writers, helps keep the fun in writing, because as everyone says, writing is hard.
Kim and Gary have known each other most of their lives, and married in 2019. Some have deemed them the King and Queen of Contests thanks to their success in recent years. They will offer advice on entering writing contests, finding a writing group or critique group, and how attending writing conferences can improve your writing.
Retired Police Officer & Best-Selling Author
David Williams is a retired thirty-year police officer and paramedic with assignments having included Advanced Life Support ambulances, patrol, helicopter rescue/medivac, and violent crime investigations as a detective. He was instrumental in the implementation of the Austin, TX EMS Special Operations Division, as well as the Fayetteville, AR Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team and its Special Investigations Division. The Fraternal Order of Police, Rotary Club, the Arkansas Psychiatric Society, and the American Legion have all honored Williams as Officer of the Year for his
work with families and children in crisis, and he is a recipient of the Visionary Voice Award from the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Williams is the bestselling author of Fighting for Her Life: What to do When Someone You Know is Being Abused and Textbooks, Not Targets: How to Prevent School Shootings in Your Community. He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice, and he now teaches criminology at the University of Arkansas. He and his wife live in a cabin in the Ozark Mountains where they offer a haven for horses and donkeys who have lived a rough life before coming to live with them. Visit his website: davidlanewilliams.com
Drop the Pen! What Every Writer Should Know About Real Police Work
It doesn’t take experience in actual police work to recognize when the action, dialogue, or characterization in a book passage or film scene is just plain goofy, not to mention unconstitutional, dangerous, and stupid. DROP THE PEN! What Every Writer Should Know About Real Police Work is a behind-the-curtain look at real policing from the perspective of a thirty-year public safety veteran who works with creative writers, journalists, and film producers as they craft authentic, engaging stories. The seminar is designed for writers of police procedurals, mysteries and thrillers, historical fiction, comedy, non-fiction, and everything from middle-grade rom-coms to noir. Topics covered in this broad-strokes presentation include search warrants, homicide scenes, interview/interrogation, a bit of CSI, and why it is never a good idea to duck under yellow crime scene tape.
They Lie, You Smile: Interview and Interrogation Techniques That Work in the Real World
This class is designed to take a deeper dive for writers interested in real police work by concentrating on effective interview and interrogation approaches. The first half of the program focuses on trauma-informed victim and witness interviewing practices, followed by interrogation tactics used with actual suspects by professional investigators. Flawed, ridiculous, and unconstitutional methods get exposed, while best practices shine through using examples from actual cases.
Fiction, Nonfiction & Freelance Writer
Ellen Withers is an award-winning fiction writer, freelance writer, and retired insurance fraud investigator. Her mystery dual-time series, Show Me Mysteries, set in her picturesque hometown of Mexico, Missouri, is published by Scrivenings Press. Book One of the series, Show Me Betrayal, received excellent reviews. Book two, Show Me Deceit, comes out in May 2024.Ellen’s nonfiction book to help writers win writing contests debuts in August 2024. Magic Words: How to Enchant Judges & Conjure Contest Wins will be a helpful resource for all writers interested in winning contests for their short stories, and full-length fiction and nonfictions works.
For more information about Ellen, her books, writing tips, and highlights of guest authors can be found on her website: ellenewithers.com.
Magic Words Potion
Have you wondered what a contest judge cares about when judging a writing contest? Whether experienced in writing contests or new to the concept, if you desire is to win contests or increase your contest wins, this class has the answers for you.
Presented by a multiple prize-winning author, who has also judged multitudes of writing contests. Ellen is eager to share secret potions with her fellow writers. Her presentation will include opinions and suggestions from twelve contest judges, giving attendees an inside scoop about what you need to win. When you apply the recommended skills to your contest entries, your work will bewitch judges and conjure an enchanting contest winner
Ozark Creative Writers Conference Chair
Acclaimed author and motivational speaker Linda Apple writes inspirational nonfiction, women’s fiction, and books for children featuring her Scottish terrier, Winston.
Her first book about Winston was on the shortlist for the Benjamin Franklin Award. Public schools have used her Winston chapter book series, which features Social and Emotional Learning, for their One Book programs. Linda enjoys visiting schools and speaking to all of Winston’s fans. His newest book ARF! Arfsome Real-life Fables is now available.
Linda has served as the president of the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. and the Ozark Creative Writers Conference. She also has the great honor of being chosen to be inducted
into the 2023 Arkansas Writers Hall of Fame. Linda has taught writing workshops nationally and internationally. She is a firm believer in writing with her readers in mind and leaving them better after having read her books. She also encourages writers and readers alike to value their own stories and to share them. She aims to spread seeds of inspiration and give wings to all she has the privilege to mentor. She writes from her soul and speaks from her heart.
Linda lives in Northwest Arkansas with her husband, children, fourteen grandchildren, and her writing partner, Winston, a feisty Scottish Terrier. He barks; she types. Visit her website: lindaapple.com
WRITING YOUR DASH - Drawing Inspiration from Life
Inside each of us is a treasure. A wealth of experiences, lessons learned, wisdom gained, moments of clarity, laughter, and tears. None of these should go to waste. However, too often they do because we believe our stories have no significance. But they do! In this interactive workshop, Linda will help you find your stories and share writing techniques to enhance your writing skills that deeply connect with your readers. This workshop is good for any nonfiction writer of all genres.
Ozark Creative Writers Conference President
OCW president Johnny D. Boggs is a former newspaper journalist who has spent the past 26 years as a full-time freelance magazine journalist, novelist, and nonfiction book writer. Recipient of a record nine Spur Awards from Western Writers of America for his fiction, Booklist has called Johnny D. Boggs “among the best Western writers at work today.” In 2020, Boggs received the Owen Wister Award for lifetime contributions and was inducted into the Western Writers Hall of Fame. Johnny lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit his website: johnnydboggs.com
Ozark Creative Writers Vice President
OCW vice president Micki Fuhrman’s album Westbound won the Western Heritage Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum and produced a Spur Award-winning song and a Spur finalist, too. Writing fiction under the pen name Vonn McKee, she has earned Spur and Western Fictioneers’ Peacemaker finalist honors. A Louisiana native who has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, she lives in Nashville, Tennessee.
Visit her website: mickifuhrmanmusic.com
INTERVIEW WITH A …?
Spur- and Western Heritage Wrangler Award-winners Johnny D. Boggs and Micki Fuhrman interview each other, revealing tips for authors conducting research for books or articles as well as for authors being interviewed. Learn about techniques, ethics, dos and don’ts, good questions, and how to get around “bad” interviews whether you’re interviewing someone for an article or merely seeking background for a project. And for authors being interviewed – publishers and writers LOVE free publicity – how to conduct yourself when the proverbial shoe is on the other foot.