Many of you know this is my mandatory 'go-to' conference every year. I've been attending the Ozark Creative Writers conference since 1998. There would have to be a major catastrophe in my life for me not to go. For those of you who don't like to do math, this will be my fourteenth year. Aside from being an intimate conference (around 250 people) held in one of the most beautiful locations you'll find anywhere (just my opinion but it's my favorite city to relax in). I'm talking about Eureka Springs, Arkansas. A quaint little village packed with artsy vibe and ghostly history.
The conference is always held at the Best Western Inn of the Ozarks. Randy and his entire staff are always friendly and helpful, ensuring our stay is something we'll want to repeat. And trust me... I do. I travel to Eureka Springs for pleasure and Best Western Inn of the Ozarks is the only place I'll stay. Though I would like to stay at the Crescent Hotel just once :-)
Over the course of those years, I've met some amazing people. I've talked radio with western author Richard Wheeler. He was the first speaker I ever heard at OCW and I was so mesmerized by his talk, I couldn't take notes. Other authors such as David Marion Wilkins, Sarah Bird, Max McCoy, Dusty Richards and Velda Brotherton have shared their wisdom and experiences with attendees. Do you know that cowboy has written over 100 western novels? And that he's been inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame? Actor/writer/producer Todd Allen even provided an entire day's worth of instruction one year.
Editors and Agents like Rhonda Penders of TheWildRosePress, Gary Goldstein, Senior Editor at Kensington and Cherry Weiner (she's coming back this year!) have given precious time to help us on this path. Pitch sessions for the agents/ editors in attendance is always high on the list of things to do.
Aside from the affordable cost of the three-day event and beautiful surroundings, there are opportunities for you to enter a myriad of writing competitions - for the price of your conference fee. All the contests carry a cash prize and some offer critiques. This year they've added something new. Short-dated contests prior to the event that give everyone the opportunity to win a) their conference fee paid, b) Friday or Saturday night dinner ticket or c) 2-hr private lunch with editor or agent. The criteria for each of the prizes is different so you want to check out that link.
Right now, I'd love it if everyone reading this took out their datebook, circled October 11, 12, 13 in their datebook and planned to join me in Eureka Springs AR for the Ozark Creative Writers conference. You'll be glad you came!